Wait, Why Do We Like Spider-Man: Homecoming?
by Germar Derron
I’m sorry; I don’t get it. I wanted to love it, and I thought that I might. I don’t. In a vacuum, Spider-Man: Homecoming is exciting, fun, and an unimaginable filmmaking feat . . . twenty years ago. Unfortunately, this wasn’t released in a vacuum (or twenty years ago). I watched Homecoming in a world where audiences have been inundated, for nearly two decades, with superhero-based blockbuster films. I’m not a hater—a good movie is a good movie. But is Homecoming as good as The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 2, The Avengers, or Guardians of the Galaxy?
This is the sixth movie, starring Sir Web-a-lot, produced in the past 15 years. Three of the highest grossing hit films, of the first decade of this millennium, feature Spider-Man. Sony, I agree. Milk that cow, protect that goose, and ride that money train. I take issue with the fans. Did you forget those films? Didn’t you sit next to me–on opening night in 2002–and cry, and laugh, and gasp, and applaud? Did you do that for Homecoming?
It seems that Marvel Studios learned fast to pay it forward. For every Avengers, Iron Man, and Guardians, they can get away with a Homecoming, Thor, or Age of Ultron. Suddenly, a generation of participation trophy recipients is giving similarly dubious credit to Hollywood studios.
It’s tough to admit, but maybe I’ve outgrown teen movies. And Homecoming happens to be the teeniest of teen movies of all time. The jokes landed. But what’s fresh about teen: angst, apathy, sarcasm, awkwardness, name-calling, and sweaty nervousness? I’ll wait. Well, at least they were all brown.
Someone painted this cast with every shade of DAHK-ness (R.I.P. Charlie Murphy). I love the decision, but I hate that it distracted me. I’m not sure if that’s a casting issue, or an I’m not accustomed to seeing so many people with my type of skin in a mainstream movie issue. Either way, it was an issue.
Unlike the previous Spider-flicks, here, our web crawler was never in any real danger. He faced an assortment of B-level henchman with ostentatious weaponry. Oddly, this collection of dad bods, hit Pete over and over and over again. Somehow, the boy that beat half of the Avengers was caught off guard by the guy who couldn’t stop masturbating in The Big Hit. Then, after he subdues the inmate that raped William H. Macy, Peter faces the final boss–a grumpy grandpa, with a hang glider.
Is this supposed to be the same hero that defeated a Hulkesque Goblin-father figure, after taking a bomb to the face? What about that time we saw him stop a train, to save hundreds of lives, using nothing but his sinewy bulges and tenacious heart? Did new, baby-Spidey, save anyone—that he didn’t put in danger? And how many times was the day saved by Stark tech, or Stark himself? How many questions can I fit into one paragraph?
It’s not that I dislike this film. I just don’t like it as much as I liked Spider-Man 1-3, The Avengers 1-2, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Iron Man 1-3, Captain America 1-3, The Dark World, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Jessica Jones, or Luke Cage. Did you?
Normally, I chastise, “who cares as long as they make a good movie?!?!” I’m wrong. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man may be too much of a good thing. I’m spoiled. The bar is so high now that the poles don’t measure up. With Homecoming, Marvel didn’t build bigger better poles–they started a limbo contest. Yes, my standards are high. But it’s effing SPIDER-MAN! If I can’t get a best of all time type Spidey-movie, I’ll just stay home and re-watch Tobey playing piano, with Panic! face.
Germar Derron, J.D., M.S., B.I.S. is the super-genius, super sexy, uncommonly funny and talented, but modest founder and EIC of “Look to the Cookie”–a site he runs because he can’t get a real job.