“Spider-Man: Homecoming” will be the first of a trilogy of new “Spider-Man” films. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures)
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, this movie I really can’t stand. There is some stuff that is OK, but it fails in almost every way. Get ready, this one is pretty bad.
After his tour of duty with the Avengers in “Captain America: Civil War,” Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns home to New York where he must balance being a high school student and his alter-ego Spider-Man, all the while pining for another chance to fight alongside the Avengers when a new threat known as the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges.
For the most part, Marvel’s formula has been to have a bad to lackluster origin movie followed up by a fairly decent sequel once all the pieces are in place. Whether through seeing the earlier Spider-Man movies or through osmosis, Spider-Man’s origin story is well known and did not require repeating, so they skipped it. This incarnation of Spider-Man was also established in “Captain America: Civil War.” The pieces were in place and everything was ready to go, so how was “Spider-Man: Homecoming” the end result?
There are two locations that the movie focuses on: Peter’s high school life and his life swinging around New York City stopping crime.
Neither one works.
In high school, Peter is surrounded by potential conflicts that could be caused by him being Spider-Man, whether it is his inability to have a relationship with the girl he likes (Laura Harrier), or being unreliable for his academic decathlon team. None of these conflicts ever feel like they hold any actual weight or stakes to them. Throw in a bunch of comedic relief characters that are not funny and are so annoying that Jar Jar Binks would fit in with them, and this half of the movie is intolerable and boring.
The crime fighting aspect also lacks stakes until the final act, when Peter’s actions actually result in something happening. But until then it is more boring scenes where nothing of much consequence happens.
The one moment that actually had stakes to it is undercut by how easily it could have been avoided if Peter’s mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) actually acted smartly and talked to him.
How both parts of the film are handled showcases the biggest problem with “Spider-Man Homecoming,” which is its tone.
The movie is about a kid getting in over his head and having to overcome his failures to save the day, topped off with romantic angst and a dangerous villain.
Throughout all of that, though, it feels like the director gave every actor the order of, “be goofy every three seconds.” Comic relief moments are okay, but a half-drama, half-obnoxious comedy is not.
The diamonds in this unbearable rough of a superhero movie are the actors and the villain.
While most of the cast is immeasurably annoying comic relief, everyone at least plays their parts well, especially Holland and Keaton.
Keaton’s Vulture is, by far, one of the best villains that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced.
If only he were in a film that made better use of him.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” had a lot of potential, but along the way almost every ball they had was dropped.
Final Grade: D