Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming ★★★

Twenty -- no, maybe ten -- minutes into Homecoming it dawned on me: we're all so fucking doomed. As moviegoers, we're really going to be feasting on superhero movies for years and years and years until we collectively keel over. We will go, long before the genre does, as long as studios can keep pumping out hits like Spider-Man Homecoming or Logan each year for every massive flop they make like with a Suicide Squad or Fantastic Four. And Marvel more than any of these studios - even in co-production form here - are the operators of our demise, because they keep getting more efficient at making these pleasant, passively entertaining films, even as we enter the second reboot and third Spider-Man franchise in fifteen years. The complaint that their movies are not director-driven enough, too, is slowly losing its critical edge, as they improve on that front by bringing in guys like Jon Watts, Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler who can breathe enough life into a film without overwhelming the brand.

Homecoming, like most every other superhero movie, is unable to distinguish itself from the pack for too long, inevitably conforming to the standard affairs of the genre, which mostly means having a cluttered, eye-rollingly unwatchable action set-piece climax. In these moments, you're reminded what you're watching is so deliberately calibrated and predictable, you wonder why you even bothered to show up.

On the other hand, Homecoming is a down-to-earth, enjoyable depictions of modern high-school, so it's hard to leave the theatre too upset. I mean, it is upsetting one of these movies can't commit to the smaller confines for longer, for once. Especially a Spider-Man movie where one of the recurring themes is the importance being the friendly neighbourhood crime-fighter. The best part of Homecoming is easily a small sequence of Tom Holland running around Queens thwarting non-crimes. The movie molds its villain in this manner too, basically a small-business owner whose neutered by the wider universe inadvertently crashing down upon him, and in that sense, I think Michael Keaton's Vulture winds up being the most relatable villain from any of these movie. So it's a shame, therefore, that we get more Happy Hogan because, with the way Homecoming - like most Spider-Man movies - merges its villain and hero through personal circumstance, Vulture's own conflict is never satisfyingly explored or resolved. I was still left wondering more about who this guy really was beyond the broad-strokes, and in a 133-minute movie, that kind of sucks. I appreciate that, the way Homecoming references the wider MCU, it is mostly through mocking it (Captain America particular is never more likeable than he is here) but I wish the focus remained smaller, tighter and more confined. Donald Glover and Michael Mando have maybe time minutes of screen time that I wish was fleshed out more. The local crooks and villainy are so much more interesting than the usual Avengers stuff, which didn't need to be there beyond the opening prologue.

I wish this wasn't so enjoyable though, because it means we're only getting more, and unlike Captain America, I don't have patience.

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