And not it’s time for our second Versus Review of popular films that deserve not just one but TWO reviewers’ opinions for your reading. The chosen film this time is Spiderman, our friendly neighbour who has been remade into a film three times. Everyone will, of course, remember the first series by Sam Raimi, which kinds of kickstarts the superhero movie franchise. Then comes The Amazing Spiderman, the second remake featuring Andrew Garfield, and Sony decides to incorporate the series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for more $$ and we are here to see if their effort has truly paid off.
Spider-Man: Homecoming features an all new actor to portray the red-suited Spiderman, Tom Holland. The story undergoes some changes to merge the Marvel world into his world, thus Stark Corporation is now set in the same city as Spiderman. With two remakes in the past, could this incarnation perhaps be the best among them? Find out below!
(scoreboard reviews will be displayed at the end of this post for summary purposes)
The story continues months after the events in Captain America: Civil War, where a group of salvage company staffs is being sanctioned off the task of collecting alien wreckages by the government. They then began to use some of the stolen leftovers to build weapons and sell them in the black market. Meanwhile, Peter Parker continues to his student life after the disputes between the superheroes. However, the peaceful times do not last long when he senses danger in the city.
This feels like another safe, formulaic Marvel film, meaning that it is an entirely enjoyable experience but it does not really have that extra hook, that “X” factor to really blow audiences away.
The story is a very character-driven one focusing heavily on Peter/Spidey and his journey to become Spider “man” as he is still very much an inexperienced kid. It is a coming-of-age type film and we see him face issues that normal teenager faces, girls, spidey, studies etc. With these issues as the Peter part of the storySpideypart of the plot is a bit of a detective story as he gets involved with the vulture’s gang. His 2 lives slowly get inextricably intertwined and we see him struggle to juggle his time between the 2. There are not that many action scenes to be honest but the slower normal life moments seek to endear us to the character of Peter Parker and it pays off, making us even more emotionally invested in the character during some tense moments.
The story does not really follow the comic as faithfully and does not depict the sad past of Peter Parker much. Rather, its opening begins with the continuation of Captain America’s story and things just pick up from there. I would say it starts off nicely with the introduction of villains right at the beginning, while it takes its time letting us get accustomed to this new Spiderman world. We are shown the life of Peter Parker as a normal student doing normal things, but the film spices it up with the inclusion of actions scenes when the bad guys appear. I also love the fact the film builds up Peter Parker from his inexperienced stage to the end where he becomes a much stronger man befitting the title of Spiderman.
Major MAJOR props to Tom Holland for his spot on portrayal of not just Peter Parker or Spidey but doing them both justice. He is, in my opinion, the most comic accurate actor so far. No disrespect to his predecessors but I always felt they only nailed one but not the other and it could very well be due to the script and not individual acting talent.
The second main character is actually the Vulture and it is a treat to watch Michael Keaton play this almost sociopathic villain. He is also I believe one of the most fleshed out villains in the MCU. Of course RDJ as Tony Stark appears here and there and as usual, he’s fantastic and so fun to watch.
However, the large cast of side characters in Peter’s life, his aunt and his friends at school are left feeling largely neglected as the main focus of the film really is Peter/Spidey.
Characters are aplenty but surprisingly, most of them don’t make us feel they are extras or lack of personalities. Tom Holland, for one, portrays a Spiderman that is different from his previous incarnations, and he does it in such a natural way. The new Peter Parker truly starts off young with such naivety and recklessness not seen in previous remakes. Many of his bad traits are shown but there is also a sense of growth in the character as well. Tony Stark is of course always the same guy with a coolness that combines with a bit of ‘assholeness’. The villain, though, I felt is a bit weak in his motivation, but the actor Michael Keaton pulls it off by giving Vulture a strong personality that is quite memorable. Ned, Peter Parker’s best friend is there for the joke, but he also is full of personality that makes the scene interesting. Ironically, it is the Captain America which leaves the strongest impression for a non-main character LOL
I felt they were pretty alright and it is an absolute treat to see Spidey in motion. It genuinely feels like he’s having fun during the more lighthearted sequence but when the more tense sequence comes you really start to feel for him as he struggles to get back up after getting absolutely trashed. I did kind of feel like Spidey was portrayed as not having his signature spider sense in the movie though, so what is up with that?
The quality of action sequences in this film is pretty high. There is definitely great choreography in parts where Spiderman tries to rescue people from danger. They are awesome and makes Spiderman bad-ass, even when the character himself is unsure of it. Weirdly, the spider sense is gone from the original series, and I felt the movie now relies more on machinery than pure special power, which is a bit of a bummer.
I think most of the music totally fits the movie quite well. Special shoutout to that remix of the classic Spiderman theme that opens the movie though. Goosebumps, just goosebumps.
The opening that features the remix of the original Spiderman theme just brings me back, and it hits me hard! They definitely picked the right song for the opening and I salute them. As for the rest, some of them are pretty good, but some are quite forgettable sadly.
Is this remake better than the last two remakes?
This is a genuinely tough question. I have been a fan of the character of Spiderman ever since I was a kid. It is only recently after I started reading comics that I started to kind of get turned off from the character.The current Spiderman run has some great arcs but it has been very on and off for me especially after he becomes CEO of his own company. Getting back to the topic at home I was practically still a kid when I watched the Raimi trilogy and was still very much a casual moviegoer when watching the 2 amazing films but even now I will say that there are a lot of aspects that I still like about the mess that was the amazing spiderman 2.
It is honestly hard to compare them because in my opinion although they all Spiderman films, tonally and plot-wise they actually feel like very different films, each having their own distinct strengths. However, I still feel that the best Spiderman movie would be Raimi’s second film.
I am writing this after rewatching Raimi’s first 2 films and I have to say Spiderman 2 just has everything man. The CGI even now is relatively well done and does not pull you out of the illusion. The characters and their emotional moments my god, they are really well developed but I will say that they only hit so strong because they have been developing these characters since the first film. The pacing is pretty great too and is not bogged down by the first film’s need to be an origin story.
To be very honest, I felt that Spider-Man Homecoming is a really great remake that takes things from a different perspective using a refreshing approach. It is better than The Amazing Spiderman series, that I will say, as this film incorporates that film’s sense of curiosity and recklessness combined with a new naivety, innocence and an equally strong sense of pure justice. The Peter Parker in this version is the youngest out of all three and it gives a new look at how this boy will keep growing to become the Spiderman we admired. There is a sense of journey and also the naturalness of the acting that makes me drawn into their world and get attached to the new Peter Parker. He reminds me of my childhood where I would feel the exact same sentiment as him being powerful enough to be a superhero but not regarded as one.
With that said, I still feel the original trilogy by Sam Raimi is still the best among the three. Firstly, it features much more emotional moments that hit you deep. The original shows us the meaning of “With Great power comes Great Responsibility” through the death of Uncle Ben. We are shown a Spiderman who learns to use his power for justice after suffering from such a massive loss in his life. Also, the original Spiderman feels more real, as he depends on his own superpower like Spider Sense and is actually shooting his own web. The new Peter Parker in this film depends too much on gadgets and the new suits and does not even feature Spider Sense, which is a huge missing critical piece in my opinion. True, the film tries to show that Peter Parker needs to let go of his dependence of the suit in order to get stronger, but it still doesn’t contain as much true emotional moments. Even the villains in the original are slightly better with a stronger motive for evil. However, I will keep watching the next sequel and would not hastily assume that the original series is still the best as I had only watched the first movie of this new series remakes. Who knows, perhaps this new Peter Parker can grow and surpass his predecessors!