William Thomas’s review published on Letterboxd:
Thank christ they changed the poster. I saw this again on Sunday, but promised not to log it again until they changed that horrendous sin against all graphic design.
That being said: Some thought from Sunday.
So, when I first saw this, I called it kind of all over the place, not only as a way of wrapping my mind around everything but also cause it's about traveling, haha how clever. Now that I've seen it a second time, I can hone in a little bit and say for sure that it's not only all over the place but is also actually kind of a mess? Especially in the first half, scenes just kind of start and end without cause or direction. Apart from some exposition or jokes, this is the case for a large majority of the scenes leading up to Mysterio's first appearance and even then there are still some scenes that have no real structure within themselves and edit together like an assembly cut. This isn't nearly as much of a problem in the second half of the film because there's some real momentum propelling the editing, but watching the first half of this film again is kind of rough. Kind of rough can also describe some of the effects throughout the whole movie. Despite how excellent most of it looks, sometimes a conversation between two characters just has some really poor rotoscoping and you can tell they're on a green-screen, which is even weirder considering how much they make fun of that exact problem during Betty and Jason's poorly produced news show. Also, the first time you see the Iron Spider suit it straight up looks like rubber.
This movie is also a perfect example of the difference between plot and story because while the underlying story, themes, arcs, characters and general growth of this film are some of my favorites in any Spider-Man film, the plot itself is just kind of a mess. Things just kind of happen and are strung together with either the barest explanation possible or really inconsistent continuity. Again, this is really only a problem in the first half of the film because once things start rolling the film becomes way more focused, it just makes me sad and makes me wish that the script was tighter, considering how well plotted Homecoming was. This movie has a pretty great story, but the execution of said story starts out very sloppy and doesn't really get started until Mysterio shows up.
All this being said: I adore this movie.
Being the shill that I am, I am 100% ready to overlook some presentational inconsistencies and deficiencies in favor of the good stuff that's here. Cause the good stuff is so so good. A list of the things I love:
- I love Mysterio. That's a given. I don't think big picture he's as good a villain as the Vulture, but for this movie and the story it's telling, he's perfect.
- I love Tom Holland's performance and how much he absolutely nails the anxiety of being Spider-Man, being Peter Parker and specifically being both.
-MJ and Peter is a thing I actually give a shit about and actively root for, which has not ever happened ever.
- MJ is fucking great.
- The abundant presence of carnival masks, pretending to be other people, facades and the general themes of lying to oneself and each other really struck a chord with me personally and I think are a great direction to take after Homecoming. Can't wait for him to have his John Wick reckoning of identity when Kraven the Hunter and Scorpion come for him in part 3.
- Have I mentioned Mysterio is really really good.
- The score is amazing and perfectly compliments the film every single time it shows up.
- The end credits song very well might be better than the entirety of the Guardians of the Galaxy licensed soundtrack. Fight me.
- The credits stingers are very fun
- Seeing Tom Holland cry makes me cry.
- The web-slinging and fight scenes in general might be some of the best designed, creatively implemented and coolest to witness outside of Spider-Verse.
- The Final Swing is perfect and I love that he's on his fucking phone like a dumbass because of course he is.
- I love this movie's vibe as a whole. It's goofy, it's anxious, it's nervous, it's joyous, it's deceitful, it's messy, it's hopeful and it is so much godamn fun.
I know these half-assed lists of things I like aren't very academic, but hey, my computer is about to die and I needed to get this out there. Also fuck man, this month has been hard, I need a movie and review that I can just kind of let myself slide for a 2 delightful hours before taking the plunge back into the nightmare.
I love Spider-Man. I love this movie even though it's not the best built thing in the world.