sPi­der-Man: hOMe­COM­ing

Vul­ture shock

SFX - - Contents - Dave Golder

Wealth and fame, he’s ig­nored… y’know, maybe Tom Hol­land needs a bet­ter agent.

re­leased 20 Novem­ber (Out now on down­load) 2017 | 12 | blu-ray (4K/stan­dard)/dvd/ down­load Di­rec­tor Jon Watts Cast Tom Hol­land, Zen­daya, laura Har­rier, michael Keaton

No­body wanted an­other Spi­der-Man re­boot un­til they got one… and then it all made ab­so­lute sense. This lat­est it­er­a­tion of Spi­der-Man is per­fect, a Spi­derMan pre­ci­sion-en­gi­neered for the MCU now that Sony’s al­low­ing Dis­ney to play with its toys (Marvel hav­ing sold the screen rights for Spidey to Sony decades back). Be­cause what­ever you think of the two Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man movies star­ring An­drew Garfield, his Spidey was not what the MCU needed, not least be­cause he was too old for the part.

Marvel wanted a Spidey closer to the one Stan Lee cre­ated back in 1962 – a young teen, not a young adult, strug­gling with school life as much as su­pervil­lains. That’s what they’ve given us. Tom Hol­land’s wide-eyed, ex­u­ber­ant Peter Parker/Spi­der-Man is not some angsty X-youth moan­ing about their pow­ers be­ing a curse. He’s the kid who’s rel­ish­ing his pow­ers, who can’t wait for the school bell to ring so he can get swing­ing. It’s a bril­liant piece of cast­ing – as cru­cial as Marvel’s mas­ter­stroke of mak­ing Robert Downey Jr Tony Stark. He to­tally in­hab­its the role, with shy-boy charisma and a lithe phys­i­cal­ity, si­mul­ta­ne­ously gawky and ath­letic. There will, no doubt, be an on­go­ing de­bate about whether Hol­land or Maguire is the best Spi­der-Man (sorry Garfield…) but the truth is they’re both ex­cel­lent in dif­fer­ent ways.

Whether Home­com­ing is a bet­ter Spi­der-Man film than the first two Sam Raimi films is a trick­ier ques­tion. It’s cer­tainly hugely en­ter­tain­ing. Once again, Marvel has cre­ated a hy­brid, merg­ing the su­per­hero genre with the high school movie; it’s no co­in­ci­dence that Home­com­ing riffs on Fer­ris Bueller’s Day Off at one point, and there are other mo­ments when it’s pure John Hughes. All the main teen char­ac­ters im­press (es­pe­cially Zen­daya’s MJ, clearly chan­nelling Ally Sheedy’s moody mis­fit Al­li­son in The Break­fast Club) and the cast is pleas­ingly di­verse.

It’s also a movie that re­veals a new view­point on the MCU. Home­com­ing gives a real sense of what it’s like to be nor­mal peo­ple liv­ing in a world of su­per­heroes. That comes not just from the kids but from Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, the MCU’s an­swer to Wal­ter White – a blue col­lar worker, shafted by the au­thor­i­ties, who be­comes a su­pervil­lain to pro­vide for his fam­ily. For once, the Big Bad isn’t the weak­est link in a Marvel movie, with Keaton turn­ing in a com­pelling and be­liev­able per­for­mance. Home­com­ing’s cameos from ex­ist­ing MCU char­ac­ters also sup­port rather than over­power the film; Downey Jr’s Stark hasn’t been this like­able since the first Iron Man film.

There are prob­lems. Peter’s best bud Ned is a fan­tas­tic char­ac­ter, but did he have to be­come yet an­other MCU techie ge­nius, hack­ing into Stark sys­tems with ease? The big Vul­ture/Spidey show­down at the end is a let­down

Peter isn’t angsty – he’s the kid who’s rel­ish­ing his pow­ers

– nei­ther visu­ally spec­tac­u­lar nor emo­tion­ally en­gag­ing – while the ear­lier Staten Is­land Ferry ac­tion se­quence stretches credulity too far for this movie. Thank­fully,

Home­com­ing is a su­per­hero film in which the ac­tion re­ally does play sec­ond fid­dle to the hu­man, or su­per­hu­man, story. This Spi­der-Man truly is amaz­ing.

Ex­tras An en­joy­able if a lit­tle light range of ex­tras. The deleted scenes (16 min­utes) con­tain some pleas­ant sur­prises. Along­side seven trad deleted clips, there’s also an ex­tended ver­sion of the vlog Peter Parker makes at the start of the film (six min­utes), a hi­lar­i­ous three-minute Mid­town High News bul­letin and a whole new doomed ro­mance sub­plot for teacher Mr Hen­der­son, edited into a two-minute mon­tage. The gag reel is short but sweet (two min­utes) and there’s a fun fea­ture with Tom Hol­land and Ja­cob Bat­alon dis­cussing “Pros And Cons of Spi­der-Man” (three min­utes) in which Hol­land agrees with what Tobey Maguire’s Spi­der-Man said in his sec­ond film – the cos­tume does chafe.

The six mak­ing-of fea­turettes – “A Tan­gled Web” (six min­utes), “Search­ing For Spi­der-Man” (eight min­utes), “Spidey Stunts” (six min­utes), “Af­ter­math” (five min­utes), “The Vul­ture Takes Flight” (six min­utes) and “Jon Watts: Head Of The Class” (five min­utes) – are full of en­thu­si­as­tic talk­ing heads in­ter­views and great be­hind-the-scenes footage, but they’re all very brief and a tad fluffy. It’s in­ter­est­ing to learn just how of­ten Tom Hol­land (and not his dou­ble) was in­side the suit do­ing his own stunts, but there are too many “he/she was per­fect for the role/job!” sound­bites and not enough real anal­y­sis of how ev­ery­thing came to­gether (es­pe­cially re­gard­ing the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Sony and Dis­ney). You also get com­plete ver­sions of the Cap­tain Amer­ica PSAs, and a gallery.

Prin­ci­pal Morita is the grand­son of The First Avenger’s Howl­ing Com­mando Jim Morita – also played by Ken­neth Choi.

He didn’t think his new fit­ness class would be this hard.

Don’t leave Spi­der-Man in your home unat­tended.

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