Puzzle Doctor At The Movies: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve done a film review, but I figured it was about time. As I’m currently on the sofa struggling through Less-Than-Fantastic Beasts and Who Gives A S**t Where They Are – if I’m bored tomorrow, you may get a review of that soon, but you can already guess the gist of that one – but I thought I’d tackle something rather better instead.

Things have been a bit hectic over the past week or so chez Puzzle Doctor, but I had a couple of hours free the other day, and took advantage to see a film that I was looking forward to for a long time. But why was I looking forward to it so much? And was it worth it?

Everyone has favourite fictional characters and I’ve had two who’ve remained with me from an early age. Not Poirot, as you may think, but basically two characters who I always admired – the Doctor, who’ve I’ve banged on about before on the blog before, and Peter Parker, also known as the Amazing, Spectacular, Sensational Spider-Man.

Something about Peter Parker always appealed to me – and, I’ll be absolutely honest, still does. My comic collecting has waxed and waned over the years, but there is still one comic that I keep an eye on, and that’s the Amazing Spider-Man. The hero who isn’t invincible, the hero who more often than not uses his brains rather than his brawn, a hero who never (well, almost never) succumbed to the grim and gritty trend that afflicted comics in the nineties. And a hero with the best rogues gallery of villains bar none – OK, the Flash and that Bat-guy come close on that one – but there’s a reason why almost every Spider-Man villain keeps coming back for more.

So, anyway, back to the film. The third reboot of recent times, following Tom Holland’s film-stealing performance in Captain America: Civil War. The Tobey Maguire films were 2/3 good, 1/3 dreadful and the Andrew Garfield films… existed. But this film – this felt like the real Spider-Man.

Removing the origin story, removing Uncle Ben from the narrative, ignoring the bloody Green Goblin, it concentrates on Spider-man’s coming of age as a hero. Determined to gain Tony Stark’s approval to become a full-time Avenger, he misses the bigger picture of becoming a hero in his own right. But luckily (?) for him, he’s about to cross webs with Adrian Toomes, a man with a business stealing and re-selling alien technology – and a high-flying Vulture costume.

As you might have guessed, I loved this film. Tom Holland just seemed to embody the young Peter Parker and while there are tweaks to his back-story, the spirit is there. The “Parker luck”, how things never quite go right for him, runs throughout the story and by paring down the distractions that are sometimes there just for the sake of it – the Daily Bugle, for example – and concentrating on a couple of villains – the Vulture and the Shocker – who don’t have origins that are interwined with Peter’s life, means that this feels much more like a traditional Spider-man story to me. Add in a near-flawless cast and a sparkling script, this was an absolute cracker.

The downside – the final few minutes of the big end-fight are a little hard to follow. Well, not the final minutes, they have SPIDER-MAN written all over them. But other than that, this is a classy film. It had me from the opening titles – the music playing over the “MARVEL” logo made the ticket price worth it for me – and ending with a hint as to one of the villains for the sequel – another wise choice, in my opinion – had me smiling from start to finish. Other little bits – the final fate of the Vulture for example – made this stand out from the superhero crowd – and the end-of-credits clip had me laughing my head off as I left the screening.

It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to go back and see a film again after watching it in the cinema, but I’m very tempted with this one. I really want to see more and more of this version of my hero – and luckily, with Avengers 3, Avengers 4 and the next Spider-Man film, that’s exactly what I’m going to be able to do. Highly Recommended.

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7 comments

  1. I think we are much in a agreement on this and the previous films. I really did enjoy this a a lot and it had a nice 80s vibe to it (though they didn’t need to be so obvious with the FERRIS BUELLER reference perhaps) – I only wish there had been more about the Homecoming party actually, but truly, that’s about it in terms of criticism!

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    • It was lot of fun. I’m a Spidey fan myself for about 35 years and this one was really cool.
      My favorite vilain is Scorpion so I was really happy with the post credits scene and I really hope he will be in the next movie

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      • I used to read the comics back in the 1970s but not since. I didn’t even get the reference to Scorpion (and was, in fact, slightly mystified by the credits tease as a result).

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      • Well, Scorpion is one of the less-used of the classic villains – he had a big push in the 00s as the new host of Venom – but I imagine he is known to the public from the old cartoon. I can’t see Scorpion being the big bad of the next film though, mostly as he wasn’t played by a famous actor, it keeping the street level thief/thug notion that will work better, I think, than going for the more out-there villains like Mysterious or Kraven. Still, I don’t really mind, as long as we stay away from Goblins…

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      • I gave up reading comics long, long, long back but my favourite villain was Mxyztplk ! (from Superman comics)

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