Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)






I would love to be Michael Keaton as he writes his C.V.

“I’ve been Batman (twice); I’ve been Birdman (once, and in an admittedly pretentious load of old nonsense); and now I’m The Vulture in the new Marvel Universe movie Spider-Man:  Homecoming.”

Noticing a trend here?  I am.  And I’m jealous as all hell.  I wish that my C.V could add a few winged and pissed-off super-creatures to it.

Keaton is terrific as the villain and genuinely threatening.  I also could sympathise with him to some extent.  In the film’s prologue we watch as his salvage company gets shafted out of a contract to clean up after the Battle of New York in the first Avengers movie.  Instead, the clean-up goes to Stark Industries so that the guys who wrecked the joint in the first place make even more money out of it.

That’s how Adrien Toomes (Keaton) sees it anyway.  And since it’s the kind of scummy double-dealing that real-life governments would gleefully turn a blind eye to, whilst raking in the backhanders, I was with him when he swiped some of the grounded alien technology to help him recoup his losses.  Of course he takes it too far and, eight years later, when Spider-Man (Tom Holland) learns that he’s selling alien weaponry to bad street guys he tries to take him down.

Spidey is still psyched up from his stint with the Avengers at the end of Captain America:  Civil War.  It was a great ten-minute appearance in which – finally – the powers-that-be seemed to have gotten the character right.  But extend that ten minutes to a full length movie and the mix of angst and high-school wisecracks really began to wear on my grinding back teeth.  These school kids are so deliberately gender-and-racially mixed that you can just see the producers and casting agents sitting there with little PC boxes to tick.

I could live with that if every single thing out of their dopey mouths hadn’t seemed to consist of:  Man, that is so cool; that is so awesome; and that is so awesomely cool that it is, like, totally and awesomely unbelievable.

I didn’t like the Vulture’s suit either.  It’s like Tony Stark’s battle armour and even the shots of Keaton inside his mask are so totally like the shots of Iron Man that for me it was, like, totally uncool and less than unbelievably awesome.

Talking of Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), his very extended cameo is great — again.

Although he does make a rather nasty quip about bloggers.  I’m guessing that he was aiming it at illiterate (if enthusiastic) types like the bafflingly successful Harry Knowles rather than extremely talented but largely unread ones such as Your Humble Narrator.

But… Tony is also a problem.  As Peter Parker’s mentor he brings in far too many gadgets.  In fact, Spidey’s suit has just about as many gizmos as the Iron Man one.  Surely this character was meant to be a more stripped-down hero; you know, a ‘friendly neighborhood hero’?  We have the other movies for the heavier stuff.

And after the nice chemistry and flirting established between Tony and the screen’s most gorgeous-ever Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) I would like to have seen them interact a bit; but, sadly, they are kept apart.

The truth is that I want May to split Tony up from Pepper Potts.  A guy like my Tony does not need Gwyneth Paltrow feeding him Gloop for the rest of his life.  Sure, May seems to hate his guts but a bit of the old Stark charm should take care of that.  (‘What was it that first attracted you to the multi-billionaire, Tony Stark?’)

I want May to get bitten by a radioactive…oh, anything will do… thereby getting her own stand-alone film as a super-powered villainess in a skin-tight bodysuit.  It would be awesome.  And very, very cool.  But that’s just a personal opinion.

Oh yeah, and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is back and that’s another big plus for me.  I just like that guy.

Listen, Spider-Man:  Homecoming is fine and will be another hit for Marvel.  It is a good shot at integrating the character, always something of an outsider, into the Universe – and Holland is very endearing as the web-slinger, even though as always happens with the web-swinging, the effects somehow never manage to make it look real. In fact, this time around they’re like a dodgy early video game.  Maybe it’s just that, as I well and truly enter my dotage and find myself happily groping for the door marked EXIT, I’m getting too old for these movies.

I don’t think so, though.  Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy manage to mix light-hearted wit and action sequences in a manner that appears seamless and which I find enormously appealing.

