Saturday, July 8, 2017

Say Hello (Again) to Your Friendly Neighborhood Superhero: My Review of Spider-Man: Homecoming

Another month, another superhero movie. After Wonder Woman smashed the box office with her lasso last month, now it's Spider-Man's turn to swing himself to the top of the box office charts. Yes, your friendly neighborhood hero is back with another whole new cast, another director and another story. As you all might have known, Marvel Studios managed to bring back the rights to include Spidey in their movies a few years ago and decided to end The Amazing Spider-Man franchise and replace Andrew Garfield (*sob*) with a much younger actor, Tom Holland. So Spider-Man now lives in the Avengers universe.

When I first heard the news, I was speechless. As you know, I'm a huge fan of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and their work in The Amazing Spider-Man films. I know the second movie didn't do very well but knowing that Andrew and Emma were recast was heartbreaking. Tom Holland managed to convince me that the role of Spider-Man is in good hands when he made a special appearance in Captain America: Civil War, though. His Spidey is funny, charming, adorable, a little bit too chatty and so young and made me fall in love. As I walked out of the theater that played Civil War, I decided that I would go and see Tom Holland's Spider-Man movie when it comes out. The highly anticipated Spider-Man: Homecoming was released in Indonesia on July 5th. It is directed by Jon Watts. Tom Holland is accompanied by, the Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Michael Keaton and many more.

I always l love seeing Spider-Man sitting on the top of  a building with a view of his city like this.

Before I start writing down what I think about the movie, I want you to understand that everything you'll read below is my opinion. If you disagree with what I think, it is totally fine, but please don't attack me. And this review contains spoilers.

So yeah, I've seen Spider-Man: Homecoming and I have a mixed feeling about it. I don't think it's a terrible movie, but I don't think it lives up to my expectations. There are things that I really like about the film, but there are other things that I don't like too. So I'm going to list those things below because I find it difficult to cram them in paragraphs.

The things I like:

1, Tom Holland. Tom's version of Spidey is definitely the cutest, the funniest and the most adorable version of the hero. I think he should form an Adorable Superhero Club with Grant Gustin's The Flash and Melissa Benoist's Supergirl hahaha. Tom's Spidey definitely matches his title as the friendly neighborhood superhero. I like that he's so young, so inexperienced, and so eager to prove himself. A lot of people say that this Spidey is very close to the one they remember from the comics. I never read the comics so I can't say anything about it. And Tom basically leads this mega blockbuster movie by himself as he dominates the whole movie. That is pretty impressive for me.

2. The teenagers. In the comics and the films, Peter and his gang are always seen as high schoolers, at least at the beginning. However, let's be honest, the actors who portray Peter and his friends in the previous films were way too old for the roles. Things are different in Homecoming. Peter and his classmates actually look like teenagers here. I don't think any of the actors who portray the teenagers are older than 25 years old (Tom Holland just turned 21 before the film was released). The film spends a lot of time following Peter at school, which allows us to really see him as a teenage boy. They even make Peter a vlogger, which is so millenial hahaha. I like this because it makes the characters more believable. It's also kind of funny to see Peter paired with Tony Stark here. He looks like a baby compared to Uncle Tony hahaha.

Related image
Aren't these teenage boys cute?
3. Vulture's backstory. At the beginning of the movie, we can see how Vulture's business is ruined by the Avengers' pride. Vulture aka Adrian Toomes has made a deal to clean up a mess caused by the Avengers' encounter with their enemies, with a lot of money and many families' financial security at stake, but a team formed by Tony comes and takes over the gig without caring about what will happen to those worker if they get unemployed. This makes Vulture hate the Avengers and swear to create weapons that can match the Avengers' weapons for their own benefit. I think it's interesting how Marvel addresses this issue about what happens after those heroes finish their big final fights against their enemies. Who cleans up the mess? How many people get hurt or even die because of that? Are you a hero if you destroy the things around you while you're fighting the bad guys? I would love to see those things get explored. Unfortunately the issue is only used as Vulture's backstory here but hopefuly it will be explored deeper in the upcoming films. Probably in Infinity War? They already started touching on that in Civil War, right? With all that superhero identification thingy?

4. The diverse cast. Homecoming features many people of color. They even put people of color in roles that are traditionally given to white people, like the roles of Flash Thompson the bully and Liz the popular girl. I think this is a great thing. It would be cooler if they can make people of color the leads, though. The main protagonist and the main antagonist are still white people here, right? But they're going to do that in the upcoming Black Panther movie, which is super exciting.

