Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming ★½

Future audiences will enjoy comparing Watts' to Raimi's Spider-Man in order to tell of a shift in the 'everyperson' that occurs as the twentieth century recedes from view: in Raimi every plot-point is a conflict of competing private, public, interpersonal, romantic, familial desires and obligations, where in Watts, Peter Parker enjoys a dubious 'internship' at a tech and weapons firm that unmoors him from any semblance of a personal or professional commitment, and has him actively looking for something in the world to fight back. He is like a bored twee Batman who finds less intrinsic satisfaction in beating petty criminals and instead uses violence as a cry for recognition from his new absentee father/employer, Tony Stark. This origin without origin amounts to an exercise in apathy that at once revels in its peripheral status (serving as well to canonise the central Avengers in its world and ours) and underscores the oppressive weightlessness of existence as a billionaire-endorsed vigilante flaneur. It's depressing because the world feels lonely — there are no fewer extras and minor characters than in any film of its type (in fact there may be even more than usual), it's just that they don't matter and neither does Peter Parker. Rather than being on the ground, his being is eliminated by the very nonexistence of the ground he stands on and (he says, apropos of nothing) for.

Raimi's melodrama might have been sometimes too tightly wound but do we need space as an empty placeholder of human-life, humans as empty placeholders of an absent internal life, and cinema as will-annihilating late game ennui? Peter talking to Tony Stark's suit and not realising that he's not in it is the movie as a microcosm: nobody in this is real, and neoliberal Peter Parker is not Peter Parker, or a person, or anything.

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