Tuesday, August 01, 2017
Based on the Marvel comics series by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the story of Peter Parker dealing with his life in high school as he’s part of a decathlon team while trying to learn the ropes in being a superhero as he faces off against a mysterious enemy who has a grudge against towards Tony Stark. Directed by Jon Watts and screenplay by Watts, Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers from a screen story by Goldstein and Daley. The film is an exploration of Peter Parker trying to be Spider-Man due to the new suit he’s given created by Tony Stark as he also deal with the bad guys as Parker/Spider-Man is played by Tom Holland and Stark/Iron Man is played by Robert Downey Jr. Also starring Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Angourie Rice, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Donald Glover, Jon Favreau, and Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture. Spider-Man: Homecoming is an exhilarating yet whimsical film from Jon Watts.
Set two months after working with Tony Stark in dealing with Captain America, Peter Parker deals with a new enemy while trying to be a regular kid as he struggles to balance his role as himself and Spider-Man. It’s a film with a simple story as it shows Parker adjusting to the new suit he’s given created by Stark as he wants to be part of Stark’s inner circle and hopefully become part of the Avengers. Yet, he would encounter a series of strange events involving a man named Adrian Toomes who lost his job in collecting scraps for money as he seeks revenge on Stark by stealing the Chitauri technology that happened during the Avengers’ first battle with them some years ago. The film’s screenplay doesn’t just explore Parker trying to maintain his identity a secret but also wanting to find out more about these arm deals as he tries to contact Stark and Stark’s longtime assistant Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) about his discoveries.
The screenplay doesn’t just explore Parker trying to balance that life of superhero and as a normal teenager being part of the school’s decathlon team. It’s a script that also explore growing pains as Parker is eager to prove to Stark that he can be part of the Avengers but he’s only a 15-year old sophomore that is dealing with all of the things in high school. The only other person that knows his identity as Spider-Man via accident is his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) who would keep asking questions but also would make some discoveries of the suit. Much of the film’s first act is about Parker trying to prove his worth in his discovery of the weapons deal and his first encounter with Toomes’ secret identity in Vulture. There are also these little moments of Parker dealing with high school life as he’s falling for the popular senior Liz (Laura Harrier) as well as bearing the verbal humiliations of the popular nerd Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) and witty comments of Michelle (Zendaya). At the same time, Parker is trying to keep his identity a secret from his aunt May (Marisa Tomei) whom he really cares for and doesn’t want to stress her out.
The film’s second act involves Parker learning more about the Chitauri technology he found during an encounter with some of Toomes’ henchmen as well as Parker attending the national decathlon in Washington D.C. These moments in the second act play into Parker’s development as a character as someone who is very eager to get into these dangerous moments as it can be overwhelming as Stark is constantly watching him in the hope that Parker does better. The film’s antagonist in Toomes isn’t a conventional villain but someone who feels slighted by the system during a prologue where he loses his job as he makes his own discoveries of the Chitauri technology for his own usage. All of what he does is to provide for his own family and he sees Spider-Man and Stark as threats that need to be eliminated.
Jon Watts’ direction definitely has some elements of style as it owe a lot to some of the cinematic style and humor of John Hughes but it also play into the ideas of modern-day society. Shot mainly in Atlanta as the Queens borough in New York City with some shots set in New York City, Washington D.C., and Berlin. The film does play into Parker’s own excitement into being a superhero which starts with this opening sequence of him documenting everything including the events before he was to face Captain America. Yet, Watts would keep the film grounded in reality as it has Parker just trying to explore his new powers through the suit Stark has designed for him as Watts explore the mistakes that Parker would do as it has this very natural approach to the humor. While Watts would use some wide shots for some of the locations, he would favor more intimate shots in the close-ups and medium shots to play into Parker trying to be just a regular kid as it include some comical moments as well as a few dramatic moments.
The direction has Watts create some intense moments involving the action that includes this massive set piece in a ferry where Spider-Man battles the Vulture and gets himself into trouble where it is an ode to films of the past but also become this key moment that would make Parker realize how over his head he’s in. It has Watts maintain some grounding into the growing pains that Parker is dealing with where as much as he wants to be a superhero, save the world, and do good. He’s still a young kid with so much going for him as he also needs time to be a kid as it’s something he needs to fight for against someone like Toomes/Vulture who has his own reasons to fight which is for the well-being of his family. Overall, Watts creates a fun yet engaging film about a young kid becoming a superhero and learn what it means to be one.
Cinematographer Salvatore Tino does excellent work with the film’s cinematography as it has a lot of gorgeous colors for many of the locations in the daytime with unique lighting moods for the scenes at Toomes’ workshop. Editors Dan Lebental and Debbie Berman do fantastic work with the editing with its usage of jump-cuts, montages, and other stylish cuts to play into the action and humor. Production designer Oliver Scholl, with supervising art director Brad Ricker plus set decorators Lauri Gaffin and Gene Serdena, does superb work with the look of Toomes’ workshop as well as the interior of the schools and some of the places Parker goes to. Costume designer Louise Frogley does brilliant work with the look of the Spider-Man suit as well as the clothes Parker wears casually as well as the clothes of his classmates.
