ketchuplord68’s review published on Letterboxd:
In the minority on this one for sure, but I kinda just don’t get it. I get it in the sense that this is impressive and inarguably cool animation. And I sorta understand that it’s also somewhat refreshing next to the typical superhero slog. I say sorta though because most of the things that annoy me about superhero movies, and that I see the same people complaining about, are still present here. Some of the fight scenes are overlong and lifeless and exhausting (did doc oc spend 30 mins mindlessly holding her own in a 1v5??). The first 45 minutes of expository bullshit seem mostly unnecessary, other than exhibiting that killer, comic inspired art. Which again, is often amazing, and if that’s what makes this you’re fave, okay. But I guess we have to see him in high school. And we have to see he’s just a normal kid. And he has to have that trite dad trouble because that’s the only way to get that emotional payoff in the end. But he really doesn’t, we’ve seen it before, and hell, we even saw it in this movie--- the 60 seconds Gwen got for her emotional history montage were just as, maybe even more, effective than anything with the father. Could just be me, but I was more emotional toward the way she said ‘best friend’ a few times later in the movie than anything in the father/son dynamic that took up so much time.
And that was kinda my problem, I feel like we didn’t get anywhere until the movie was just ending. It’s a sweet and important message, it really is. “Anyone can be a hero, anyone can be Spider-Man, I prove that.” These are more or less the final words of the film though, not the beginning. In my head I thought we knew that from the start, even if Miles didn’t. So even if he were to spend the majority of the film trying to prove his heroism to himself, the writers would know better and craft the world in such a way that we experience something more complex or an idea or character that moves past that simple truth. I understand it’s a children’s movie, that kid’s need to believe that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield aren’t the only kinds of hero. But how much more effective, and how much more interesting, of a film would it be if they started with Miles heroism, or at least potential heroism, as an undisputed fact. This young black latino kid can be a hero, it’s not up for debate. It’s not something he has to prove, and even if you’re worried, he’ll prove it anyway, doing heroic stuff throughout the movie, because, he is in fact, a superhero in a superhero movie. Maybe I’m speaking from a place of privilege, or being overly idealistic---that most non-white children really believe they don’t have the potential for heroism, and they need to see that struggle. I just think that’s bullshit. Even if we aren’t near past that place in regular American society, our art should aspire better. I don’t mean some idealistic completely un-prejudiced utopia, but just something that pushes past where we were 5 years ago, and actually challenges us. That might be asking too much, but also Black Panther did it 8 months ago.