You know a movie is in trouble when you secretly hope the bad guy wins.
Surprisingly, I found Spider-Man: Homecoming to be disappointing. The plot was a bit dull and lackluster, and I failed to understand the praise it is getting from various quarters.
The first problem with the film centered on its plot. The villain known as The Vulture started out as a good guy who was financially ruined by a bureaucracy that catered to the wants and needs of the Avengers. When his salvage company business lost its principal contract with the city that forced him to layoff his employees, it wasn’t hard to see why he developed a vengeful attitude.
Ironically, Michael Keaton’s role as The Vulture was the highlight of the film. Spider-Man functioned as a feudal lord’s young assassin as he sought to bring a disgruntled serf like The Vulture to justice. Keaton’s character was hardly a hero, but it was hard to dislike a guy who initially sought nothing other than an honest day’s work.
The second problem with the movie, and it was a big one, dealt with Director John Watts’ decision to focus on the school life of the 15-year-old Spider-Man, known to everyone as Peter Parker. It was not so much that Tom Holland gave a bad performance in this role as it was the focus on his juvenile interactions with friends. His ongoing goofy relationship with Ned (Jacob Batalon) was foolish beyond words. Even worse, the repeated decision by his would-be girlfriend Liz (Laura Harrier) to stand by him after he repeatedly disappears without explanation at events like her house party and the prom made her look like a weak female that did her gender no favors.
I love the actress Marisa Tomei, but she treads a well-worn path in the role as Spider-Man’s Aunt May. Robert Downey, Jr. appears sporadically as Tony Stark a/k/a Iron Man, and tries to serve as Spider-Man’s mentor. However, it is impossible not to recognize Mr. Stark’s profound heartless arrogance when his agents arbitrarily destroy the future Vulture’s business, particularly when you then see him living in opulence in the Avengers new magnificent office structure.
I know I am going out on a limb with this review, but I found little fun in watching a sophomore high school student seeking to be a super hero as he deals with the onset of puberty. Put another way, you can only watch Spider-Man throw so many webs before gradually losing interest.