90 – 100 mins of Spider–Man: Homecoming (2017) are one of the best movies that Marvel has made, the remainder of the 133 min runtime is filler, most of it featuring Robert Downey Jr. It doesn’t kill the film but it does make it drag and serves as a reminder that Marvel’s worst tendencies are not going anywhere.
To be honest, it would take a lot to kill this movie. Tom Holland is good in the central role and the film plays as a solid adventure comedy. It helps that the events are more grounded with the main antagonists being a gang of robbers, led by the fantastic Michael Keaton, who are trading in weapons made from the debris left in the wake of the Avengers’ work. This world has more in common with Jessica Jones (2015 – ) than Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and that is a major plus, as is the move away from the dead eyed ‘classic banter’ of the Avengers towards a more situational, personal and slightly odd style of humour.
But there is a bad taste here. As the movie is essentially the view from the cheap seats in relation to the events of the previous films it also has interesting political ideas. The real disappointment is that although the world logically suggests push back against these billionaire wizards and new gods, the industrial model in which the film is made can’t abide this. In another context the suggested Icarus tale (escaping a rigged game through determination and technology only to be brought down by hubris) would be a tragedy, in the Marvel Cinematic Content Delivery System its labelled villainy and must be stamped out.
After all, what would happen if we didn’t love Tony?!
Watching this latest instalment of the Marvel content delivery system I couldn’t help but think of the surprisingly good X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), both have killer robots and Billy Whizz but Singer’s movie had the distinction of not just being a series of things that happen. It had a mission and proven high stakes. Whedon’s film is just more stuff with classic bants thrown in so we can call it witty. In fairness though it does have the better Maximoff / Quicksilver in Aaron Taylor-Johnson… it also has the usual logical weaknesses (I presume The Falcon had something better to do with his time than help save the world), same old finale and the device of cutting to Stark’s face remains awful.
I’m not saying that it’s not entertaining, it is on several occasions, it’s just more akin to a fast food restaurant than a film, serving a million customers a day… tastes good but it’s not a meal etc.
The individual adventures are much better.
Get ready for a billion more hours of this.