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Monday, July 10, 2017

Shawn Reviews Spider-Man: Homecoming

I got a chance to take in Spider-Man: Homecoming at the Magic Johnson this Saturday at a Matinee showing. And for the first time in nine years I was deeply disappointed in what I saw onscreen calling itself a Marvel Studios film. Yeah, there was a character named Peter Parker who fights crime as Spider-Man onscreen, but he acted NOTHING like the character from the comic books I grew up with. Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man is nothing more than Miles Morales with Peter Parker’s name on him.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is supposed to tell the story of Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After making his a strong first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man Homecoming was supposed to take us into Peter Parker’s corner of the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, Peter Parker’s world looks too much like Miles Morales’ world, not his own Peter Parker now lives in the projects and all the core characters of Spider-Man’s whitebread part of the Marvel universe have been replaced with Social Justice Warrior diversity hires. Peter’s Best friend is a fat Pacific Islander. Flash Thompson is an Indian. Liz is black and MJ is biracial. The store Peter gets his sandwiches from is run by an Arab. There’s no Daily Bugle, no Robbie Robertson, No J. Jonah Jameson. Instead of working afterschool by taking pictures of himself, Peter works for Tony Stark in an “internship”. All of this is meant to make Spider-Man’s world appear more diverse and more real world, but it just doesn’t feel like the Spider-Man I grew up with. It feels like Peter Parker from an alternate SJW universe, not the REAL Marvel Universe.

The story for Spider-Man: Homecoming was hard for me to get into thanks to all the continuity baggage from previous films. Eight years after the Chutari invaision, Adrian Toomes and the employees of his salvage company are put out of work by Tony Stark and Damage Control, and that’s what’s supposed to lead to him turning to crime. And Spider-man is trying to find his way after the events of Captain America: Civil War. After stopping a robbery at an ATM he soon becomes aware of the Chutari tech and the Vulture’s operation. In his first big case he’s supposed to try to stop the Vulture from selling Chutari Tech to criminals. Unfortunately, thanks to all the continuity baggage I just didn’t have a reason to CARE about this story.

Thanks to the poorly written script I didn’t know whether or not to sympathize for Toomes or to hate him. And while Spider-Man bumbled around in his first attempts at being a superhero it didn’t really make me relate to him or connect with him onscreen.

Yeah, Spider-Man is finally a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But he’s NOT the Peter Parker we all know and love. He’s somebody else. And he’s not someone I think I want to see in another movie. Having Tony make Peter’s costume just doesn’t work for me. That’s Terry McGuiness’ shtick from Batman Beyond. Part of the charm of Spider-Man is that he’s this intelligent guy who can make his own stuff. Spider-Man is the guy who learned super-heroing on his own and created stuff on the fly to deal with problems. Watching his suit have web-wings, drones, its own artificial intelligence, and video recorders impedes his ability to be creative and resourceful. Seeing Peter interact with his suit didn’t make me think of Peter Parker, the intelligent kid who could think for himself. Instead I thought of Terry McGuiness the guy who works for Bruce Wayne.

Just like Iron Man’s armor in this movie, the film feels unfinished and incomplete.  Spider-Man: Homecoming feels like unfinished odds and ends of past Marvel Studios movies and ancillary MCU characters like Happy Hogan cut and pasted together to make a movie, not an actual movie. Tony Stark doesn’t take Peter Parker seriously, and the director and screenwriters of this movie don’t take Spider-Man seriously. And the end result is a clumsy, awkward uneven movie with a shallow storyline, weak one-dimensional characters and no heart.  

I wanted to like Spider-Man: Homecoming. But the film just doesn’t feel like a Spider-Man movie telling a story about Spider-Man like Sam Raimi’s Classic 2002 film. It feels like a satire of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Spider-Man shoehorned into it to be the butt of one big parody where the producers of Marvel Studios take shots at their own universe at the audiences’ expense.

Congratulations Marvel Studios you just made Superman III.  

Almost 30 years after the Salkinds made the film that heralded the beginning of the end the Superman franchise in the 1980s, and 20 years after Joel Schumacher killed the original Batman Franchise with Batman and Robin in 1997, I think Marvel Studios has just started the process of putting the nails in its own coffin.

The Salkinds thought adding more humor to Superman III would lead to the film being more appealing to audiences. And the addition of funnyman Richard Pryor would lead to big laughs. Unfortunately, people didn’t go to see Superman yuk it up with Richard Pyor, they paid money to see Superman kick bad guy ass. Yeah, I like some of the humorous bits in Marvel Studios films. They break up some of the tension and made the characters relatable to the audience. However, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming overdo the comedy and take Marvel Studios down the road that killed the Superman Franchise in the 80s and ended the Batman Franchise in the 1990s.

Marvel Studios is in TROUBLE. Only they don’t know it.

I started to see fractures in the Marvel Studios model with Avengers: Age of Ultron. And those fractures started to turn into cracks with Captain America: Civil War, Jessica Jones, the back six episodes of Luke Cage and that abomination of a Netflix show called Iron Fist. From what I saw in Spider-Man Homecoming the wheels are slowly coming off the Marvel Studios bus. Kevin Feige better get it together because Marvel Studios is very vulnerable at this point. All it takes is the right studio with the right project to beat them at their own game. As much as I hate Zack Snyder’s DC Cinematic Universe, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was a MUCH better film than the slop he presented onscreen calling itself a Spider-Man movie.

I can’t recommend Spider-Man Homecoming. The film just doesn’t meet the high bar established by 2008’s Iron Man or 2009’s Captain America: The First Avenger. Those two films were true to the source material and the heart of those characters. Spider-Man Homecoming is true to what Disney and SJWs want Spider-Man to be, not who he really is. Spider-Man may have come home to Marvel Cinematic Universe, but all I saw onscreen was a reason to stop going to Marvel Studios movies.

1 comment:

  1. Shawn, that is very much my disappointment. Even Ultimate Spider-man made appearances of Jameson while having a teen Peter Parker. I think Marvel Studios has officially become complacent and arrogant at their guaranteed success so far.