Spider-Man: Homecoming – Best Spider-Man film to date

*This article will contain some Easter Egg spoilers. You have been warned!!! *

If you’re like me, an avid Spider-Man fan, then you’ve probably been to see the latest installment to the MCU which is Spider-Man: Homecoming. I will flat out say that while the original 2000’s Sam Raimi films hold a very special place in my heart, this film is the best Spider-Man movie ever made.  They took Spider-Man back to his roots without forcing another origin story down our throats. Gone are the days of Peter Parker being a struggling photographer for the Daily Bugle. Back are the days of awkward teenage flirtation and social awkwardness we all experienced in high school. Tom Holland was amazing in his role as Peter Parker, he brought all the charisma and hilarity of his Civil War role into his full length role.

In addition to Tom Holland killing it at Peter Parker we were also given Michael Keaton in the role of Adrian Toomes aka. The Vulture. The story does a great job of maintaining the seriousness of a superhero flick without getting too over dramatic. In addition to the vulture there are several great nods and cameos of some other members of Spidey’s rogues gallery: The Tinkerer, Shocker and Prowler. One of my personal favourites was the inclusion of Mac Gargan into the MCU. Mac Gargan is the real name of the villain Scorpion who is one of Spider-Man’s most prominent foes. He hasn’t gotten his exo-suit yet and right now he just has a small role, but it’s obvious that this movie is meant to set up a larger Spider-Man universe.

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One of the best Easter Eggs from the movie comes from Donald Glover’s character, Aaron Davis. Fans of the Ultimate universe of Marvel comics will note who this character is and his significance to the story. Aaron Davis is the Prowler, a thief who likes to steal tech from major companies. In the ultimate universe he has a nephew, Miles Morales. Miles is bitten by the same spider that bit Peter all those years ago (Oscorp kept the spider for unclear reasons). While Miles gets roughly the same Power set as Peter he is also given the ability to camouflage himself and his clothing into his environment, his spider sense is weaker and only warns him of immediate danger as well as a “Venom Sting” in which he can paralyze anyone with just a touch. In the film Aaron actually goes as far as to say that he has a nephew in this neighbourhood which is why he will help.  This one scene gave so many people what they wanted which was the inclusion of Miles in the MCU, though now we will not be able to see fan favourite Donald Glover portray the character as he is far too old and he was cast as his uncle.

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One of my favourite Easter Eggs in the film comes when Peter is trying to track down some bad guys and disables the “training wheels protocol” Tony installed in his suit. When preparing to apprehend some bad guys the suit asks Peter if he would like to ” Instant lethal”. When the suit asks this the eyes turn red and narrow, and the placement of the shadows make the blue of his suit look red. This Easter Egg will be familiar for fans of the 90’s Clone Saga comic run. Kaine Parker, one of the clones made by the Jackal took on the moniker of Scarlet Spider, after the original Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider died. Kaine suffered from murderous tendencies and due to him being an imperfect clone he was supposed to die, but he didn’t. He healed and left New York moving down to Texas where he became the vigilante of Scarlet Spider with a precondition to lethal force.  Of all the Parker Clones that came out of that convoluted mess of a story arc, Kaine undergoes the biggest character development and is in my opinion the best one.

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Without giving any of the plot away I will say this, Michael Keaton played Adrian Toomes so well! there is a scene where he and Peter are i n a car and Toomes is laying down how things are going to play out and it is one of the best scenes of the entire MCU to date. Keaton has such a demanding presence in the film without being over dramatic. This might just be my personal opinion, but his time as Batman (however brief) provided him with a stoic ability to express his point without using many words. The Vulture suit is also just awesome. The studio moved away from a pair of bird winds on a green leotard and made him a rig which is basically a personal jet engine that straps to his back. They also gave him gripping claws for picking up large amounts of weight which is important to the plot of the movie.

The supporting cast of the film was stellar as well. Peter’s best friend Ned played by Jacob Batalon is one of the funniest characters in the MCU. This is coming from a guy who thinks both Deadpool and Rocket Raccoon are comedic gold and memorized most of their lines the first time I saw their respective movies. Batalon and Holland have a great chemistry that most actors try to emulate but few ever can. He is situationally funny as well as delivering some killer one liners throughout the film. I am very excited to see some more of him in the future installments of the Spider-Man stories as well as possibly a cameo or two in some upcoming Avengers movies. A shown in the trailer for the film Ned learns pretty early on that Peter is Spider-Man which leads to some great shenanigans on his part and some of the most hilarious grilling Peter could ever receive about his night time endeavours.

All in all the film ranks (for me) as one of the top 5 films in the MCU so far. It’s a great family film with some very serious undertone. I would rate this movie as a 9 out of 10 and recommend everyone goes to see it. It’s not just your typical good guy wins and everyone is happy story. It’s about Peter becoming the hero he wants to be and the hero others believe he can be. He has to find the balance to his life as Peter and his responsibility as Spider-Man. After all, we all know… with great power, comes great responsibility.

 

Iron Man a Villain?

