Spider-Man: Homecoming [IMAX 3D]


As a second reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming had a lot stacked against it, but what Marvel/Sony had wisely chosen to do was to steer away from the over-trodden origin story and instead focused on the growing pains of a being (super)hero. And also casting Tom Holland in the lead. With Holland, the MCU had hit another gold mine in casting like what they had with Robert Downey Jr. That being said, the film itself, unfortunately, was a mid-tier entry in the MCU. It was fun, enjoyable and entertaining - everything one would expect from a Marvel-film and a summer popcorn release. However. for all its quips and maniacal energy, it lacked the kinetic and effortless humour of Ant-Man, The Avengers (both parts) and Guardians of the Galaxy (part one only), and also the thrilling excitement and adrenaline-pumping actions of the first two Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies and Andrew Garfield/Marc Webb's first The Amazing Spider-Man.

Jon Watts' direction was apt and competent, but his storytelling felt simplistic and lacked urgency. Partially it could be the invisible strings of the Marvel Studio at work as the film worked best when the story was simply focused on Peter Parker instead of trying to tie it neatly into the vast, money-making franchise that is the MCU. Perhaps because this is a co-production with Sony, but that integration had never been more apparent and jarring. Watts will likely be invited back for the sequel since he did complete the film without being fired (see Rouge One and the young Hans Solo film).

The army of credited writers could have also been a factor in the haphazard nature of the film. With so many voices, it was not surprising that the screenplay did not come across as entirely coherent.

Watts' ability was also lacking in the action sequences. There were not any big, exciting fight scenes nor were there any little, fun sequences (who could forget Maguire deftly saving his lunch in his first film? Or the epic, train sequence with Doctor Octopus?). So that was a real shame.

Luckily, we had Holland. For one, he looks and acts appropriately like a teenager. More so than Maguire or Garfield. Outwardly, he was a perfect balance between Garfield's dorky likability and Maguire's bumbling earnestness. He could also pull off the snarky, snippy, motor-mouth quips that the comic-book Spider-Man is known for. The show is built around him and revolves around him and it shows. However, his chemistry with the rest of the cast was weak at best and this was also perhaps due to the shadows cast by his predecessors. Holland and Marisa Tomei's Aunt May felt more like an Aunt-Nephew relationship than a close knitted one that it is supposed to be, unlike Maguire and Rosemary Harris or Garfield and Sally Field; Holland and Laura Harrier (as love interest Liz) did not had much chemistry, unlike Garfield and Emma Stone; Holland and Jacob Batalon (as best friend Ned) kind of lacked the depth and over-familiarity that was so strong between Maguire and James Franco. Maybe the next film, they can focused on rounding out Peter's character.

Michael Keaton's Vulture/Adrian Toomes was the rare superhero villain that was actually genuine sympathetic. Sure. Keaton can be scary as hell, but at least Watts et al tried to make his character less flat with proper "motivations" and purpose that was not all about death and destruction. That one scene in the car between Keaton and Holland was the best piece of acting from both parties and in the whole film.

Of the young cast. only the other big-named star - Zendaya - stood out. Mainly because of her character's enigma and nonchalant attitude.  And her character does not really revolve around that of Parker.

RDJ in small amounts is good.

Jon Favreau's Happy is the new Agent Coulson, the (cheap) glue to the franchise.

The other best casting was that of Jennifer Connelly aka Karen aka "Suit Lady" aka Mrs Paul Bettany aka wife of Vision aka wife of J.A.R.V.I.S. How meta!

Music was by Michael Giacchino and his output has been getting disappointing. Previously an exciting and innovative composer, now most of his recent scores had been for franchises and they have been generic and uninspiring.

The mid-credits scene was a great nod to the character involved. And the post-credits scene was a great gag/laugh.

3D was fun, as expected what with the web-swingings; IMAX was great but not really necessary.

Here's hoping Holland doesn't lose his way (remember The Impossible, The Lost City of Z and Billy Elliot).

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