Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming IMAX review

Spider-Man: Back to School er... Spider-Man: Homecoming is the second reboot to the Spider-Man franchise that has occurred within the last five years. Really. And this one takes the web crawler back to high school literally. Oh, oh. My movie sense is tingling. Did Sony and Marvel see all the profits from young adult fiction like the Hunger Games and mix that with the fact that summer movies are for teenagers? Well, in all fairness, the original comics had Spidey aka Peter Parker in high school.

Spider-Man: Homecoming starts where The Avengers (2012) ended. Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a mischievous ghost who wants to come back to the real world. Um... that's Beetlejuice. Okay, Toomes runs a company that has been contracted to remove and salvage alien parts that occurred at the end of the battle of New York where the Avengers defeated the Chitauri. Yes, it will help if you've seen movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sigh. And that's the reason why this Spider-Man movie starts out where it does. You see Sony and Marvel have a deal that allows Spider-Man to appear in Captain America: Civil War. (2016) And yes, I've seen the Avengers and Captain America with the first two Thor movies. Okay, I'm a geek. But I'm not a Hulk person. ... yet. Geez, explaining the plot is like a Rachel Maddow piece. Anyway, Toomes is pushed out of salvaging by a Tony Stark company. Since he has to feed his family and employees, he uses the stuff he has salvaged to start a high tech crime gang. Toomes becomes The Vulture, a guy with a flying exoskeleton. The movie makes the wise decision to not give The Vulture a recognizable face which can be somewhat silly. (See the Green Goblin in the 2002 Spider-Man.) The headgear is more like a helmet. Think evil Iron Man.

Flash forward to Civil War. A young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has joined forces with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) aka Iron Man and some of the Avengers to fight Captain America. Yes, I said fight Captain America. Look, these plot threads are going to get ridiculous in the future. Anyway, that movie ends with Captain America and his allies escaping leaving Stark to be Peter's father figure?! Hold on. The late Uncle Ben Parker was Peter's father figure. He's the one that said "With great power comes great responsibility." I mean what is Stark going to teach Peter? How to be a billionaire womanizer? Peter can get that from watching Trump. Hey, Trump can teach Parker to "Grab them by the ..." er, sorry about that. This review should be PG rated. Maybe Peter can learn from Trump to "Make Russia Great Again."

But I digress. Parker has to deal with high school while balancing being your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Academic competitions. Teenage crushes. Breaking up robberies. He wants to do more as he was kind of an Avenger maybe going into space and hanging out with Groot. You see Groot is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Um.. never mind. Anyway, doing whatever a spider can has him crossing paths with The Vulture.

Tom Holland might now be a 21 year old English actor but he comes off as a 15 year old Peter Parker from New York. The Toomes character is well written and Michael Keaton understands him well. He's a working man trying to support his family and keep employees working. Toomes will generate some sympathy and he is a three dimensional villain. I love Peter's chubby Asian buddy Ned. (Jacob Batalon) Everybody, not just superheroes, needs friends. And Ned's affection, humor and enthusiasm mandates he be in the next film.

I'm not going to whine about about the casting of MJ (Zendaya) or Flash (Tony Revolari) that tuns white characters into minorities. The filmmakers were making a movie that reflects modern reality. Parker's high school is an inner city New York school. This is not making a white Johnny Storm into a black one. It's not forced. So sorry you right-wing trolls, I'm not playing your game. As for Marisa Tomei not playing a great granny type Aunt May, she is in reality 52. And in Civil War, Tony Stark finds her attractive. Look in the comics world, there are multiple versions of her, and yes, she's often portrayed old. But the fact is that she has an active romantic life even dating Dr. Octopus. So, with an active love life, I think it's okay to have a younger Aunt May. I just want her kind and caring character to be treated with intelligence and respect in light of the big surprise at the end of the movie. .

Spider-Man: Homecoming is an action movie with a lot of comedy. Unlike a straight comedy, this movie uses the serious situations to generate the quips and jokes. Spider-Man in the comics was known to make jokes while fighting crime. There was an army of writers on this movie, six to be exact, and that helps with the jokes since comedy is subjective. Allowing writers to bounce jokes off each other is always beneficial. The jokes work well. Director Jon Watts respects his material to keep out the camp while creating a movie that is not dark like, ahem... the DC cinematic universe. In fact, darkness is the only problem with this film at least in regards to the actual filming. Homecoming has a bit too many night scenes with confusing action. Perhaps, Watts is inspired by the old theme song's lyrics. "In the chill of night, at the scene of a crime."

And speaking of the sixties' theme song, part of it is played before all the action starts. Alas, it's only a tease. Oscar winner Michael Giacchino composes an original score and it kicks ass. Spider-Man's theme is strong and soars. I literally heard other moviegoers sing the song as they left the theater. Bravo, Michael.

I saw this movie on a regular IMAX screen without 3D. As with all IMAX movies, you get a much taller and fatter picture. IMAX always has excellent resolution. Spider-Man: Homecoming IMAX looks fantastic even if it is not in 3D. That being said remember the 3D version is a conversion from 2D. However, I don't recommend seeing this movie on IMAX. It's an excellent movie experience without a giant IMAX screen and you're watching it as a digital print anyway. The extra four to five bucks doesn't really add much. Save your money.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is fun, and exciting. You'll love the well filmed action and humor. The grade is A minus.

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