Friday, July 7, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

It begins with an orchestral version of the theme song of Ralph Bakshi’s animated Spider-Man theme and it ends with the Ramones doing Blitzkrieg Bop. In between the two moments we are treated to some absolutely wonderful superhero and nostalgic treats. It’s a sixth film with the character and probably the first time that the filmmakers got him note perfect from start to finish.

Following the events of Captain America Spiderman goes back to life in Queens. Left to deal with low level crime Peter finds it all terribly boring. However when he sees and tries to stop bad guys robbing an ATM he is put on the trail of a gang who are using alien technology to rob and make weapons for other bad guys. Not getting anywhere when he tries to report in to Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s assistant he decides to take the bad guys down himself- running into the problems of being high school student and young love.

While the film may have a bit too much teenage angst for my taste, it does manage to get it right. This is how it feels, slightly Hollywoodized, to be an outsider kid.

While we could wax poetic about the action set pieces let’s talk about how right they get Spiderman. If you need to know how right they get the Spidey watch the whole final sequence where Peter decides that even though he doesn’t have the Stark suit anymore he would face Michael Keaton’s Vulture. While it is there as an answer to Stark’s admonishment about he shouldn’t be doing the hero thing if it was just the suit, Peter’s battle to the end and his refusal to give up or let Keaton die says volumes about who he is.  It echoes back to his effort to save the ferry when it splits in two but adds in the weight of Peter finally knowing the cost of being a superhero because he gets his ass kicked before being victorious. In that final battle Peter finally is a hero through and through, and we he will ultimately fight to the end, even his own no matter what the cost. I was moved.

I need to say that one of the joys of the film is it has a really good villain. Never mind Michael Keaton is incredible, what we have here is a bad guy who is more than just a bad guy. We clearly understand where he comes from and why he is doing what he is doing. It’s also refreshing to have a bad guy who is low key. He doesn’t want to be exposed. He doesn’t want to take over the world, he just wants to provide for his family. It’s a lovely twist to the megalomaniacal loonies most superhero films have. Additionally I love that (spoiler) we aren’t done with Keaton. He is a villain now and forever.


If you are like me and worn out by the last 3 Spider-Man films which worked only in moments, HOMECOMING will restore your faith in the character and the overblown super hero genre.


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