No one at the Geekiverse is more excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming than me. Probably annoyingly so. Even though the social media release and the reviews (I’ve kind of avoided those) have been good, this film is not a slam dunk for me.
As I’ve mentioned before, Spidey is my hero. My guy. I was a kid while he was a kid. I wanted to be him. The first two franchises were good. I said good, not great. I liked the Spider-Man films better than The Amazing Spider-Man films, but I liked all five, nonetheless. Each had it’s own set of redeeming qualities, but they dropped the ball on certain things. So, in taking the good and the bad from the first five iterations, and my life-long knowledge and love of the Spider-Man lore, not to mention my feelings for the material released in the teasers and trailers, here’s what needs to happen for me to be wowed by this film.
1. Spider-Man needs to be a better smart-ass. In the previous films, Garfield brought this game better than Tobey. I’m sure it was a writing thing. They’ve improved steadily, and there are definitely some moments showcased in the trailers that show that this is possible. I love the trailer scene where he shows up to stop the robbery with the guys in the Avengers masks. Shows me that this thing might fly. It’s got to be sustainable, because this a key to Spider-Man’s personality. Doesn’t need to be a laugh a minute. Pete is just a kid and he is making his way in post-Civil War, NY. There is space for seriousness, but one of Spidey’s best tactics is getting under his opponent’s skin with his banter.
2. How the “origin story” is dealt with. I have been vocal in saying, we don’t need a full-blown origin story. We know it. One critic in his tweets, disagreed with me. He feels like Spidey is a tragic character, and that tragedy drives who Pete is, so ignoring it does the whole story wrong. Um…. no. This film takes place after the origin story. Pete is already Spidey when this film begins (and even when he showed up in Civil War). That being said, there are a few ways it can be dealt with. One is to ignore it completely, and just start the story after Civil War. The other is to address it lightly. The latter has challenges itself. This is important stuff and it cannot just be shoe-horned in there for the sake of having it. So, either a subtle approach or not at all.
3. Kid, but not a caricature – To a certain extent, I really like some of what I have seen so far, and Tom Holland plays the high school kid role better than either Maguire or Garfield (and I think Garfield was the better of the two). The jury, however, is still out. Some of the other parts that we’ve seen worry me some. With the cast of high school stock characters they’ve assembled, I am a tiny bit concerned that this becomes Marvel meets Goonies. I am a bit of a traditionalist. I am aware. This is a story about a superhero, it isn’t a story about a goofy high school gang.
4. Familiar characters – In line with the last item, the gang that they have assembled is a bunch of new characters. Pete’s high school years, also come pre-packaged with some familiar faces. If this film plans on introducing them, they’ve done a good job of hiding it. I don’t need to see Flash Thompson bullying Pete and his gang again, but, we do get some iteration of Flash, and it might be cool to see the tough girl played by Zendaya go at Flash. Both Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson come from Pete’s high school days. I hope that maybe we at least get a glimpse of one or both (since they were, in fact, best friends). No one from Marvel asked me, and I’m always surprised by that, but I think a quick scene of the two of them together sets up a really nice “Who does Pete end up with?” for the next film. You really can call me anytime, Kevin Feige.
5. A storyline that isn’t overflowing to bursting – It’ll probably be OK. They usually don’t overfill the plot pot until the film series is getting ready to be cancelled. (That happened in both Spider-Man and the Amazing Spider-Man series). A couple villains, maybe a personal plot line, that’s enough. No really. We don’t need 3 villains and a collapsing personal life and a whole huge back story about one of the villains. More bang for the buck is not always they best way to go. Here’s hoping that Iron Man is there for flavor and not an overpowering presence.
6. That damn suit – This is my one big bone of contention walking into the theater. I already hate that the suit is Stark produced and full of tech. I’m hoping that maybe this is a minor plot point and after wearing it awhile Pete says, “No, thanks, Tony. Can I call you, Tony?” and gives it back to him. Spidey’s charm is that he is mostly tech free. I do like that the webshooters are mechanical, and not the organic ones from Tobey Maguire’s webhead. I don’t love the aesthetic, those black accent lines bug me, but I imagine (if the film is good) I’ll get over that quickly, at least I hope I do. Oh, and suit related, loosely, I hope every third person in NYC doesn’t know that Spider-Man is Parker because Pete takes his mask off every 6 minutes. One of the failings of the Tobey Maguire era.
So, there you have it. I think, from all I have allowed myself to read and from the trailers I’ve seen, we have a pretty solid film. I’ve totally enjoyed Tom Holland in the role, and hope they’ve signed him to a secret gazillion film deal so that he can be the next long-term MCU superstar that keeps me going for years to come.
What do you think needs to happen for Spider-Man: Homecoming to exceed your expectations? Got anything you are worried about? Leave me a comment below.
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Pete Herr is The Grumpy Geek and The Geekiverse’s biggest Spidey fan (despite what Seth might think… Grumpy outweighs him by half a person, so he is, in fact, the biggest fan). Follow Pete on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram . If you don’t he gets Grumpy. You don’t want to see him Grumpy.
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