I saw the new Spiderman last night and I can see why people are raving about Michael Keaton’s portrayal of an flying creature based comic book character. Slightly less so Tom Holland’s version of old web head himself. Now don’t get me wrong he’s probably the best one yet. Toby could do a decent Peter but failed when it came to Spiderman, while Andrew Could pull off the web slinger but was a miserable Parker. Tom is truly the guy who can do both. But if there’s one thing I’ve figured out is that you don’t get anywhere by being nice on the internet. Thus this is what’s wrong with…………..
For those who don’t know Pete is a teen super hero from New York. Living with his aunt; we saw his arrival from the terrible Sony ‘verse to the much better Marvel ‘verse in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. There he graduated from neighbourhood to ‘Avengers recruit’ thanks to Tony being desperate to pad out his side of the break up. He gives the kid a fancy new set of threads and flies him over to Germany. This movie picks up some time later as he finds that that mission may be his one and only. Things only get worse when ‘The Vulture’ comes onto the scene trying to sell tech way beyond the grade of your typical car jacker.
One thing people have noticed about this Spiderman though is the lack of his trade mark spider sense. This is despite a neat scene later on where they homage the old half and half face thing from the comics. The movie has chosen to upgrade his spider sense to a talking robot lady called Karen in what I assume is some really obscure reference I’m not getting. Now cinematically and story wise I understand the switch as now we get to see him discuss his plan and talk to someone other than himself or a tumour at the base of his skull. However this lack of a spider sense is pretty much the crux of what’s wrong with this junior league Avenger as a whole. See the story of Peter Parker is the story of a poor, shy, nerdy kid from Queens who goes on to be one of the best loved super heroes, front line Avenger, good friend to the Fantastic Four and current head of a global company that can rival Stark. I don’t think I can see the same thing happening to the kid we see in this movie though. This is a genius level intellect that can’t figure out how to switch on the lights in a sports car and for those who haven’t seen the movie and think this leads to a “hilarious” scene where Spiderman can be seen cruising down the high way in a stolen sports car while the radio blares some horrible tune, the wind screen wipers flap and the horn sounds out at random intervals then you’ve got another think coming as instead he just rings his friend and asks him to skim through the manual for him.
In the comics when Peter went up against ‘Electro’ he quickly realised that spider like reflexes and some stinky gunk won’t cut it against several million volts and so he had to modify his suit to insulate against the charge. Here we see that while he invented the basics of web fluid it’s someone else who came up with all the fancy ones like the taser web he needs to short circuit Vulture’s fancy looking wings. Here when Peter is dropped from several million miles up in the sky he doesn’t pull out a pre-planned chute that he packed due to some boy scout type planning. He doesn’t improvise one from webbing and know how. He’s saved by Tony Stark loading down his suit with everything from a talking A.I to a heater. When he’s locked inside a giant safe half way through the movie there is the sense that Tobey Pete would have looked rather glum before forcing his way out, Andrew Pete would have pulled off some extreme parkour up the vents while Tom Pete gets his suit to help him run through the calculations on the lock because maths is hard. They keep telling us he’s a genius and yes he’s very handy on their pub quiz team but he doesn’t put that intelligance to use when it counts and everyone is so busy crowding around to help that he won’t even gain that skill. This is a Peter who can see far through standing on a lot of shoulders (or riding on a plane) rather than pulling himself up to prove that with great power comes great responsibility.
Now some would argue that this is part of the whole theme of the movie, after all papa Tony at one point pulls him aside and says that if you’re nothing without the suit then maybe you shouldn’t have it. The problem is this feels more like the movie spotting their flaw and hanging a lampshade or a pretty picture over it to admit it and then do nothing about it especially when *spoiler* he get’s the wonder suit back in the end and even get’s the promise of a not quite “Iron Spider” suit which seems redundant compared to what he is running around for most of the movie in. It’s good to see Spiderman “coming home” and I don’t even mind taking him back to high school seen as they handle it so well but Marvel is to keen to promote him up to the same level as everyone else so he’ll be ready for ‘Infinity War’ and because of that you end up with a Spidy who can’t even foil a fairly simple bank robbery without blowing up a deli.