So everyone’s of course talking about the latest greatest Marvel movie. Ah so many great videos that I haven’t been able to watch because oh boy are there some interesting things that I could spoil you on if you haven’t already run into them. The obligatory twist in the third act even managed to surprise my roommate, and he’s watched so much TV and so many movies that he knows every cliche set up no matter how anyone tries to disguise it.
First, in case you missed it or want to see it again, here’s the trailer to hype you up:
I may talk in spoilers. Just…a warning. I’ll try very hard to omit anything vital but if you don’t want anything at all ruined for you then, well, you probably aren’t reading this because you’ve probably avoided the trailers (which are always fair game discussion in these sorts of things) because you already know trailers always betray most of the most important parts of the movie anyway.
Let’s just start here: Tom Holland is Spider-Man. He’s perfect. I don’t know what he’s like in real life since I’ve never hung out with the guy, but his performance was equal parts dorky, innocent, hopeful, excitable…He’s a regular teenager. There’s still the trademarks – he’s unpopular, smart, on the ‘outskirts’ of the social sphere. Outskirts less in the sense of the cliques as defined by Mean Girls and more in the actual social sense of it. He’s dorky, but only one cheerleader ever seemed to have a problem with that. There was a guy who picked on him but that guy wasn’t really not dorky himself. Then there’s the popular girl Peter had a crush on who is both super popular and dreaming of winning the Academic Decathlon. Which was a great juxtaposition to what was going on in Peter’s life – while her biggest goal and idea for what constituted a secure future was winning a competition in high school. For most people that’s completely accurate, but put up along side Peter’s problems it seems so stupidly small.
I don’t know what high school was like in the 90s, which Mean Girls and all the others that came after it were raised on, but I do know for sure what High School was like around 2010. This is much more accurate. People are multi-dimensional, have lots of interests, and the rich kids tend to be the ones that get the most attention, but they aren’t all assholes. Or being a jerk isn’t their only trait. So, yeah, teenagers being humans was refreshing.
I also liked Tony. I definitely saw reviews where people lamented the excessive use of Iron Man but I thought that was a pretty good way of working it in. Or maybe I just like seeing Tony Stark act like a dad. I do love a good dad-like character (Stoick’s relationship with Hiccup is half the reason I watch How to Train Your Dragon at least once a year). He’s such a great mentor and it really builds on his arc over the previous movies.
Could they have made better use of him? Yeahh, they could have. He was also fully responsible for the second act conflict. Not to spoil anything but if he had literally just revealed slightly more information then the problem would have been mostly solved. The bad guys might still have gotten desperate enough to go for what became the grand finale and if Peter had known more in the second act then he might not have been there for the final act, but just as a person to person thing I had to stop myself from scolding Mr. Stark in the theater.
Yeah, I talk to movies. I try not to do it in the theater but at home I see nothing wrong with yelling at a stupid character for doing something stupid. Or a smart character for doing something kinda dumb. But also I can forgive Tony because that’s who he is in all the other movies he pops up in. Still. Some common sense there buddy. You’re talking to an overzealous teenager. ‘No’ is only going to make him want it more.
(And want it more he totally did. But you can see what came of that just by watching the trailer.)
Other things I’ve seen people take umbrage with:
- No spidey sense. Yeah, ok. Real spiders don’t have any super sense like that either. It’s a classic trait sure but it wasn’t really missed. Although your mileage on this one may vary depending on how make-or-break it that is for you. (And how much you like his high-tech Stark Industries spider suite.)
- Young Aunt May. Like, hot young Aunt May. I do love my sweet grandma Aunt May but from what I can tell her age has actually usually varied. She does seem more of an older sister/friend for Peter than a guardian at times, but when she’s being a guardian she’s a great one.
- A certain character’s skin color just because of her skin color. No, not the love interest. Those comments are just racist. Yes she’s usually white. So what. Plenty of not usually white characters were turned white for movies. The ‘strongest’ argument I’ve heard has been the ‘they just did it for the shock value’ and…that’s not a strong argument. That’s a stupid argument.
- That same certain character’s personality/actress. Now this I can understand better. My roommate doesn’t like the actress’ acting. K. The personality – yeah I can get that bugging people too. I liked her because she reminded me of someone I knew in high school. Like, to a T. Yeah the character direction they went in is just as over done as the damsel in distress was before. But she played it in a way that wasn’t as forced as it usually is. Then there’s also how she’s nothing like the pre-established character in any way, and if you like that character then yeah, that’s a very valid reason not to be excited. For me, it’s not really important. A name is a name. I like this girl. I want to see what happens with her.
- These movies are becoming like the comic books – you have to see all of them to get any of them individually. Seeing at least all the main Iron Man movies + Civil War will help you with Tony, but this isn’t Tony’s story. Everything that’s pertinent to Peter’s story gets recapped for you. Though I definitely think it was better for me because I’ve seen Civil War and all of Tony’s development throughout that. Oh, they do name drop the Avengers. Know who they are, I guess?
- No Spider-Man origin story. Do we really need that again?
- Peter loses a lot. Yeah. He’s fifteen. Fifteen year olds in general are at a disadvantage due to lack of life experience. He’s also new to super hero-ing. All the superheroes made mistakes when they first gave it a shot. And he’s just a kid.
A lot of reviews have been calling this the best Spider-Man movie yet. Yeah. I can agree with that. The writing is solid, the acting is solid, the casting is perfect, the character arcs were amazing. I already said this was the best Peter Parker we’ve had in movie form. The villains were deep and had multi-dimensions. They had a twist at the end that even managed to surprise my roommate. Nothing surprises my roommate. He almost always calls all twists or character arcs or what’s about to happen well in advance just because he’s so well versed in TV and movies. Of course, there are reasons he didn’t guess at the twist that are deeply rooted problems in American culture. But it still surprised him.
It wasn’t what I wanted though. I will say it was the best in all ways, I just…maybe it’s just me right now, and if I re-watch it at another time I’ll like it more. Through the first half of this movie, though, all I really wanted was to watch the super goofy 2002 movie again. I will not say that movie is better in any way, but right now that’s more the kind of movie I want to see. That does not mean this isn’t the greatest one. Just with everything going on in the world I kind of really want to see Spider-Man beat down on a stupid rich guy who’s only in it for the riches. This villain wasn’t in it just for the riches – he was in it because he felt beaten down by society and the government and like the superheroes weren’t actually out to save average people like him but also to take care of his family and give them a great life.
So maybe if I re-watch this movie at a different time I’ll be able to appreciate it more, but I can say I am kind of grateful we have the other ones too. Just in case we’re looking for a different kind of Spider-Man movie. Well, except for Spider-Man 3. That movie’s just total crap. Stupid emo Peter.
Actually I’m probably just going to watch How to Train Your Dragon now. Thanks a lot Tony Father-Figure Stark.
Oh, and I swear if there was one thing I took away from this movie it was that I would hate hate hate to buy car insurance there. They have got to have superhero damage insurance or something. So many cars were completely destroyed or otherwise lost to the ocean. Nooooo thank you. I can barely afford the part of a car I’m paying for now. Of course I have heard that owning a car in New York is a sign of richness? I always hear about how most people don’t have cars because it’s a complete waste of money. So maybe the average person that Peter accidentally screwed over is just normally rich enough for it to not be a big deal. Or maybe Tony had the cars salvaged and fixed, who knows.