4 Reasons Spider-Man: Homecoming Isn't a Good Spider-Man Movie

by Harlan Ivester on January 10, 2019

          Put the pitchforks down, people. I know Spider-Man: Homecoming is overall a solid movie. But if I’m ranking all the wallcrawler’s flicks, it’s in the middle. Yeah, it’s got some great stuff going for it. Tom Holland is likeable as the protagonist and Michael Keaton is one of the MCU’s better antagonists for sure. With Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse blowing it out of the water, though, I think now is a good time to talk about where Homecoming drops the ball. So let’s get to it and countdown the four reasons that Spider-Man: Homecoming is not a good Spider-Man movie.

4.      The movie doesn’t do much of anything to establish Liz Allan as a character, therefor we don’t feel much when their budding romance falls apart. I don’t really care about any of the changes they made to her, as I’m not someone who needs everything to be exactly like the comics. But what do we really know about Liz? We know that Peter likes her cause she’s smart and pretty, but that’s about it. It’s hard to feel more than a little sorry for him when she says goodbye. All the emotion from said fallout actually comes from the tension of Toomes piecing together that Peter is Spider-Man. Yes, that was great. Can anyone say they really felt much when Liz leaves, though? A little more depth would have gone a long way. For being probably the biggest consequence — we’ll get back to this — of Peter’s choices in the film, this one doesn’t hit as hard as it should. 

3.      “MJ” is wasted. Again, I am not someone who is against any changes being made in a comic book movie, but I do need those changes to be for the better. Case in point: “my friends call me MJ.” Michelle was an enjoyable presence throughout the movie, but why couldn’t she have just stayed Michelle? What does she actually share with Mary Jane besides their initials? I don’t care that her hair isn’t red or that she’s not white, because there’s more to Mary Jane than just her looks. I know that this could change and she could grow in future movies, but until then, I can’t help but be annoyed that this one decided to waste a valuable character at the last minute.

2.      The film is lacking in consequence. It’s impossible for me to talk about this without mentioning HiTop Films’ video essay, which you should absolutely check out. Now, as I said, the most important lasting consequence that Peter faces in Homecoming is Liz leaving Midtown High, but I’ve already talked about why that one doesn’t land. And if that’s not the most important, it’s losing the suit, but we’ll get to that. What else could Homecoming have done to give Peter a hard time, though? After all, a huge part of what makes Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 so great is that the universe is just constantly giving him the middle finger. Shouldn’t Peter feel bad that he inadvertently blew up the deli when trying to stop the robbery? Apparently not. What about ditching Ned at the party? Nah, they’re bros! The problem is that Homecoming only makes Peter face the music when it has time to, and doesn’t give the other results of his actions a second thought.

1.      Peter’s motivations aren’t right. The movie wants us to forget Uncle Ben, and this is its mortal sin. When Peter is caught under the rubble, the movie is paying homage to the Amazing Spider-Man #33, my absolute favorite Spider-Man story. But there’s a crucial difference between the comic and the movie: what makes Peter choose not to give up. Proving himself (which losing the suit is kind of rolled into) vs. (the idea of failing) his loved ones. As much as it did make sense for Peter to want to impress Tony, it didn’t need to be his ultimate driving factor, because that’s not Spider-Man. No, I didn’t need to see a flashback of Ben getting shot, but Civil War acknowledged Ben and the ideas he passed on. Why couldn’t Homecoming do that in a whole movie centered around the same guy? Everything else I could forgive, but Homecoming doesn’t do the iconic story justice. It misses a fundamental part of why Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and that’s something I can’t look past.

          I know I’m the minority here. Most people love this movie and until recently it was widely considered to be the best Spider-Man film, but who knows? Maybe this will swing a few people my way. Far From Home isn’t actually too far off, and while I have some reservations, I’m hopeful. I want it to be good. I want each new Spider-Man movie to be the new best, because he is the best. With me or not, sound off in the comments. Thanks for reading.