ChristopherLamb’s review published on Letterboxd:
With my 4th viewing, I think the dust has finally settled and my feelings of this film are set.
When this movie takes itself seriously and leans into its drama, I absolutely love this movie. Tony’s confrontation with Peter and taking his suit followed by the talk with Aunt May. And then basically the Tombs reveal through the end is incredible. I love how even at my fourth viewing I’m still caught off guard when he opens the door. It is so wonderfully edited that you’re so caught up in this lul point of him being a normal kid and they brilliantly have little build up to him going to the door and then BOOM. They slap you in the face with it.
The car scene is still probably one of the best villain moments in the MCU, and everything with him leaving homecoming, Ned being the guy in the chair, the warehouse scene, and capped off with the indelible and visceral scene of him buried and lifting the building off himself. Muah 😘👌🏼
Then Holland who is absolutely stellar in this. I’m blown away by it every time. He plays every facet of Peter perfectly and while I wish the direction was less comedic foe him overall, I think he realizes both Peter Parker, and Spider-Man individually better than either McGuire or Garfield (whom I both really liked in the roles too).
But then there’s the other side. I don’t want to be lazy and just blame it on the MCU-isms but the pattern is there. This movie aims to be a comedy first, which is fine but only if the jokes land. The sheer amount of attempts of comedy is overwhelming and it doesn’t work for me. There’s such little build up, nuance or cadence to the humor. It feels like they are just throwing jokes at the wall and hoping it sticks or that there’s some type of joke quota they need to meet per minute.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be comedy. Just more balanced and having a balanced amount of types of characters rather than trying to make every character be a source of comedy. Peter, Tony, Aunt May, Ned, Flash, MJ, basically every classmate of Peter’s, both main teachers, and Happy are all MAJOR sources of comedy and it’s just overwhelming. Even Glover’s big scene who’s character is dry and serious is all comedy. It doesn’t relent until the boat scene. Then the last third once the reveal happens it’s way more balanced for me.
To be fair, the first time through I loved the movie and the jokes didn’t bother me, but the more I watch the more the comedy doesn’t land and it feels like a detraction from the main narrative and themes.
I’m also still not a fan of the suit. The high tech iron man head display suit with different modes. I get they wanted to distinguish Spidey from the other iterations, but I just prefer him being a self made Spider-Man with a high tech suit that feels a little too CGI to me at times.
The other main issue I have is the score, which is such a big factor in the soul of a movie and how it viscerally resonated with me. I’ve mentioned this in other reviews but minus his spy-based scores like The Incredibles and Mission Impossible, Im not a fan of Michael Giocchino’s work.
I know most rave about him, but he is one of my least favorites and this is a big example of my aversion. I find it completely devoid of individuality. It sounds so cookie cutter in super-hero composition, instrumentation, and production (which to be fair might not be his fault.) There’s no body or power behind it. The themes are bland and forgettable. It almost sounds like generic filler scores for editing purposes. So yea that takes me out a lot of this one.
This review was way more critical then I wish it sounded. I think I just get frustrated because like Tarantino once said it’s so good it makes me mad it’s not great.
The best part of this movie is the drama and the story underneath everything. But it’s put on the back burner for the comedy. Tombs and Peter’s dynamic is incredible but I wish it was more of a focal point of the movie.
I wish the MCU had the gall to not have to be a comedy. Its held back so many of their movies from being fully realized and standing in their own identity and not the MCU’s identity. For some characters it works. Ant-man. Tony. Guardians. and even Thor: Ragnarok worked better as comedies. This one (as well as Captain Marvel I feel would’ve been better if they leaned more drama
I just feel like the scales between comedy and drama. Levity and seriousness. Isn’t balanced. The practical v CG effects aren’t in balance.
But this movie is still really really good. And I really like it. But I’m probably in the minority that I’m hoping come December after the trilogy we find out they use this multiverse stuff to end Spider-Man’s part in the MCU and Sony takes him back. I want Tom Holland to have his own spider-verse detached from the limitations of the MCU. I’m hoping they can develop their own unique direction for him both in style and in narrative.
Mainly I just want more variety in this genre again.