Hopes for Where Spider-Man: Homecoming Will Go Next

17 Jul

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

To restart the Spider-Man movie franchise for the third time may seem to some industry observers a crazy attempt by Sony Pictures to keep a hold of this Marvel Comics property. Much like how 20th Century Fox does not want to let go of the Fantastic Four, eventually some give and take must be reached. Thankfully an agreement was reached to bring the hero back to where he truly belongs (perhaps, why the title Homecoming is used). At the same time, to see this character come alive in a recognizable manner reveals plenty of wholehearted fun akin to the race to get home in Ferris Bueller into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

After seeing this movie for the second time, I had to make sure my feelings for this film does not change. Further viewings are needed to pick up on some nuances I noticed in this movie. A few scenes deliberately mimicked moments from another familiar character. The personalities between Spidey and Deadpool are different, but to see these two white spectacled hooligans trying to save the day does need mentioning.

Most of the laughs come from how Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is hoping for another chance to work with the Avengers. After his introduction in Captain America: Civil War, dealing with neighbourhood crime is not the same. When he finds weapons powered by powerful alien tech illegally trafficked, nobody at Avengers Headquarters seems to care. Spider-Man has to investigate and put the criminal ring down himself.

Director Jon Watts nicely paces out this plot in between moments of exploring Parker’s high school life. Like the comic book character, he is very awkward and shy. When the mask gets puts on, his introverted behaviour takes a back seat and another personality reveals itself. The laughs do not come from Spider-Man, but instead in how Parker tries to juggle his life of an academic and a wannabe superhero. He’s not succeeding at the latter since there is no one to teach him the ropes. Happy (Jon Favreau) is keeping some distance away from him despite being the point-man between the kid and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). I feared this movie would take too many cues from the past two animated series, but it worked. They were never omnipresent. In what the boy has to discover for himself is in defines the man who feels he or she must wear a mask in order to be a saviour.

The only confusing parts of the film comes in how he relates to other characters. Some are left-field, like Ned [last name unknown] (Jacob Batalon). In other interpretations, he’s not known as Parker’s best bud. In Spectacular Spider-Man, Ned Lee is of Korean descent and is a reporter for the Daily Bugle. In the mainstream comic book universe, he’s better known as the Hobgoblin. In this cinematic interpretation, these two are individuals who have no caste to fit into. Ned is a simply the sidekick.

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Although they want to fit in with the popular crowd, Flash (Tony Revolori) is a smug rival who is neither a jock and nor an academic who constantly gives Parker grief at every turn. He does not even interact with Ned, who is practically invisible to nearly everyone but Pete and the kid who was in Chess Club. Eventually how he’s perceived by others will take a toll on this character, perhaps giving him a greater role in future films.

Usually, Spider-Man works alone. In this film, he needs the help of Ned and his mad hacking skills to track down the main villain.

The casting of Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes aka The Vulture is absolutely perfect. The production team did an exceptional job to transition the look of the comic book character to a relatable real life universe figure. The customized shearling aviator jacket he wore is all this character needed! Unlike the Green Goblin armour from Sam Raimi’s Spider-man which looked questionable since its debut, this mechanical gremlin like figure is exceptionally menacing without looking goofy. When considering how smart and calculating Toomes team is to adapt the stolen Chitauri technology to further their own needs, I get the feeling Toomes has an Otto Octavius hiding under his wings waiting to emerge.

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To see this character return to cinema may prove to be the right direction for the next film. The Amazing Spider-Man comic book series ended its series one run in 2012 with “Dying Wish” when Doc Ock swapped minds with Parker. Over the course of this storyline, Ock learned about what kind of life this hero had and swore to uphold Spidey’s legacy than to stain it. To adapt this tale to show Parker’s guiding philosophies in how he sees himself as a hero would elevate the second film to new levels completely different from past MCU sequels.

Although Ock said he would be superior to previous “incarnations,” he has to learn from Peter’s life. To make this hero’s journey complete needs to see Parker travel to “The Underworld” to face himself to defeat those innermost demons within. I would love to see Doctor Strange team up with Spidey, and they did work together in various iterations of the animated series. Sadly, this detail might mean Venom appearing in this rebooted universe. This villain is a difficult one to adapt because of that silly gaping mouth and tongue of his. Quick shadow images and less emphasis on directly looking at him might work. Raimi and the effects team had a difficult time doing justice to this character in Spider-Man 3, and hopefully, there is a production team who can realize this character as the malevolent force the symbiote needs to be. Maybe the producers need to bring in Todd McFarlane, the only artist who made this character come alive in print to take on the task to adapt to celluloid.

With Marvel Entertainment directly involved to make this new series of films, I am hoping they will keep some aspects of the books true than to completely change the canon. While I know little of where the new character of Michelle (Zendaya) will fit in for later films, I am ignoring the arguments on whether she is M.J. Watson or not. I am more interested in whether she can play other types of personalities different than her high-strung characters in her comedic work (K.C. Undercover and Shake it Up). This actress proves she can tune her persona down to dour tones and blend with the crowd instead of standing out.

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At the same time, I am wondering what’s going to happen to the old Avengers Tower? Someone must be interested in buying it. Whether the Inhumans are going to move in or another team has interest, all anyone has to do is to take a look at the list of what future MCU movies are in development. T’Challa / Black Panther can easily buy the building. Who knows, maybe the Fantastic Four is being set to return to the MCU. The former building has the infrastructure Reed Richards needs to do his mad science experiments Personally, I would not be surprised in the possibility of this deduction happening.

4 Web Shooters out of Five (wait a minute, spiders have 8 arms)

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