Nerdy Basement

Welcome Home, Peter

Iron Man in 2008 might have started this epic journey of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it’s Spider-Man from 2002 who played a crucial part of boosting the new generation of superhero movies. And I couldn’t be happier about the choice. Spider-Man had always been my favorite superhero. He’s just this kid from New York who got great powers and wanted from the bottom of his heart to do some good. Fifteen years, six movies and two reboots later, I think we finally found our Spider-Man. Okay, Tobey and Andrew fans, slowly drop your tomatoes, let me explain.

Aiheeseen liittyvä kuvaI loved Tobey’s Spider-Man. He perfectly captured the sincerity and dorkiness that is Peter Parker. He’s adorable and he was capable of making audiences root for him. We are not going to discuss the horridness that was MJ in the trilogy, nor are we discussing the emo dancing scene from the 3rd movie. But the first two movies, especially Spider-Man 2 remains the very best Spider-Man movie ever, and it’s very high up on the best superhero movie list. It was patient and deep character development, we witness the struggle of Spidey and Peter living a double life. Like life itself weren’t bad enough. But those movies, I feel like that in those Spider-Man and Peter Parker were two different people. Spider-Man is known for his talkativeness, he would talk non-stop while fighting a bad guy, much like his comic buddy Merc with a Mouth Deadpool. Of course, Peter is probably less sarcastic and more PG13 but no less humorous than Mr Pool. That part of the Spider-Man didn’t come through at all in the original Spidey series. And no, I simply can’t get over the fact that he is shooting the webs out of his fucking wrists. Apart from that, from the Spidey sense to the incredible action scenes, the original Spider-Man trilogy 1 and 2 were excellent. And what comes to the movie number 3, man… I don’t know what happened but it was a fucking trainwreck. Thus the fourth movie never happening, thus Sony insultingly rebooting its lucrative franchise merely five years later.

Aiheeseen liittyvä kuvaI do not blame them for recasting. Tobey was already 27 when he played Spidey the first time in 2002, although ever the baby face, it would be crazy to have a 37-year-old play Peter Parker the teenager. Entered Andrew Garfield, who was actually 29 when The Amazing Spider-Man came out. You would have thought that Sony would have learned something. No offense to Andrew, he is a brilliant actor. I blame the failure of his Spidey entirely on the writing. Not that the movies are that bad, they were pretty entertaining and the chemistry between Peter and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy was unreal. Of course, dating in real life must have helped. What bothers me the most, apart from making the exact same mistake in the second movie as they did at the 3rd in the originals, was Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s character. Peter Parker was way too cool, albeit a little hermit-ish already in the beginning, defending weaker ones from bullies. But apart from playing the very reluctant looking hero, he was actually an asshole. And it just got blown out of proportion after he got into those blue and red tights. Especially in the scene when he caught a burglar in the parking lot, am I the only one that got a little offended of how they decided to portray the sweet Peter Parker? Like a douche bag wearing a mask, therefore, zero accountability. I like Andrew, I love Emma Stone as always, and I enjoyed the action scenes which look incredible, but I resent what they have done to Spider-Man and Peter.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle civil war spidermanThen they announced that Spidey is coming home to Marvel, joining the Avengers and that his first outing would be in the Civil War. I have such mixed feelings. My nerdy feelings were hurt. And although I saw that Andrew was not most suitable for Spider-Man, it was still a very shitty thing of Sony to do to cut him loose like that. Those two Spidey movies should never have been made at all. Reuniting Spider-Man with the Avengers should have been in the stars from the get-go. So with careful optimism… hell, I would take just not sucking, I don’t even need him to be good. But he kinda impressed me. Which was unreal now that I think of it, cos we didn’t get to see his face at all in that massive airport fight. But all that talking, that extremely nerdy sense of wonder for everything even during the midst of fighting and explosions… Tom Holland’s Spider-Man brought a strong presence, a very teenager, and very endearing presence. I like him instantly, and although I didn’t want to admit, cos I felt some sense of loyalty to Tobey and Andrew (Tobey mostly), I secretly felt that Tom has been the Spidey I’ve been waiting for.

Aiheeseen liittyvä kuvaThen came the time to go watch the movie. Sir Atticus was so reluctant at first to come with me, He had been hurt one too many times by Spidey. But He eventually came with me, and I like to think that He is grateful that I dragged Him to see it. Anyways, Spider-Man: Homecoming… what can I say but welcome home, Peter. I love that Tom Holland was really a teenager. The naivety, the bright eye wonder he portrays so well, I have to wonder how much of it is actually acting. 😀 I mean playing Spider-Man might have been as miraculous as being him. This time around, there weren’t two persons, Spider-Man was Peter Parker and vice versa, and with or without the suit, that fact was very present. It’s him talking non-stop, showing his personality fully, and you can feel his young age showing. From him filming everything and just being a kid. I love it.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle michael keaton vultureThey did an outstanding job at building the Peter/Spidey character, as well as the best friend Ned’s character (which I adore btw), but the rest of the bunch needed a little more. Like aunt May. I mean what’s the point to cast the super hot Marisa Tomei if you’re not gonna give it a little more character building. Well, maybe in the next movie. Also, they really tried to give character to the main villain played by the magnificent Michael Keaton. He was intimidating, scary even and so so good at his role. Maybe he’s too good, cos I wanted to get to know him better. Like what he was like before becoming the Vulture, or even the gradual change into the crueler version. I know, the movie was already hella long, and they did make the right choice to focus on Peter.

