Saturday, July 8, 2017

Spiderman Homecoming offers a fresh twist on a Marvel fan favorite

Movie Title:  Spider-Man: Homecoming

Grade: A-

Rating: PG-13,

In a Nutshell:  Another Spider-Man?  Really?  I rolled my eyes when I saw that yet one more Spider-Man origin movie was being made...6 movies in 15 years with 3 different lead actors.  BUT, this isn’t exactly an origin movie and it offers some fresh new takes on the story that you just might get a kick out of. 

Complete with a dental retainer, Spanish quiz, and best-friend secret handshake, Peter Parker is a goofy teenager who struggles with the “Training Wheel Protocol” as he learns how to become a true superhero and Avenger.  With plenty of action and humor, this is another effective arrow in Marvel’s growing cinematic quiver.

This new version of Spider-Man, directed by Jon Watts, really captures the innocence, naivete, and adolescence of everyday teenage life.  It offers an impressive balance between superhero and high schooler. One of the movie posters does a great job of illustrating that.

Uplifting theme:   
  • “Times are changing.  It’s time we change too.” – Adrian Toomes  (This idea also explains the existence of this new Spider-man remake)
  •  Take time to figure out who you are.
  • Service, love, friendship, family.

Things I liked:
  • Tom Holland has the 15 year old personality to offer a unique perspective on this young superhero, as well as the 6-pack abs to make you believe he can be a powerful Avenger.
  • I love Michael Keaton in anything he does.  He had to get a kick out of playing this flying role as The Vulture, after winning awards for his quasi superhero character in Birdman.  They did a great job with creating a backstory and motivation for The Vulture.  He’s a scavenger, which is what vultures do.
  • I loved all of the different features on Spiderman’s enhanced suit given to him by the tech genius Tony Stark.  “Enhanced Interrogation Protocol.”   Ha ha
  • Spider drone.  I hate spiders, but that drone was pretty cool.
  • Peter Parker says to his Spanish teacher, “Me gusta hacer la tarea.”  There aren’t any subtitles, so I thought you might like to know what he said.  “I like to do homework.”   Ha ha
  • There’s a short clip from Marvel's Captain America: Civil War to remind you where we first saw this new Tom Holland version of Spider-man.
  • The 3D really pays off during the Washington, DC scenes, as well as any time Peter Parker is scaling buildings.
  • Is the US Academic Decathlon a real thing?  Yes, it is!
  • Check out the dramatic backsplash in Adrian Toomes’ kitchen.  It doesn’t have anything to do with the story; I just thought it was interesting.
  • Cool cloaking feature on Tony Stark’s plane.
  • I love that Marvel always includes a cameo performance by creator Stan Lee.  I get a kick out of seeing what oddball lines they choose to give him.  In this film, he says, “Don’t make me come down there, you punk!” ha ha   Speaking of Stan Lee, he has always said that people relate so much to Spiderman, because he’s just a normal kid with normal problems.  That’s exactly what makes this new version of Spiderman so likeable.
  • Was the National Monument really built by slaves as Michelle suggests?  While there is no definite evidence that proves she's right, there are quite a few other national monuments and famous buildings in Washington, D.C. that were.  The guard at the monument gives a "so-so" hand gesture, which is actually a good answer to the question.
  • Keep watching during the rolling credits for a little hint at the next film in the series.  Keep watching until the VERY end of all of the credits for a funny PSA announcement from Captain America.  I love that Marvel includes those funny clips at the end of their movies.  By the way, the entire movie is filled with funny PSA announcements by Captain America.  Love him.
  • I love the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off  so I got a kick out of the scene when Peter Parker is running through a bunch of people’s yards and then you actually see that movie clip playing on someone’s TV inside their house. ha ha  I like that there are times when Spider-man doesn’t have any buildings to swing around on to travel.  What's a superhero to do?  Instead, he has to run!  Ha ha
  • Tons of Easter Eggs for true comic book fans.
  • Jacob Batalan makes for a great best friend and provides some great interaction and dialogue for Peter Parker.
  • Cameo by Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The movie starts with a shaky cam technique which made me immediately worry that this was how the entire movie was going to be.  Thankfully, it only lasts a couple of minutes and exists to show you that Peter Park is just an awkward teenager who keeps a video diary and is eager to learn everything and prove himself.
  • A lot of Spider-man’s powers come from Tony Stark’s high tech suit that was gifted to Peter Parker, and not his actual “spidey sense.”  Don't get me wrong, the new suit is awesome.
  • What’s up with Aunt May’s high-waisted pants?  Is that back in fashion now?  Are they trying to make the hot actress, Marisa Tomei, look frumpy or something?
  • There is a LOT of Audi product placement in this movie.

Funny lines:
  • “Wow, their lair is in a gas station.  That’s so lame.” – Spider-man
  • “Can’t bear to lose a student on a school field trip…not again.” – teacher
  • “But we have a Spanish quiz.” – Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon)
  • “Deactivating Instant Kill.” – “Suit Lady” (voiced by the lovely Jennifer Connelly)
  • “That’s awesome!” –Peter Parker/Spider-man says this about a million times.  It’s endearing because it reminds you that he’s just a teenager and has that same awe of superheroes that we do.
  • “I’m just going to be myself.” – Peter Parker
“Nobody wants that.” – Ned
“Can’t you just be a friendly, neighborhood Spiderman?” – Tony Stark/Iron Man  (the always entertaining Robert Downey Jr.)

Interesting lines:
  • “I’m just trying to be like you.” – Spider-Man
“I want you to be better.” – Tony Stark/Iron Man
  • “The only way to really be cool is to obey the rules.” – Captain America

Tips for parents: 
  • Some profanity.
  • Lots of violence and destruction.
  • Ned tells a teacher he’s looking at porn.  It’s supposed to be funny.  It’s not.  The writers couldn’t think of anything clever for him to say?
  • The movie takes its time to develop characters, so little kids might actually get bored. 

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