With the release of the new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer this week a new dynamic has been introduced to the MCU, Iron Man has become an antagonist.

Now, before you disagree with me, hear me out. It all started in Avengers 1, during the altercation in Banner’s lab. With the scepter influencing everyone’s minds, words were shared. Mostly the words shared were along the lines of how each one was better than the rest. The real altercation came between Steve and Tony, when Steve asked Tony “… Take away that suit of armour.. what are you?”. Tony responds with the ever famous “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist”, which thereby establishes his ego-centrism and narcissism as well as pointing him on the path that he is now on.

Later in the movie a nuke is launched by the World Security council in an attempt to stop the invasion and close the portal. Tony intercepts the missile and angles it through the portal to the Chitauri invasion force. Tony saves the world and saves billions causing the narcissism to grow.

Skip ahead to Avengers: Age of Ultron, where unlike the comic book source material, Tony creates Ultron. This deviation was a necessity because Hank Pym wasn’t established in the MCU until the Ant-Man movie which was released after Age of Ultron.  In Age of Ultron, despite the objections of Bruce Banner, Tony decides to take it upon himself to create the Ultron program; a program he says will “end the team”. Obviously it doesn’t go to plan and the shit hits the fan, causing the Avengers to unite again to combat the new threat. This movie began sewing the seeds for the eventual conflict that would be Captain America: Civil War, the distrust has begun to grow and the antagonistic behaviour had begun to show itself.

The culmination of this is during the moments when the team is hiding out at the Barton farm as they lick their wounds. Steve and Tony are both chopping wood and begin with a philosophical discussion.

T- You know Ultron is trying to tear us apart, right?

S – Well I guess you’d know… whether you would tell us is a bit of a question…

T –  Banner and I were doing research…

S – That would affect the team!

T – That would end the team! Isn’t that the mission? Isn’t that the why we fight? So we can end the fight, so we get to go home?

S – Every time someone tries to win a war before it starts, innocent people die. Every time.

This banter is coupled with the incident in the lab in Avengers 1, and the creation of Ultron to  set the stakes for Civil War. Already in the second Avengers movie, Tony is being painted as a rogue element to the team and given antagonistic characteristics.  The movie concludes with no other altercations amongst the members of the team, save Hawkeye giving a very inspiring speech to Scarlet Witch amidst the war zone of Sokovia.

In comes Captain America: Civil War; one of, if not THE best MCU movie to date. This movie introduces the Sokovia Accords, aptly named for incident in the previous Avengers movie. This legislation that is being passed comes in response to an attack by Crossbones in Lagos Africa, which kills dozens of people.  The Accords is a mirror to the Superhuman Registration Act from the comics, which does exactly as its name entails. The Sokovia Accords causes the Avengers team to come under the direction of a governing council from the United Nations.

The friction starts when Tony along with several other avengers, believe they should be held accountable for their actions; and that if they don’t willingly sign now, they will be forced to later. Steve and several other avengers believe that they need to be able to discern where they need to go based on need. The argument Steve uses is that “the safest hands are still their own” and “what if there is somewhere we need to go and they won’t let us”? This scene coupled with Steve’s unwavering loyalty to Bucky is what sets the two opposing sides on the warpath. The movie ends with Steve siding with longtime friend and ally Bucky over Tony and his quest for revenge against the Winter Soldier for murdering his mom. One of the most gut wrenching lines is delivered during this final fight when Steve stands between Tony and Bucky and says ” Sorry Tony. You know I wouldn’t do this if I had any other choice. But he’s my friend”.  The scene switches to show Tony’s heartbroken face as he mutters the words “So was I”.

The end of Civil War saw Tony losing the fight to Steve and in retaliation telling Steve he didn’t deserve the shield his father had made. In a very definitive statement, Steve drops the shield as he picks Bucky up and helps him to their Quinjet. The movie ends with Steve sending Tony a letter and a burner phone saying that he can’t support the Accords, but if Tony ever needs him he will be there.

Flash forward to the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer, Tony is back at being Iron Man full time and has taken Peter under his wing to mentor him. Peter is doing his best to stop the vulture but in one of the most adrenaline filled scenes of the trailer he ends up having to hold a sinking ferry together to stop it from sinking. Tony comes to the rescue with his Iron Man armour and what appears to be a swarm of mini jet engines that attach themselves to both sides of the sinking ferry pushing it back together. The trailer next shows a scene where Tony and Peter are talking on a building top as tony steps out of his hovering armour (so cool!). He tells Peter that he doesn’t respect the suit and that he doesn’t deserve it, eerily echoing the same thing he said to Steve at the end of Civil War.

All of these actions are showing Tony to be an increasingly antagonistic character in the MCU. The argument could be made he is just making sure the people out there fighting are the best they can be; however, that doesn’t excuse his actions from Age of Ultron and the final act of Civil War. While the MCU has been teasing Thanos as the big bad for the next 2 Avengers movies; but mark my words, with his narcissism and ego-centrism coupled with the increasingly antagonistic behaviours, Tony could very well be the real villain they face.