Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Spider-Man: Homecoming

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  Watchin' movies, bloggin' about them, because I have a bunch of movies and a blog.  Today, we're cracking open Spider-Man:  Homecoming.  This is in my notes at October 22, 2017.

This past summer, I was getting really excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming.  A friend asked why, and I reminded him of a conversation we had 10 years ago.  10 years ago, Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer came out in the same summer.  And we were talking about how cool it would be if they could stay faithful to the original comics, and have Reed Richards analyze Spider-Man's black costume to determine it's alien origin.  Just one brief cameo by Reed Richards in Spider-Man 3 is all it would take.  "Now look at that trailer, with Iron Man flying next to Spider-Man," I said.  "This is it!  THAT WORLD HAS COME TO BE!" 

Truth be told, I'll never not get excited for a Spider-Man movie.  When I first discovered the Internet many years ago in Augustana's computer lab, the first words I typed into a search engine were "Spider-man movie," treating me to all the rumours of the James Cameron film.  And then I learned about the massive lawsuit over who owns the movie rights, and how it was tied up in the courts for literal years until Sony and Marvel were able to settle in Y2K.  I remember the dark times when it looked like we would never get a Spider-Man movie, and now, he were are, with six films total and two reboots and three actors who've played Spidey.  This is it, gang.  These are the good ol' days. 

Even though Peter Parker graduated from high school way back in the mid-70s and the comics ever since have depicted him in his mid-to-late 20s, it's Peter Parker's high school adventures that people still remember the best, and what always gets adapted into movies and cartoons.  But Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first one that charges into it headlong, and fully embraces the geeky awkwardness that Peter Parker is best known for. 

We open with a pre-credits sequence introducing us to a movie version of the Vulture, as played by Michael Keaton.  Adrian Tooms works in construction, and has just won the lucrative contract to clean up New York City after the events of the first Avengers movie.  But, he's promptly put out of business by the Federal Department of Damage Control, the new federal agency co-created by Tony Stark to clean up after superhero shenanigans.  Deciding to make use of what alien tech he's already salvaged, Tooms decides to become an arms dealer by repurposing all kinds of salvaged super weapons.  And thus, the Vulture is born. 

And then, we catch up with Peter Parker.  We're treated to a recap of Spider-Man's involvement in Captain America: Civil War, from Spidey's point of view, and the film picks up shortly after Tony Stark returns Peter Parker to Queens.  Needless to say, after being an Avenger for a weekend, Peter Parker's having trouble re-adjusting to his high school life.  He still goes out at nights, stopping muggers and bike thieves, and he sends nightly reports to Happy Hogan, craving another chance at adventure.  But, when he thwarts a bank robbery that's using some of Tooms tech, Spidey begins investigating, hoping that bringing down the Vulture will be his chance at becoming a full-time member of the Avengers. 

I really like how Marvel went about this.  It seems like they went out of their way to avoid what had been done before in the Spider-Man films.  We don't get to see a lot of Spidey swinging through the skyscraper canyons of Manhattan.  Instead, the closest we get is when Spidey has to scale the Washington Monument to rescue his trapped classmates.  It all leads to some very funny moments, like when Spidey shoots his web to start swinging, only to realize he's on a golf course and there's nothing for him to swing from.  So, instead, he has to sprint across the golf course. 

It's just little things of the Spider-Man mythology that we've known of but never seen.  You know, I had no idea how much I missed little shots of Spidey remembering to reload his webshooters, but there's at least two shots where he reloads, and it made me smile.  Little details like that that we've missed over the years. 

Of course, not every change was to everyone's liking.  Making Aunt May younger is something they originally did in the Ultimate comics about 15 years ago, but a lot had trouble with making her the "hot mom" in the neighbourhood that everyone lusts after.  I will admit, it does seem strange at first, but it ultimately works.

All the performances are great.  Tom Holland makes a great Spider-Man.  He gets the quips when he's in the mask, he gets the nerdiness when he's Peter Parker, he just gets it.  And of course, Robert Downey Jr is always good as Tony Stark/Iron Man, as he becomes a mentor and surrogate father figure to Peter.  That scene where Stark expresses his disappointment in Peter and demands the suit back just always gets me. 

Running out of things to say, so I'll just say I loved it.  Now if we can just get the Fantastic Four back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, all would be right.  I was thinking about that.  In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Happy reveals that Avengers Tower was sold when they moved everything to their new compound upstate.  In a perfect world, Avengers Tower would have been sold to Reed Richards, and it would be re-christened the Baxter Building.  But that's just me. 

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