Oh lordy am I walking on sunshine after SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING! Fifteen years ago – my nephew was 2 years old when my sister took him to our screening of Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN. By the time SPIDER-MAN 2 came along he was 4 and continually leaping off the back of his parents’ couch at a wall, determined to stick one of these times. Now he’s on summer break before his Senior year of High School and I’m still taking him to see SPIDER-MAN – and coming out of SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING he had this complete look of bliss, wanted to see it again instantly – and declared it the best Marvel film yet made.
There’s not a wrong note in the whole bleeding thing. The laughs in this thing are solid fucking gold. The movie reduces the cyncism that makes you question how things are done to such a point of complete acceptance.
So long as my nephew has been alive he’s had pretty damn fine SPIDER-MAN movies – none this good – mind you. But at least pretty fun to watch, even if they had things that bugged the shit out of ya for one reason or another. This one. Nope. I’m 100% aboard.
When I was a kid, I was introduced to Webhead from the 1966 Cartoon, didn’t have live action till around the time of STAR WARS – and that was those television movies, and I was happy with those. I discovered SPIDER-MAN in comic form in Junior High. Mom and Dad had divorced at that time – and we had the Comic Store stock – complete runs of all the silver age comics in as many as 8 copies. But I took AMAZING SPIDER-MAN’s two chicken boxes into my bedroom and I read them straight through.
It’s one of the most vivid reads of anything ever. I was on the summer break before the start of my Freshman year – I’d had half a year of Junior High – and I was most definitely not the typical kid. But SPIDER-MAN spoke to me as a soon to be High School kid. Peter always had girls he was crushing on all over the school. Peter would be out on a regular day and suddenly he’d run into the girl and get all thumbs around them. But one of the things I loved about SPIDER-MAN was for those page turn reveals that would catch you by complete and utter surprise. If it happened on the last panel – I reached for that next issue immediately. I know – not everyone had that luxury, but this was just the life I was born into.
I always had a thing for Betty Brant. Though I totally understand the greater glory of Gwen Stacy. And then there was the invisible girl, not Sue Storm, but that girl Aunt May wanted Peter to meet. But I loved discovering Peter’s social dynamic. I also loved when Pete would accidently stumble into discovering something about his enemy – the awkward nightmare of decorum – loved those moments.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING… is like discovering Spidey for the first time. This is a high school of kids that were ranging from 5-9 when the first AVENGERS movie happened. It’s reflects changing school dynamics and it’s all kinds of brilliant. There’s one direct lift from the comics girl here – in Angourie Rice (THE NICE GUYS girl!) as Betty Brant. Can’t wait to see that relationship firm up. Then there’s Zendaya’s Michelle – who’s the girl too cool for the school – who seems to be the greek chorus of Parker’s school life. Then there’s the girl that Parker is seriously crushing on… Liz played by Laura Harrier as that older girl that’s out of your league type. And she’s awesome.
But… folks… as great as the students are… the teachers… giggle. When I saw BROAD CITY’s Lincoln Rice as a COACH – I about cried laughing inside. Hannibal Buress can make me cackle like Margaret Hamilton laughing evilly as she does. Judge Lance Ito as the Principal Morita – and that’s so cool, cuz Kenneth Choi also played Jim Morita backing up CAPTAIN AMERICA back in that first film! Selenis Leyva (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK – as Gloria Mendoza) is that teacher that has Peter’s number as Ms. Warren. Love her in this! However… MARTIN fucking STARR as the Science Teacher makes all the cosmico sense of the universe. It is so awesome on all the significant directions of cool. I love him in this. He gets the joke of life visibly at all times. He’s completely alive and aware at the insanity of all this.
This is so good. So good. And Peter Parker getting to have a best friend that kinda has his back. That’s like the greatest gift anyone has ever given Peter. I was convinced he was going to die – all the time. Peter can’t have happy things long. It’s a thing you learn about Peter. He’s the sad clown in life. Even if the world is presenting him the dream, some sense of duty will keep him from ever having it all. It’s to the center of the character – and it is absolutely here.
In the final shot of the film before the really awesome end credits begin, there’s a shot. What’s in that shot. DOMINATED OUR POST FILM CONVERSATION – but when that shot began, there was this BODY BLOW OOOOOOOOOPHHHHHH from the great center of our audience. Many started crying laughing at that large expulsion of air…. I mean. It’s kind of the best fucking audience reaction to an inherently in-house – LOSE YOUR FUCKING SHIT NOW!
I love this film. Michael Douglas (Keaton) as The Vulture – is so great. I mean. Just great. And there’s a reveal on his character which left me in a mental “OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK” mental loop whilst also pondering… Peter Parker – this is your utterly fucked HOMECOMING – and I haven’t seen a more painfully awkward car ride sense that girl helped Buffalo Bill with his sofa into his van. Total worm on hook. GENIUS tension and sense of just OH FUCK OH FUCK OH FUCK, WTF DO I DO, WTF… WHY ME. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. You read it on Parker. It’s the unspoken R-Rated version – that is clearing the Parker track for great amazing sequences of this movie.
Having Spider-Man’s suit being a character that he must interact with is also brilliant – and shows the dangers of engaging with superior technology without proper training. Tony Stark has given the boy quite the super suit – and I’ve seen this sort of thing explored in the Ultimates – but this really tests Parker’s survivability as devised here.
The final post credit tag – is the best ever. Absolutely hysterical. Worth every second. Our audience howled with approval. And I applaud the brilliant sense of self-awareness of it all.
I love that we get the Prowler, The Tinkerer, Shocker & The Vulture in this one – as it really feels like a tough time for Parker. None of them in anything approaching comic costumes, dagnabbit, but that was only the slightest irk. Keaton’s VULTURE is a great big boss – and I love how the group comes to be. I love the little kid drawing of the AVENGERS he has in the opening as it really changes how you approach his character. Knowing he has a kid that looks up to heroes, while he operates in the shadows.
If you really love this movie, be sure to check out the two features that Jon Watts did before this Marvel spectacle. I really like his CLOWN (2014) – which is a body horror film that’s about putting on a Clown costume that… becomes attached. It’s pure nightmare juice – and very well done. Then, surely you saw COP CAR (2015) - I remember most of us folks on the Geek movie circuit really got behind this excellent Kevin Bacon film, that has a pair of kids that steal a corrupt sheriff’s car for a joyride. It is excellent. Very different from SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, but each film is great at delivering what it set out to deliver.
Do not miss this one on the biggest most 3D screen you got around! It’s amazing, spectacular and the ultimate SPIDER-MAN we’ve been waiting for!
Keep it cool,