How about the suit and Tony freaking Starck? Well, they have to tie it to the Avengers somehow and Tony’s presence never bothers me. 😛 And I love Happy, who doesn’t? First I was bothered by the suit’s appearance, it’s a wee bit too bright? I know, nitpicking. But the tech though, after I got used to the thought, it was pretty fucking awesome. Maybe a bit too much, but the suit lady Karen is pretty cool though.

One major problem I had with this otherwise great outing of Spider-Man, is the fights. Not the little fights like the one in the bank quite in the beginning, that was freaking awesome. I’m talking about the big fights, especially the ones with the Vulture. They look so CGI that it was almost painful to watch. Spider-Man movies are always known for their breath-taking fights. Of course there have to be CGI, but when is Hollywood going to learn, that less is more. I mean the less we see, the more we get to see. The CGI used when I can’t tell, that’s where the magic happens.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle spider man under concreteOh and lastly, the moment of Spider-Man: Homecoming. You know the moment, right? They are known for in superhero movies. It’s the moment when the world inside or outside the movie or preferably both bend to the side of the hero. Like in the original Spider-Man 2, there was the train scene. You know, the one where Spidey used all his strength to stop the train full of passengers and he did it just before the train would fall off the bridge. And when he himself was about to fall from exhausting, several arms shot out from behind him to catch him and then carrying him rock star style to the safety. At this point, he had lost his mask and all the New Yorkers in the train marveled how young he was and they vowed to keep the secret of his identity. That was a moment. And they attempted it again in the Amazing Spider-Man with the cranes but it wasn’t nearly as effective. So what was the moment in the newest Spidey. This time it was the emotional scene [SPOILER ALERT] where Spider-Man was trapped under the concrete, seemingly impossible amount of concrete. When he failed to get out of it a few times and started to panic, I as an audience started to panic with him. When he yelled out for help, his 15 years of young age so blatantly in display, that scene broke my heart. I got choked up when he cried. It was an extremely hard scene to watch, and that’s when you know they succeeded in making a moment that didn’t require nothing more than a piece of concrete and Tom Holland’s excellently portrayed raw emotions baring his soul. That’s extremely rare in superhero movies, hell, in any movies. And that was the moment, I believe, that got the audience to his side, if they weren’t there already. And like Robert Downey Jr will always be the Iron Man and Hugh Jackman will always be the Wolverine, that moment was when Tom Holland became the Spider-Man.

My IMDb rating: 8 stars out of 10

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14 thoughts on “Welcome Home, Peter

  1. Thank you for dragging me out of the woodwork by appealing to my nerdiness again, Emmi.

    I always find it difficult to gauge superhero movies because of the varied criteria involved. e.g. the scope of film history as a whole, the limited history of superhero movies as a whole, and how said superhero movies manage when stacked up against their comic counterparts.

    A few random things that stuck out from the newest spiderman, some good and some bad:
    -I do agree that this newest incarnation of Spiderman is probably the portrayal closest to his comic form when it comes to his in-the-costume persona.
    -I struggled a bit with the fact that aside from being a latch-key kid living in a small apartment, his every day school life actually appeared “privileged.” It felt awkward but in a suburban awkward way.
    -I agree completely with your CGI comments.
    -I try not to dig too deeply upon what wasn’t there but the lack of a spider sense stood out to me.
    -The same goes for not having Uncle Ben on his conscience… which was his initial “driving force” in the comic.
    -I could have done without the fancy suit and Tony Stark parts… but I accept how they are building up the current universe.

    While the first two Spiderman movies deviated quite a bit from the original stories, I felt they really nailed the “spirit” of the comic book (in a similar way that X-Men 2 did). In the same way, I feel the Garfield Spiderman movies completely missed the spirit of the book. Removing crucial components that make the character endearing… makes it harder to make a movie that is endearing to the viewer. I’m not quite sure where I think this incarnation fits yet.

    A discussion that I recently had with a friend of mine was actually on the topic of Spiderman 3. While the movie is by no means good and the obvious mistakes (Topher Grace, having Sandman be Uncle Ben’s killer, etc.), I don’t think it is really that bad in the pantheon of superhero movies. The nerdy movie-going public has a tendency to over-inflate the “goodness” of above average movies and overly-detest the “badness” of below average movies. While Spiderman 3 is MUCH weaker than 1 and 2, it is by no means terrible, and actually falls quite solidly into the realm of standard fodder that tends to make it to the screen nowadays. If evaluating it on a scale of 1-10, I give it a rock solid 5.5/10, although an argument could be made to push it into the 5.75-6.0 range. Seeing as how nearly everything manages to fall into the 4.0/10 to 7.5/10 range, there aren’t a lot of differences. Compared to say, Daredevil, Electra, or Ghost Rider, Spiderman 3 is amazingly good. It’s also better than the Punisher, both Hulk movies, half of the X-Men franchise, the 3rd Iron Man, and so on. Also think about any Batman movie made that involved neon or a bat suit with nipples. Just some things to think about 🙂

