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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Review of Spider-Man: Homecoming

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you haven't learned already from trailers and clips.
Young Peter Parker works his way through high-school angst, frustration with his mentor, and part-time hero-ing.
Well, dear reader(s), I am fond of saying I always keep an open enough mind for something to surprise me. Usually that's a positive, but this weekend, unfortunately, the opposite is true.
I adore Spider-Man. He's my third-favorite superhero, behind The Tick and Batman, if anyone wondered...okay, probably not. Thanks to solid trailers, good word on the street, and an entertaining appearance in Captain America: Civil War, I had high hopes for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and it hurts me deeply to declare it a disappointment. Still, the movie has a fair few positives, so I hope to focus mostly on those, beginning, as I usually do, with the cast. Tom Holland is a great Peter Parker, perfectly embodying that challenging age when young adults are certain they're capable of more than the grownups think. It helps that Holland, barely old enough to drink, is within (web) shooting distance of our high-school hero's age. While both effectively play younger onscreen, and both, for my money, were terrific Spideys, Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield were in their mid- to late-20s when they put on the tights, so at some point they were bound to feel a bit removed from those difficult-but-exciting teen years. The supporting cast is filled with awesomeness in the forms of Marisa Tomei, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, and the now-obligatory appearance by Robert Downey, Jr., but it's Michael Keaton, as the film's chief baddie, who really steals the show with what might be the best performance in any Marvel movie, ever. Keaton's can't-look-away work is worth the price of admission all on its own. (For the record, on the subject of RDJ, Homecoming never feels like Iron Man 3.5, as the trailers sometimes promised/threatened.) Spider-Man: Homecoming features some really great CGI as well as some inexplicably wonky CGI. There are times when you'd believe Spidey was actually swinging through the sky above you, other times when he might as well be a Colorforms that someone's moving across the board by hand. (Does anyone remember Colorforms? Do I need to change that analogy?) Some of the worst of it comes at the expense of the climactic Staten Island Ferry scene hinted at in the trailers, which can't help but leave a bad taste. Also on the subject of visuals, even brighter scenes are a bit dark, leaving dark scenes too muddy to see much of anything. A bit of darkness is an understood side effect of seeing 3D product in 2D, but if a movie is showing in both formats, then filmmakers and cinemas really need to figure that out. Marvel's forced cheekiness is getting old as well; they're like that Facebook friend who's constantly posting the same duck-face selfie and expecting a hundred likes; it's just not as cute as it thinks it is, and the Stan Lee cameos are ho-hum, at best, these days. Ultimately, though, if you're wondering what makes this movie so disappointing, the answer is simple: It's boring. Homecoming is only slightly overlong (a 15-20 minute trim would have done it a great service), but it seems to go on forever without getting anywhere. The first half is insufferable, and the second act cruises towards its finale without ever gaining much momentum. Big action pieces are dropped between funny or heartfelt exchanges among Peter, his classmates, Aunt May* (*hottie version), and Tony Stark, but it's all too familiar and forgettable. There's a mid-credits scene that's worth your sticking around, but the final post-credits stinger is a waste of time that, again, isn't nearly as cute as it thinks it is.
Spider-Man: Homecoming runs an interminable 133 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sci-fi action violence, some language, and brief suggestive comments.”
If you're a fan of the genre who plans to see Spider-Man: Homecoming regardless, big-screen is definitely the way to go for this effects-driven extravaganza. If you're just looking to go to the movies this week, go see Baby Driver instead. (If you've already seen it, see it again.) Of a possible nine Weasleys, Spider-Man: Homecoming gets five.
Fangirl points: Mostly musical this time, with soundtrack appearances by the Ramones, The English Beat, and A Flock of Seagulls, as well as the classic Spider-Man theme. 
Also a cute nod to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Until next time... 

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