I normally post reviews and stuff on Facebook, but since a review is analyzing and discussing a story, I think from now on I will do them here on my author blog, and link them from Facebook.
I see a lot of people posting about how this is the best Spiderman ever. It was fun, there were some elements I liked a lot, but my pick for the best Spiderman would still be the first one.
Warning, slight spoilers ahead. Nothing that will ruin any of the story, but some minor things that I just felt like commenting on.
First, here are the things I liked:
- The movie is the most true so far to the original Spiderman comics personality and style.
- I liked the enthusiasm and idealism of Peter Parker.
- I liked that Peter created his own web fluid and web shooters.
- I liked the relationship between Peter Parker and his schoolmates, particularly Ned. One exception, below.
- I liked the action, the special effects and the grittiness.
Here are some things I didn’t like:
- The final reveal of the identity of the villain. I get real tired of stories with utterly implausible connections between characters, just to generate some sort of conflict the writers couldn’t figure out how to do more plausibly.
- The relationship between Liz and Peter never clicked for me. Clearly they were setting up a different relationship for future movies, and I have no problem with the whole sophomore guy with a crush on the senior girl, but Peter never did anything to warrant their eventual connection. Quite the opposite.
- The whole spidey suit made by Stark Industries… I like my Spidermen to be self-made, I suppose. Or spider made. Not Tony Stark made.
- Aunt May being hot. Now don’t get me wrong, I welcome any opportunity to see Marisa Tomei on screen. But seriously, this is the most bizarre casting decision I can remember. Sally Fields was more of a stretch than I liked for the Aunt May I remember as a kid, but Aunt May being hot? No thanks.
Now, some comments on the story itself.
I’m not sure the writers ever really settled on a theme, and the result was a movie that hit some very solid story points, but they never really resonated with a message. Now, I’m not saying that movies should have a message, in the sense that it should have a political or ideological message, but it should have a recognizable theme, and that theme should be driven home by the key story moments.
This movie sort of waffled between several thematic elements, bouncing from coming of age, grazing loyalty, clanging off of young love, swirling around “with great power comes great responsibility,” landing with a thud on family, and finally rattling around the bottom of an empty can of redemption.
But in spite of that, the story held together enough to be quite enjoyable. I really liked Tom Holland, and Zendaya (how does she rate a one-name identity?). I was not impressed with Marisa Tomei, it felt like she mailed the whole thing in. Robert Downey Junior was terrific, as he always is. Michael Keaton has become sort of Shatnerian in that he always seems to be performing as a parody of himself. But he carried the villain role off, the highlight of which was the “I thought that was the anti-gravity thing…” scene.
Anyway, a very nice way to spend an evening at the movies, and I look forward to seeing more of this franchise.