Is the clue to my curmudgeon-like moaning to be found in the end credits?  It’s directed by Jon Watts; but who wrote it?

Let’s see:   Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers; based on a screen story by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley.

Oh, now I get it.  It’s another Mummy:  Film by Committee.







Author: Charley Brady

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  1. The Diversity doesn’t bother me. Queens (where Spiderman lives) IS an extremely diverse neighborhood (one of the most diverse on the planet) so there it makes sense to have a lot of minorities. Queens was a lot more whitbread back in the 60s but nowadays it’s more diverse.

    In THAT case diversity is ok (if someone were to portray london as being all white even where there’s a large minority pop people would rightly call foul).

    Even Venice in the 1500s was very diverse since a lot of people from all over the world visited there. If one were to ask for Black people in 11th century Scandanavia THEN you could call foul

  2. But that’s just the thing, Ryan: I am not calling ‘Foul’. I’m just fed up with it being shoved in so…gracelessly.


    It wasn’t quite as bad as Spielberg’s ‘Hook’, but it was getting there.

    And I had no real complaints about the film; it’s just that I wasn’t excited about this one. And as always I wanted to be. Along with ‘Dr. Strange’ it was the weakest in what has been an amazing run of 16 films. That’s a pretty good run.

    As you know, I was just blown away by ‘The Winter Soldier’. That to me is how it should be done and why that is –to me only, I emphasise! — the greatest superhero movie ever made. Hell, I even thought that the dreaded Sam L. Jackson was brilliant in it.

    Maybe ‘Winter Soldier’ set the bar too high, I could rhapsodise about that movie all night. Everything was seamless.

    Look, Ryan, I WANT to live in a world where we all get on with each other. Years ago I was in France and came across an Andy Warhol print that I knew my partner of the time would love. It simply said: I THINK EVERYBODY SHOULD LIKE EVERYBODY. Now that may sound corny and unrealistic but that lady still has it hanging on a wall. And it’s also what I happen to believe.

    She’s an ex, but also one of my very few friends. One of the others is a gay man. He knows my views on this but also agrees that we’re just fed up with this whole gender/race/ whatever you’re having yourself stuff being rammed down our throats.

    I have no idea what age you are, Ryan; but you’re obviously a deep and thoughtful man. I’m just from a generation that didn’t agonise over this stuff all the time. And I’m beginning to think that we just ACCEPTED differences better, without all this angst that comes along with it these days.

    My very first girlfriend, way back in the 70s, was Japanese; we never back then had to explain why we were together. We just were; no soul-searching; no explaining.

    And I’m still hopelessly, optimistically in love with movies. AND I’m looking forward to the new ‘Planet of the Apes’ tomorrow! Watch this space!

  3. I’m already going to see planet of the apes; a friend wants to see spiderman so I’m going with him.

    The point about diversity is that it’s not unbelievable for a movie set in Queens to have a large minority cast. Queens already has a large minority population so I can see a lot of people calling bullshit on a lack thereof. That’s different from say complaining about middle earth lacking black people

    And yes WS is a great film.

  4. You know, I think that you have the right of the ‘Queens’ argument, Ryan — touche!

    Meanwhile, enjoy the new Apes: this was my happy, gushing review of the previous, so if it’s half as good:


  5. I wasn’t trying to be pushy. The issue is that in SOME Places you can have diversity without it being forced. Like I said, queens is a very mixed neighborhood so having more minority characters actually makes sense. It DOESN’T make sense to bitch about black people in Westeros or Middle Earth because they’re largely based in Europe (and aside from cosmopolitan centers like Venice) there were not a lot of minorities in the area at the time.

    Case in point. Game of thrones. The areas that have mostly nonwhite people are Braavos (which is basically an uber cosmopolitan city) and Essos (where the Andals, the ancestors of the Westerosi) live.

    In Braavos it’s okay to have minorities. Back then those cities were the center of trade from all over the planet. Complaining about it in Winterfell (far north) is a little silly.

    It depends on where you’re asking it for.

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