5. The Star Wars reference. You know how much I love Star Wars, right? I even love people who love Star Wars too hahaha. In Homecoming, Peter and his buddy Ned are seen as Star Wars fans who spend their afternoons building Lego Death Star together. So yeah, I love you, Peter and Ned. And I just realized that Star Wars and the Marvel heroes are now under the same company which is Disney. So it's like they are in the same family. Isn't that crazy?

6. The humor. Spider-Man: Homecoming is probably the funniest superhero movie I've ever seen. I think it can even be classified as a comedy. It is really fun and refreshing to watch.

7. Karen. She is the voice that represents Peter's sophisticated costume. Our good boy Peter is really sweet to her and treats her like a real lady, which is fun to watch. Peter's scenes with Karen reminds me of the movie Her hahaha. I thought it wasScarlett Johansson, aka Black Widow aka the iconic voice in Her, who lends her voice for this part but it turns out that the actress who voices Karen is Jennifer Connelly, aka Betty Ross in Ang Lee's Hulk aka the wife of Paul Bettany, who plays Vision in the Avengers films and voices Tony's computer assistant in the Iron Man films. What an Easter Egg, huh?

8. The second post-credit scene. After the film is done, you need to wait until the end credit finishes because there are two post-credit scenes. You have to wait for a pretty long time for the second one but, trust me, it's worth the wait. The second post-credit scene is a hilarious one. The way Marvel makes fun of itself using that scene is just genius.

The things I don't like:

1. Lack of emotional connections. One of the things that make me love the previous Spider-Man films is how they allowed me to feel what Peter feels. You can call me sensitive, sentimental or whatever you want but I adore films that allow me to connect with the characters and feel what they feel, experience things from their points of view. This film is fun but it doesn't make me feel anything at all. I think the way Peter is portrayed (you know, underestimated but eager to prove himself) gives a lot of room to develop emotional scenes, but the film tries to be cheerful and funny all the time instead. In the previous films, Peter has a beautiful and close relationship with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, but I didn't see that in this film at all. Marisa Tomei's Aunt May doesn't even have much to say and contribution throughout the movie. The relationship between Peter and Tony would be interesting to watch, if they realy want to make it about the Avengers, but Tony is just being the rich and more experienced superhero who is too busy to listen to our lovely Peter most of the time. It's annoying to see Peter being ignored and underestimated by Tony, and Happy, like that. I personally think Peter should have defended himself harder when Tony scolds him after the boat incident. That will make things, you know, more emotional, which I would like haha.

Happy and Tony and Peter
2. Lack of familiar characters. Peter Parker is always associated with some other iconic characters from the comics like Aunt May, Unce Ben, Mary-Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, Green Goblin, etc. However, among those names that I mentioned, only two are featured in the movie. Peter does address Uncle Ben's death one time, but the uncle's name is not even mentioned. Instead of those characters, we get a bunch of unfamiliar characters like Liz and Ned. I know they are also from the comics and it's  always nice to see some fresh faces but, man, I want Gwen and Harry and Green Goblin and all those characters! I hope they will include those characters in the upcoming sequels.

4. Peter's powers. I feel like Peter's powers that come from the spider's bite, you know, his Spidey sense that likes to tingle, are not seen much in this film. Instead we see more of what his sophisticated costume from Tony can do. I hope they will show us more of what Peter can do with his own powers in the future.

Like or dislike?

1. Zendaya's performance. Teen idol Zendaya plays Michelle in Spider-Man: Homecoming, a girl who turns out be SPOILER ALERT our new MJ aka Mary-Jane Watson. I know she might be prepared for a much bigger role in the upcoming sequels but, man, she really does nothing in this film. What she contributes to the storyline is no bigger than what Stan Lee's cameo performance does to it. She really needs to be given more screen time in the next films. She is going to be interesting to watch because she is totally different from the Mary-Jane that we know from the Tobey Maguire version. Her physical appearance is certainly different from Kirsten Dunst's MJ, but it's not a problem for me. Her character description is the one that interests me, because here our MJ is like the female version of Jughead Jones from Riverdale hahaha. I hope we'll see more of her in future films. SPOILER ENDS

So that's what I think about the second reboot of Spider-Man. For me it is not a perfect movie, but it is definitely fun to watch. Go swing yourself to the theaters and watcch Spider-Man: Homecoming!

Rating: 3,5/5

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