Reviewed in Canada on April 6, 2018
For people saying "Marvel is just doing something fresh and different" or (quite oppositely) saying "This is the most authentic Spider-Man yet" ... both are objectively wrong. It's not even a matter of taste. Here's why: It is Sony, not Marvel, who is determining how characters appear in the MCU movies. They possess this power because it is in Sony's best interest they do so; once the agreement between Sony and Marvel ends (and it one day surely will end), any and all characters that appeared in an MCU movie instantly become a "disputed copyright" and said characters are frozen from use by BOTH companies indefinitely. It is for this reason alone that all the Spider-Man characters that appeared in Homecoming or any MCU movie so far have been made PURPOSEFULLY different from both the original comic book characters and in previous movies. That way, once the agreement ends, Sony can go back to making Spider-Man movies using characters more faithfully based on those original characters.
This explains why the MCU Spider-Man only superficially resembles the comic book character:
- The real Spider-Man was a self-made hero ... VS this new version is dependant on Tony Stark. In fact, the suit does so much, Peter doesn't really need to have any super-powers, as they could all be duplicated by the costume anyway.
- The real Peter Parker is motivated by guilt over the death of his uncle ... VS this new version has no motivation other than wanting to be Iron Man Jr. or an Avenger.
- The real Spider-Man turned down the Avenger's offer for him to join because he didn't want to hunt down the Hulk as part of his initiation test because he related to him as a misunderstood loner ... VS this fan boy who would do anything to join the team, even fight Captain America, an obvious legendary hero.
- The real Spidey relies on his sixth sense to get him out of trouble ... VS this new version has no appreciable spider-sense and takes all his cues from an AI computer. (Don't trust your instincts, kiddies, just stay enslaved to your iPhones and do whatever the gods of technology tell you!)
- The real Peter Parker is a smart, glib loner ... VS this new version is an eager joiner and highly annoying.
- The real Spider-Man is an action hero ... VS this new movie being officially billed as a high school comedy.
- The real Peter Parker had Uncle Ben ... VS this new version hasTony Stark for a mentor.
- The real Spider-Man kept his identity a secret from EVERYONE for years until the Green Goblin discovered it ... VS everyone knows his identity now, including Aunt (F-Bomb) May.
- The real Peter Parker has an aging aunt to support ... VS this new version having an aunt who for some reason is hit on by every character she meets.
- The original Ned Leeds was an older guy who worked as a reporter for the Daily Bugle and who married Betty Brant ... VS this new version is an annoying high school kid.
- The real Spider-Man punched his adversaries ... VS this new PC version isn't allowed to punch people (yet at the same time has a kill-mode function built into his suit! Can you say hypocrisy?)
- The real Peter Parker worked freelance as a photographer for the Daily Bugle and had J. Jonah Jameson, Betty Brant, and Joe Robertson as coworkers and supporting characters ... VS nothing.
- The real Spider-Man had money problems, which made him relatable to the average person ... VS Peter's best pal is a multi-billionaire who gives him everything.
- The real Peter Parker was picked on by blond football jock Flash Thompson ... VS this version is picked on by a guy on the debating team who is even wimpier looking than he is.
- The real Spider-Man was one of the best, most original super-heroes ever created ... VS this generic, immature, blandness.
But on top of all this deliberate legal alteration of characters, the movie is just plain boring. If you've seen the trailers you've seen all the scenes this film has to offer. The movie also has cheap FX, with Spider-Man looking and moving like a simplistic cartoon. Of the $175 M budget, $100 M must have gone to Robert Downey Jr. because this movie looks and feels like a TV series on the Disney Channel. In other words, cheap, fake, and "family friendly." It has no guts to it.
The movie also has a terrible soundtrack. It's hard to believe that Michael Giacchino, the composer who did the perfectly retro-licious Incredibles score, could crank out something so vapidly sappy as this. It's like a bad rip-off of a bad John Williams soundtrack.
Oh, and by legal design or not, Tom Holland just ain't Spider-Man. At all. He's more like Robin. Burt Ward's Robin to be more precise: excitable, dependant on an adult millionaire, does minor gymnastics, and is annoying as hell.
But what makes this movie so assembly line, made-by-committee bad is that it has no drama, no stakes, and no consequences. Nothing that happens really matters and undercutting every moment of potential seriousness is a feeble joke. The Sam Raimi films, on the other hand, were chock full of drama, stakes, and consequences. This is why I consider those Spider-Man films a truer part of the MCU timeline, not this drivel. The Raimi Spider-Man films also have a timeless quality to them, whereas Homecoming is so full of current content that it will become extremely dated and irrelevant in about five years.