Spiderman Home-Coming, Or Spiderboy Home-Working

 

By Director Z / Tatenda Mbudzi

Disclaimer: the following reviews, opinions will be extremely biased. BUT also come from a place of empathy, as the writer is a writer/director actor, and no-one ever sets out to make bad film. In most cases. PLUS the author has worked at a bunch of Hollywood Studios long enough to understand, love and simultaneously hate the miracle of modern filmmaking.   

Came home! From like, the CIVIL WAR movie! Or should I say the CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, TV show – that ironically started to feel like a movie the moment SPIDERMAN was introduced.

Can we talk about feeling.? SPIDER MAN! He made the trailer for CIVIL WAR a historic moment –

BUT – I don’t think he made it home just yet. Not as SPIDER…..MAN

MILD to BLAZING RED HOT SPOILERS ahead. If you have not watched the SAM RAIMI, MARC WEBB, and who is the latest guy? (Ha – just kidding, but really, why can’t I recall his name. Hmmm. ) Jon Watts! Then shoot yourself in the foot.

 

Look, the movie was very enjoyable – I especially like the use of CINEMA VERITE, FOUND FOOTAGE style film technique to give a SNAP-CHAT-esque window into the AIRPORT FIGHT SCENE. I think this was added especially to make GENERATION Y and Z feel at “HOME”. (how many home puns can I use here, try me)

And I thought the rest of the film was OK.

Filmmaking is hard.

Why am I writing this article again?  Because I was expecting a proper re-launch into SPIDERMAN – because there was this hope that it would be done “right”. But it didn’t hit the mark for me. Tom Holland was great – finally, a teenager playing a teenager – never mind that he is a British Teenager, playing an American Teenager.

Did I say filmmaking is hard? It really is.

I just feel overall that this was really an episode of SPIDER BOY – and not SPIDERMAN – and you could say “Well Disney and Marvel are taking their time to establish the character”. Yes, you could say that. You could say it out loud as you read this. The fact remains – Young Spidey doesn’t really come into his own enough in this story.

What we are watching, is really a prolonged first act (dare I say PILOT EPISODE –ugh). We don’t get a sense of life or death level threat to Spiderman’s “world”. And yes, some have said, “Oh it’s nice that it’s a smaller story”. True, but it still has to feel life or death, the stakes have to be there….

It all just feels one step away from being as VISCERAL as it should be. It’s just a little too safe. There are great comedic moments of banter between characters, BUT, not enough of an engine to feel like the adventure as a whole matter.

This said – I really did love the ELEVATOR scene – finally, the prospect of DEATH makes an appearance! But still, this isn’t a direct result of the VILLAIN deliberately making things hard for Spiderman, so we I felt a little lackluster. “THAT’S COOL!” but it doesn’t say anything about the conflict between the two main characters. If VULTURE was a committed villain, wouldn’t he have risked endangering his daughters’ life to get what he wanted?

LIKE DOC OC! BAM!

I hate to agree with the popular consensus  – but. Screw it. (see what I did there)

DOC OC is currently the best villain in the EXTENDED/ADOPTED Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still. I mean, I can’t think of any others at the moment.

I mean, not to sound weird, but VISUALLY – he is a sexy villain. The animation of the arms was great  – and his desire for greatness led to the death of his WIFE. YAY! DEPTH!

I just don’t get that sense of depth from EL VULTURE.

I am a long time Spidey Fan, getting comics sporadically from the Kingstons bookstore in ZIM, and just gobbling them up, and drawing Spidey after John Romita Jr. I am not familiar with the VULTURE the way I know DOC OC.

DOC OC is the staple character of the CARTOON SPIDERMAN from the 90’s – so I am a little biased.

Still, when DOC OC hits the screen in SPIDERMAN 2 (2005) we see a morphed creature –inseparable from the appendages that make him what he is.

I do not see the same sort of HUBRIS or desire for power manifested as a result of the VULTURE WINGS. Now I’m not saying they needed to be burnt into Michael Keaton’s spinal column and nervous system by a malfunctioning AI chip (I mean the AI is a bit of s stretch) BUT – the VULTURE WINGS didn’t push the character of the VILLAIN to a dangerous enough MORAL high ground if you will. There was nothing TRANSFORMATIVE about the use of the Vulture wings.

If SPIDERMAN is about GREAT POWER, coming with GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. Then it is also about GREAT POWER coming with great CORRUPTION, and IRRESPONSIBILITY. I see that in DOC OC – and it is visually manifested which is why I find him to be such a satisfying villain to watch.  The arms are a character fused with DOC OC. Man, it’s pretty.

In Spiderman Home Coming – the POWER of the Chi-Tari weapons affects Michael Keatons character on a surface level – his soul is not touched. And it doesn’t have to be touched “supernaturally” – it could be classic greed, like in Breaking Bad. No Magic, just plain human, tragic – ness (that sorta rhymes). Instead, Keaton is almost too normal as a criminal; there is nothing mysterious about him. He isn’t a real challenge for Spiderman because he isn’t evil or vindictive enough from a moral standpoint. And because of this VULTURE cannot push SPIDERBOY into becoming SPIDERMAN. A hero is only as good as his villain someone once said. VULTURE doesn’t create a single TRULY challenging scenario for SPIDER-BOY to figure out his identity.

In fact, the main ANTAGONIST in this FILM is really IRON MAN…who takes away SPIDER BOY’S “unearned” power…How can IRON MAN be more of a bad guy, than the friggin BAD GUY!

In cultures all around the world- there is a RITE OF PASSAGE to becoming a man, great loss, great sacrifice. SPIDERBOY doesn’t have this happen in this movie, so he can’t really be called SPIDER-MAN. In fact, that’s a premature speculation. (See what I did there).

If they changed the title to SPIDER-BOY HOME-WORKING – the film would make more sense, because Peter Parker and his friend do a lot of homework together.

Yay diverse casting in this movie by the way!

Agree or Disagree? Tweet at me, and I’ll respond when the WIFI gods bless me

 

Tatenda Mbudzi is a filmmaker/comedian who rubs people the wrong way, or the right way (if the price is right)His first feature film Zim High comes out this year- stars Tatenda Mbudzi, and Rick Cosnett from The Flash.

Twitter: @ta10da instagram: tatendambudzi. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetatenda

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