Spider-Man: Homecoming – Review

The MCU continues unrelenting, with it, Marvel open their arms and welcome into the fold a name that faces few equals: Spider-Man. Despite two solid showing as Andrew Garfield’s Amazing variant, Sony decided if you can’t beat them, sell back some rights and take a cut of the profits.

For Marvel’s part, they decided the best way to keep those profits high was to not deviate from what has worked before. This doesn’t mean a rehash of former Spider-Man movies. Oh no, not at all. It means shoehorning Peter Parker into the MCU by stripping away his uniqueness.

This is where two opinions on this latest film will tail off from one another.

If you love all things MCU, then you won’t mind this alternative direction for Spidey. If you hold Spider-Man dear to your heart, brace yourself for an onscreen character assassination.

This isn’t the Spider-Man many grew up with. There’s no driving motive behind his foray into fighting crime. He isn’t burdened by loss in the family. He isn’t crooning over Mary Jane (she’s here, hiding in plain sight, but for now, he half-fancies a girl called Liz). There’s no such thing as a Spidey Sense and his best mate isn’t going to become the Green Goblin.

So, what do we have instead?

A boy that was bitten by a spider (he briefly tells his buddy this, no origin drama to deal with) who can walk on walls and ceilings. That’s it. The Spider-Man suit is actually a Tony Stark design, complete with visual/audio guidance.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has turned Spider-Man into Iron Man Jr.

Such is the simplicity – and deceit of the true nature of the character – the plot and film remains decidedly average. Generic set plays on peril, and a villain – played by the excellent but left with little to explore, Michael Keaton – whose integrity and overall threat is undermined by Iron Man existing in this world.

There is hope Keaton can reprise his role as Vulture in later films, and the way he was a property salvager working on the post-Avengers New York debris, able to come across alien tech but put out of business by Stark and the authorities, is the sort of loose tie-in the film benefits from.

However, the overbearing MCU connections even kill this element.

There are good interactions between Jacob Batalon’s turn as a Ned and Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. The identity of Spider-Man is accidently revealed to Parker’s geeky best pal, adding a fresh element but this should be the unseen cement in the movie, not a standout plus.

This could be the moment Marvel jumps the shark on the big screen. From the Captain America school videos during classes to the Stark created Spider-Man. It’s too cheesy, too much comic book for the screen. And not the best sort of comic book. It’s the dated, outmoded variant most haven’t lifted from a shelf in years.

Marvel are either on a collision course with creativity or cleverly tapping into a dumbed down audience. Either way, it makes for a very average Homecoming for the character that should be the jewel in Marvel’s crown.


(P.S. Don’t stay to the final end credits scene, it’s a lame joke and offers no insight or progression to future MCU stories.)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Review

Finally, the gloves are off and we get the big showdown. Not the fight between Supes and The Bat. This is the start of DC v Marvel. And the early reaction hasn’t been good for Kent or Wayne.

The problem affecting Batman v Superman is this exterior pressure. Because the Marvel movies have been such a success everyone expects all superhero films to follow this formula. Well, this movie doesn’t. It follows the Zack Snyder method.

So if you’re reading this wondering whether Batman v Superman is for you, just ask yourself: Did you enjoy Man of Steel and Watchmen? If you did, you’ll love this. If you didn’t, then wait for other productions in the DC Extended Universe (not made by Snyder) before jumping in.

Personally, I don’t mind at bit of Snyder action. To put this into context, and give an idea of where this movie sits, it surpasses Man of Steel in terms of ambition but isn’t as tightly told overall. It is better than Avengers: Age of Ultron and the two Iron Man sequels. So the Marvel fanboys taunting DC should get their own house in order first.

The movie gives us a good Batman. Yes, Batfleck actually works. All that fan hatred has been channelled in a fitting angst. His plot is well laid out and worthy of its own flick. That’s part of the problem with the film – it’s too crammed.

Bruce Wayne is on a mission to steal info from Lex Luthor in order to locate, what turns out to be, a transport ship. This ties him back into the larger scheme of things. On his way he briefly meets Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) and decides that Superman is a dangerous threat that he intends to take out.

Everyone else has their doubts about the Man of Steel too. Reviews and courts are being convened and he’s not helping matters by swooping to rescue Lois in Africa which results in villagers being gunned down.

Batman is the vigilante in the dark, mostly under the radar except for the tabloid press. Superman is the outlaw causing government debate.

So far so good. All the ingredients are there for a great final act. Instead it kind of all gets lost in the mix. By the credits it feels more of a relief than a jubilant celebration. DC isn’t trying to be “fun” like Marvel but it does lack any trace of humour.

You can make your own though. For example, one of the cops in a scene where Batman is hiding in the corner of an unlit room, sounds exactly like Alexander Knox from 1989’s Batman. He was barrel of laughs (honest).

Or during the preview of Cyborg (a character that will form part of the Justice League) you see that the scientist handling his human remains and the technology that attaches to him is none other than Terminator 2’s Miles Dyson. We all know how well that ends when he meddles with cyborgs.

Mixed reviews aside, Batman v Superman is on course to make a ton of money. The safe bet is Warner Bros. will hope Suicide Squad gets strong feedback and they can carry on with their phase one plans.

They should include a Batman film, sharpish. And maybe leave Superman in the dark place he finds himself. He’s about as popular as Zack Snyder right now.

Score: 7/10