5 Questions: Spider-Man: Homecoming
As I have gotten older, my trips to the theater have become less frequent. I can be an old curmudgeon and say that it is because movies today aren’t as good as they were back in “my day”. But even if that is the case, I can’t help but to take in at least one of the big summer blockbusters each year and in 2017, Spiderman: Homecoming definitely qualified as big summer blockbuster.
But as I sat in the darkened theater with my 3D glasses on and watched the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man be re-imagined one more time, I couldn’t help but ask myself some questions…
1. Where has this Spider-Man movie been all my life?
I am not going to bury the previous five Spider-Man films. I enjoyed three of them (Spider-Man 2, The Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man), disliked one (I’m looking at you Spider-Man 3 with your musical numbers and too many villains) and I never even got around to seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 so I can’t really judge it. But to me Spider-Man: Homecoming felt like what a Spider-Man movie should be. Maybe it was the high school setting, maybe it was the fact that we were able to bypass the origin story that superhero movies feel obligated to tell and instead spend more time watching this eager young super hero finding his way in the world. Seriously, who is going to a Spider-Man not knowing the basic origin story of The Web-Slinger? Even if you are being introduced to the character for the first time, there is plenty of source material for you to research if you want to know more about how teenager Peter Parker became Spider-Man or I can just tell you here… Peter is bitten by a radioactive spider.
2. Could they have picked better 80’s songs for Peter’s 80’s theme homecoming dance?
The answer to this question is a definitive NO… If you asked me as a connoisseur of 80’s pop music to select two 80’s songs to play during the film, I would have selected the very songs that they played in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The first, which was used in the homecoming dance prep montage was “Save It For Later” by The English Beat (or as they are known in the UK, The Beat). Then when Peter (Tom Holland) and the apple of his teenage eye Liz (Laura Harrier) arrive at the dance, the song of songs is playing… A Flock of Seagulls’ “Space Age Love Song”. Both songs are not among the most famous 80’s hits, but in my opinion they are two songs that capture the essence of that decade. With those songs on the soundtrack, Spider-Man: Homecoming instantly becomes my second favorite superhero movie soundtrack of all-time, with only John Williams’ magnificent score of Superman The Movie beating it.
3. Is Michael Keaton a better super hero or super villain?
Here is a question that is sure to be ripe for debate… Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Batman in the 1989 film reinvigorated Hollywood’s love affair with comic book superheroes. Keaton would return for Batman Returns in 1992 and then after that bow out while the getting was good, leaving the movie going public wanting more instead of overstaying his welcome as The Caped Crusader.
Fast forward 25 years and Michael Keaton is in a superhero movie again, but this time on the side of evil playing Adrian Toomes aka Vulture. Toomes is everything a villain should be, because in his heart of hearts he believes the criminal activities he is involved in are righteous. He believes he is standing up for the little guy. And he justifies all of it because his criminal activities are providing his wife and daughter with some major quality of life.
Keaton’s performance here is top notch and as much as I enjoyed him as Batman, I’m leaning towards Keaton being better suited as the super villain than the super hero.
4. How awesome was it when Flash’s car got all kinds of effed up?
I’ll never understand the psychology behind a guy like Flash (Tony Revolori), who has to put down others to make himself feel good. I’ve had the misfortune of knowing people like this in my life and I’m sure many of you have too. So when karma bites Flash in the ass and the car he borrowed from his father gets severely damaged after Spidey commandeers it, I couldn’t help but smile… but then I realized I had become a person who found joy in the misfortune of others and that totally screwed with my mind.
5. Is Tom Holland the best Spider-Man ever?
Here is another question that I’m sure is already being debated to death on social media, but it is a valid question none the less. But I also think it is an unfair question… Tobey Maguire was the first big screen Spider-Man, so ordinarily I’d say that would give him the leg up on the competition. I think Andrew Garfield had more support from Spidey fans after the abysmal Spider-Man 3 with Maguire as the star and many were not pleased when they heard the Garfield starring Spider-Man movies were not going to continue. But Tom Holland has the huge advantage of his Spider-Man being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So when you see Holland’s Spider-Man interacting with Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man or Chris Evans’ Captain America, it gives this incarnation of Spider-Man a great deal of credibility.
All of that aside, I thought Tom Holland was excellent as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. And at just 21 years old, he is a lot closer to Peter Parker’s age than any of the previous Spider-Men were when they first donned the Spidey suit. So I think when it is all said and done, with his talent and abilities and the advantage of being a part of the MCU, Tom Holland will be the definitive Spider-Man in the eyes of most fans.