Visual effects supervisors Theodore Bialek, Doug Spilatro, and Dominik Zimmerle do amazing work with the visual effects from the way Spider-Man would use his webs to move around or the way some of his tech would appear as well as some of the scenes involving Vulture. Sound editor Steve Ticknor, with sound designers Tony Lamberti and Eric A. Norris, does terrific work with the sound in capturing some of the atmosphere of the few parties that Parker goes to as well as some of the massive action sequences at the Washington monument and in the film’s climax. The film’s music by Michael Giacchino is great as it features this soaring orchestral score that plays into the action and humor with some very melodic themes while music supervisor Dave Jordan provides a fun soundtrack with music from the Rolling Stones, Spoon, the Ramones, the English Beat, Yello, A Flock of Seagulls, Traffic, and a few other tracks from hip-hop, EDM, and indie artists.
The casting by Sarah Finn is incredible as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Kerry Condon as the voice of Iron Man’s AI F.R.I.D.A.Y., Jennifer Connelly as the voice of the A.I. in Spider-Man’s suit, Garcelle Beauvais as Liz’s mother, Hemky Madera as a local bodega owner that Parker knows, Logan Marshall-Green as a henchman of Toomes, Martin Starr as the decathlon coach/teacher, Hannibal Burress as the school gym teacher, Kenneth Choi as the school principal, Angourie Rice as the school news reporter Betty Brant, Tiffany Espensen as one of Parker’s decathlon teammates in Tiffany, Bokeem Woodbine as a henchman of Toomes in Herman Schultz who would also be known as Shocker, and Tyne Daly as a U.S. department head for damage control who would ruin Toomes’ life. Tony Revolori is terrific as Parker’s high-school nemesis Flash Thompson as he’s this rich nerd that likes to verbally humiliate Parker as he is quite funny while Laura Harrier is wonderful in a somewhat underwritten role as Parker’s love interest Liz who is baffled by why Parker never shows up for things.
Donald Glover is superb as the criminal Aaron Davis as a guy trying to buy the weapons Toomes is selling as he realizes something isn’t right where he would provide some information to Spider-Man later on. Zendaya is fantastic as Michelle as a classmate of Parker who is this quiet observer that makes some very snarky comments as she provides a lot of the film’s funnier moments. Jacob Batalon is excellent as Ned as Parker’s best friend who is one of the few people that knows about Parker’s identity as Spider-Man as he provides some funny moments as well as be useful for the film’s third act. Jon Favreau is brilliant as Happy Hogan as Stark’s bodyguard who watches over Parker as he is annoyed by Parker calling him for any special assignments. Marisa Tomei is amazing as May Parker as Peter’s aunt who is wondering what her nephew is doing as well as helping him with some of his growing pains.
Robert Downey Jr. is marvelous as Tony Stark/Iron Man as Parker’s mentor who is trying to make sure that Parker is being responsible as he’s dealing with his own things as he knows when he has to step to lecture Parker. Michael Keaton is remarkable as Adrian Toomes/Vulture as a scrap-metal collector who loses his job due to Stark as he would steal and use Chitauri technology to create weapons as a way to give himself and his family the life they wanted as it’s a role with some charm as Keaton doesn’t make him a total villain but someone that is determined to do whatever to protect his family. Finally, there’s Tom Holland in a phenomenal role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man as a 15-year old kid that is trying to deal with the gifts he’s given as well as try to be a normal kid as Holland has this air of exuberance and humility that provides the right balance to play both Parker and Spider-Man in making him vulnerable but also provide the maturity he would gain later on in becoming the superhero.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a sensational film from Jon Watts that features great performances from Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, and Robert Downey Jr. Along with its amazing ensemble supporting cast, thrilling action sequences, and the need to not take itself seriously or rehash anything previous films about the character that audiences already knew. It’s a film that knows what it needed to do while providing something fresh to the beloved character in a setting that isn’t explored and have fun with it. In the end, Spider-Man: Homecoming is an incredible film from Jon Watts.
Jon Watts Films: (Clown (2014 film)) – Cop Car
Spider-Man Films: Spider-Man - Spider-Man 2 - Spider-Man 3 - The Amazing Spider-Man - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One: Iron Man - The Incredible Hulk - Iron Man 2 - Thor - Captain America: The First Avenger - The Avengers
Phase Two: Iron Man 3 - Thor: The Dark World - Thor: The Dark World - Guardians of the Galaxy - The Avengers: Age of Ultron - Ant-Man
Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War - Doctor Strange - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Thor: Ragnarok - Black Panther - Avengers: Infinity War - Ant-Man & the Wasp - (Captain Marvel) - (The Avengers: Endgame )
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