It’s got to be tough to be a super-hero blockbuster in 2017. The slate of huge event movies is building up on the horizon and there’s more “non-essential” (by comparison) releases from both Marvel and DC than ever before.
With that said, the success of Wonder Woman has already set the year well above the pass mark, just in time for some genuine pressure and expectation to fall on the brand new cross-company experiment that is Sony and Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man.
Just as the Sony Spider-Man franchise has had a major overhaul (more significantly than even the Toby Maguire to Andrew Garfield reboot) the Geek Mountain website has emerged from an update of our own, so this review will be delivered in our exciting new ongoing format, making it easier to rate Geek entertainment at a glance and breaking down what we love and hate about our movies, games, comics and shows.
Rating the story of Spider-Man: Homecoming is a tough first application of this review system, because it's so good I could easily have marked it Great, but ultimately I'm going to be a harsh critic and reserve Greatness for something truly special.
The only minor continuity issue is the lack of any of the other New York based heroes and characters getting involved when things escalate, but ultimately that's for the better as the movie feels right at home in the MCU without being over-crowded, plus Damage Control is introduced seamlessly.
The plot links in to the first Avengers movie better than any other Marvel movie, the plot twists are refreshingly well executed without being earth shattering and there's a solid story from start to finish.
Tom Holland is fantastic, and Homecoming proves that his Spidey is more than just a clever bit part in the Avengers franchise. The fresh realisations of some classic comic book characters are excellent, the background ensemble is strong but most importantly the character arcs and portrayals of both Spider-Man and the Vulture are basically flawless. These are some of the most engaging and real characters we've seen in a comic book movie and they deserve top marks.
Seriously, I'm going to come right out and say it, Spider-Man: Homecoming is awesome.
The humour is spot on, the action is first class and when things get serious... damn. No spoilers here, but this movie manages to combine the great action/comedy mix with one of the most tense and gripping scenes I've experienced in a long time.
Brilliantly entertaining in multiple ways, end of story.
First and foremost, this is by far the best Spider-Man villain we've seen brought to life. Vulture manages to look accurate enough to the comic while still making sense in the bright but realistic world of the movies. No over the top cartoon armour, no gritty re-imagining that totally misses the mark. At the same time, Spider-Man and Iron Man keep up the same visual standards we expect from their previous appearances, and the action sequences are well delivered for the most part.
There are a couple of night-time sequences that I found a little too dim, but really good aside from that.
Not the sort of soundtrack that I would be raving about if I wasn't specifically rating it, but it did a fantastic job of setting the tone in all the intense scenes, pumping up the energy for the action shots and giving the movie a fun over-all character. Bonus marks for the Ramones as the credits track.
The concept of Spider-Man as a point of difference to other adult heroes was what made him so successful in the comics, yet we haven't seen that truly delivered on the big screen until this movie.
A Spider-Man that is being mentored by Tony Stark in a long-awaited cross-over between Sony and Marvel Studios? Now that's an idea that dreams are made out of.
Not only is Spider-Man one of my favourite comic-book characters, but I've already seen so many films and animated adaptations of the character that it's one of the hardest properties for me not to nit-pick. Add to that the fact that this is the third blockbuster comic book movie I've seen in the last 3 months, and Wonder Woman being a legitimately tough act to follow, and I was prepared to latch onto any Spider-Man: Homecoming flaws without hesitation.
This movie did a great job of not letting me do that.
We've had a lot of super-hero movies, we've had a lot of Spider-Man movies, so this would seem like an uphill battle, but the diversity of the cast without it feeling unnatural, the unique age of Peter Parker compared to other heroes and the fact that the plot didn't fall into the Big Boss Fight In a Suit trope that we've seen so many times despite the fact that the villain is literally powered by a suit? No mean feat, but Homecoming pulls it off.
Even though it's a franchise starter for Sony, this really is the sixteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. SIXTEENTH!
OK that's crazy. They aren't even close to done yet...
Anyway, Homecoming makes the most sense if you've already seen Avengers and Captain America: Civil War, but at the same time the important points are covered by Michael Keaton and Tom Holland early on, and the plot stands up on its own.
The violence and themes are genuinely fitting of a soft M rating, definitely more comfortable in the American PG-13 than most other comic book movies. Comic book fans won't be alienated, but comic knowledge isn't necessary either.
That's sixteen though? Not even including Sony, Fox or Warner Brothers movies...
Even though it didn't leave on a cliff-hanger, even though the big tie-in to Avengers and the MCU was actually down-played compared to the fan fare and hype that they could have embraced, this movie builds characters and delivers such an excellent overall movie that I would be crazy to say I don't want more. The final post-everything post-credits scene was pretty clever too. Bastards.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is the best Spider-Man movie ever made. Previous Spider-Man movies were really good, and I judged this one harshly. Jon Watts, Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, you and everyone else involved in this movie should be proud.