Homecoming is without a doubt the best Spider-Man movie yet, but that’s not an incredibly high bar for me. The first movie is pretty good, though I really did not care for Tobey Maguire as Spidey or Peter, and the Goblin mask was a real wasted opportunity. SPM2, that most beloved of superhero films, is a massive failure for me. That is Doctor Octopus in name only, and there’s hardly any action scenes. It’s just way too much soap opera drama. SPM3 had a lot of awful missteps, but it’s at least quick moving with three separate villains and the introduction of Gwen Stacy. And while the character was completely wasted and mishandled… I have to admit a fanboy flail at seeing Venom on screen.
The ASM movies solved some of the original’s problems, but had all new ones on their own. We finally got a fast moving, agile, wise-cracking Spider-Man. This is the Spider-Man of the comics. Unfortunately that was not remotely the Peter Parker I know and love. Once again he looks too old, and the entire emo withdrawn brooding angle was a terrible decision. Along with the desperate sequel building and dead parent conspiracy. The Lizard was okay, but Electro was once again an unfortunate ‘in name only’ misuse, and we get a recycled Green Goblin clumsily jammed into the third act just like Venom was.
I have almost no complaints about Homecoming. Great Spider-Man. Great Peter. Great action. Great supporting cast. Michael Keaton makes the Vulture into a great villain, way better than he ever was in the comics. I love the MCU tie-ins which are everywhere but also organic to the story. I geeked out at the inclusion of Damage Control. And of course having Iron Man around was a huge bonus. I do wish he was in it more though; I was disappointed Iron Man didn’t participate in the third act battle.
The one thing that rankled me a little was the now infamous remake trick of introducing a new character, emphatically insisting s/he is not a certain classic character, then showing they’re that character after all. I’m so sick of that particular fake out. Another compliment I’d give is that the trailer seemed to spell out the entire plot, and in some ways it did, but I still had a lot of surprises. I had no idea Peter would be chasing another girl and not Zendaya. Or certain aspects of the Vulture’s story. Bring on Homecoming Two!
WAR FOR PLANET OF THE APES
“Rise” was a pretty good movie. It was a real world character drama, a little slow, but had a nice bit of action at the end with the promise of a great (apocalyptic) future. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would since I was never a huge fan of the Apes movies. “Dawn”, on the other hand, completely blew me away. The CGI of the talking apes was completely flawless. They had a physical presence on the screen as much as any actor, but even more importantly there was character and life and acting in their eyes and gestures. It was a revolution of special effects. Even more importantly, it was a damn good story, a tragic beginning of a war, with amazing characters and situations. And action scenes.
“War” is a worthy follow up to that masterpiece, though it’s long run time and bleak tone places it just a pinch below “Dawn” for me. But this is an amazing film. Once again, the special effects are 100% flawless. And unlike “Dawn”, this movie’s runtime is pretty much 90% ape. And it works. Even when the story is slowing down, my eyes were riveted to the screen by the sheer visual of these emoting apes. They also speak in better English this time, giving them more depth to their thoughts.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say that the premise of this film went to some surprising places for me. It’s not just about a blood thirsty Colonel hunting down the apes. There’s a very interesting twist to what he’s doing and why and gave a potentially thin plot a new dimension. My only complaint about the movie is that it’s overlong, and the second act drags a little with some of the characters being held in a prison. The movie also has a generally bleak and humorless tone, which I normally don’t care for, but it does work in this situation.