Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

I’M SO IN LOVE WITH TOM HOLLAND’S SPIDER-MAN THAT I’M GONNA WRITE A REVIEW IN CAPITALS.

THERE, I WROTE IT.

But I’m going to return to using the proper upper and lower cases for the convenience of your eyes when you’re reading this review, ha-ha.

This movie is FREAKING AWESOME! I was speechless, it was so much better than what I expected. After the overly gloomy and sensitive Toby Maguire and the uninteresting Andrew Garfield versions of Spider-Man, Tom Holland’s was surprisingly fresh and light. It told exactly how it would look and feel if a high school student suddenly possessed a superpower. He would be awkward, sloppy, boastful, and confused. He wanted to brag but in the same time he had to be discreet about it. Thank goodness Peter Parker had Ned as his wing man; otherwise he would grow up right into his adolescence to be a depressing man like Tom Maguire’s Spider-Man who didn’t have anyone to share his secret with. I believe Tom Holland really nailed it when he’s being Peter Parker (a loner, a smart, nerdy, and unpopular kid at school who’s continuously being bullied by Flash), and when he’s being Spider-Man (even when he’s wearing his mask, what could have been his face expressions and emotions if he hadn’t been wearing it, were translated well into his gestures and voice tones). He’s very attractive, funny, and unsettled, with or without the mask. Tom Holland’s portrayal of the character was enough to make me Google him for a few hours to know more of his backgrounds.

Tom Holland is 21 years old, an actor and a trained dancer who’s been performing in musical since he was 12 years old. He does gymnastics, parkour, and was educated in The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. Holland adds to the list of British actors taking over the roles of American superheroes, such as Andrew Garfield as previous Spider-Man and Henry Cavill as Superman. From Wikipedia we can know that many non-American actors who are popular in Hollywood are trained in reputable institutions for acting and performing. That alone landed them memorable and important roles which stay in their fans’ hearts over the years, like Henry Cavill (Superman), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), to name a few. Are American actors less trained than their non-American counterparts? I’m not saying that. It’s just that when we’re talking about actors portraying superheroes for both Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes, most names that will come to our minds are not of American origin. Who doesn’t know Hugh Jackman who plays Wolverine for almost two decades? Even his fellow X-Men in the movies, Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen, are also Brits. Henry Cavill is a British actor, the second most notable actor to play Superman after it was portrayed by the late Christopher Reeve, and American actor, in 1978. I was just wondering if the schools attended by these British actors had something to do with them being better and more accomplished actors than the American ones.

Okay, back to Spider-Man movie review. It’s a coming-of-age movie to be honest. It reminded me a bit of “Descendants”, a Disney Original Movie produced in 2015, and their similarity lay in depicting teenagers having superpowers. What I liked about Spider-Man was his eagerness to prove himself and in doing so he screwed up a lot. I could however relate to his efforts; I was once a teenager like he was in the movie. It was so normal, so human to go out there, make mistakes, and try to win somebody’s approval. Spider-Man suit in this movie was sophisticated, but I preferred the blue hoodie and jeans with red accent Peter wore when he was fighting Vulture for the last time. It showed who he basically was, an average teenage boy wearing what other teenagers were wearing in their every day lives. When he’s not shooting spider web from his wrist, I almost forgot that Peter Parker’s a superhero by radioactive accident, because oh because he appeared like every other kid in the block who played hooky to do something else he thought much more interesting. Tony Stark reluctantly took him under his wing and made Peter somehow his protégé. Tony’s taking the Spider-Man suit from Peter and saying that if he’s nothing without the suit, then he shouldn’t be wearing it, was one of the best parts in the movie about directing and setting boundaries for teenager. It’s also a well example of discipline and tough love. Peter was being such a good boy, that even though he fell back into the usual boring routines he had to go through every day as a normal teenager, he didn’t complain or rebel to Tony Stark. I guess he saw it coming considering he did make a mess by interfering with the FBI operation in capturing Vulture and his accomplices. Seeing the ferry torn into two and suspended by his spider web only was just one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a movie this year.

The Vulture. Oh my Batman! Michael Keaton, everybody. He’s as charming as ever and his taking the role of a villain with a slight conscience when it came to his family (even until the end he refused to sell out Spider-Man’s real identity to his fellow inmate, probably because he was grateful to Spider-Man for saving his and his daughter’s lives), was just the right mixture of ruthlessness and compassion. One thing for sure, Spider-Man Homecoming was more realistic to depict American society nowadays. From coming-of-age movie perspectives, this movie was as interracial as it got to describe the composition of youths in American societies nowadays. The high school students here were black, white, Indian, Chinese/Japanese/Korean (I can’t tell), and even Native American (Ned). I was surprised when Vulture was revealed as Liz’s father. An interracial family with white father and black mother, hmm, I didn’t see it coming. The most playful things I saw in the movie were when Spider-Man interrogating the guy who almost bought the gun from Vulture. It was so raw and hilarious, showing that it’s Spider-Man’s first time interrogating a bad guy and he’s not good at it, yet. I was also excited when he got Karen, the voice assistant for his suit and how she’s teaching him the cool stuffs to do with his enhanced suit. Karen’s function was a bit similar to Jarvis’, because hey every superhero is lonelier than most human beings for living behind their secret identities (although it’s not so secretive for Tony Stark/Iron Man) and they do need someone to be their confidantes.

As much as superhero movies are awesome in CGI and combat performances, the lack of new concepts and themes has made them boring. The fresh wind was delivered two years ago by “The Ant Man” starring Paul Rudd. It is a story of a man, an ex-convict, who can change into a kind of ant leader to save the world. How absurd and entertaining is the idea? After watching Spider-Man Homecoming I’m more hopeful to watch other superhero movies. After a series of dreadful, theme-wise, Avengers movies (the Avengers, Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, and the last one was Civil War), Spider-Man movie is like a coat of fresh paint on a house which has been battered by earthquakes and other unfortunate events. It promises new hope, optimism, and fun. Not forget to mention that the previous actors who played Spider-men were kind of old to play someone who’s still at school. Holland on the other hand is still young (he just turned 21) and looks young that he can still portray a 15-year old kid. I’m hopeful that he will carry out the youth and energy into the other four installments of Spider-Man in Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m very much looking forward to it.

 

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