    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should probably add for the sake of relativism, my list of “bests” when it comes to superhero movies. Most of these are based upon the view of whether or not I found the movie both compelling and entertaining, didn’t have issues with pacing or directorial portrayals, and the like.
      In no particular order:
      X-Men 2
      Spiderman
      Spiderman 2
      Guardians of the Galaxy
      Ant-Man
      Iron Man
      Deadpool (although this barely makes the list, I enjoy it but think people over-rated it).

      There are a lot that fall into the “fun watch” realm, but a good number of them don’t quite have enough substance to really stand out and/or they had severe enough issues to leave them off of this list. “It’s good if you are a fan of…” is not a phrase that I like to have to use when recommending something 🙂

      Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I actually quite enjoy the ‘lack’ of spidey sense and Uncle Ben. It might also be just me. I feel like I’ve seen them all before. They are kinda already built-in features that don’t need to be told again unless they make sense to building a story. What Homecoming was was definitely not another origin story.

      I didn’t pick up the school thing as I’m not familiar with the US school system. But I did like the fact that they showed us somehow that Peter is no less than a genius. And I like to think that’s one of the aspects why Tony bonded with him, like he did with Bruce Banner. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, the spider sense appeared to be completely absent. I consider that to be a fairly fundamental part of his power set as it is one of the big factors that allowed Spiderman to fight more powerful villains. Uncle Ben could have been covered in a brief flashback as I agree it doesn’t need to be told again, but I always felt it was something that was also fundamental to the character, supplying a lot of his base motivation for doing good. As for Uncle Ben, I found it a bit disgusting in the earlier incarnations because they took such liberties with it (e.g. Spiderman 3).

        As for the US School system, there are basically public and private schools. Public schools are generally representative of the income demographic of the area it resides in, with some high income areas allowing for a higher city tax rate in order to have a higher quality school. Basic result of this is that public school quality (facilities, curriculum, class size, teacher quality, etc.) vary drastically across the board. When you get into major cities such as NYC, private schools become more prominent. If I had to guess, Peter’s school in Homecoming looked to be a private school with a $25-30k a year tuition rate. While some of these schools will have scholarships for poor students that excel in academics and athletics (mostly athletics), it gives a radically different impression of him being in that type of environment vs. the public school he attended in the comic and in the first Spiderman.

        I still remember reading some of the early Spiderman comics when I was ~10 years old and remember a particular scene where Peter was forced to pawn his microscope to cover his basic living expenses. Peter was always supposed to be highly intelligent but his public life potential was always cut short by the struggles of the double-life.

        This is likely me struggling with the spirit of the comic vs. this entirely new entity.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh don’t worry, the spidey sense is there. It was shown in the leaked comic-con Avengers: Infinity War trailer. They just didn’t emphasize it in Homecoming.

        In the original series they did make it clear that Peter was poor, maybe not as much in the Garfield movies. In Homecoming he does seem to do okay finanancially, maybe Tony helped out? 😀 I’m just glad they got his personality right, and his out-spoken humor. I’m ready to sacrifice the poorness, teenage angst is enough struggle for now.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Interesting, because he seemed to get hit in the back quite a bit which had me thinking “wouldnt his spider sense have kicked in there?” Many times while I was watching it.

        I was pleasantly surprised how it was portrayed in the originals. It can be difficult to adequately portray something so subtle and in most cases they choose to just change it (eg Scarlet Witch’s hex bolts).

        Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a fun watch, but aside from the scene where he was trapped that you described, I’m not sure how well it will hold up in endearing itself to people that aren’t already die-hard fans of the genre.

        I did always appreciate the “he could have been a brilliant scientist if he hadn’t chosen to be Spiderman” angle portrayed in the books, but if they write good enough stories I am sure I could come around.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh Homecoming was definitely for the fans of Spider-Man and the whole franchise. At my workplace all of my collegues are 50+ and while many of them love movies, no amount of recommendations from me would make them get on the superhero bandwagon. They are targeted at specific group, like me who grew up loving superheroes, or the new generation who goes to see it cos it’s cool nowadays (I feel so old). The trapped in concrete scene, I actually thing it’s a scene that would alienate some of the audience who are not used to seen a young and vulnerable superhero. At least my friend, who is a huge Iron Man fan, didn’t like Homecoming as much especially because Peter is more a boy than a man, and she got a little turned off by it. Yes, I did yell ‘BUT HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A BOY’ at her.

        I do wonder how Ned was able to sneak up on him in his room too, among other things. 😀 But I like to think that Spidey sense is also something Peter needs to train? I guess how Spidey sense works has never been thoroughly explained at least in the movies. Cos in the originals it just seemed like really fast reflex to me, how it was portrayed. At least in the leaked trailer it looked like it’s something in a bigger scale, almost premonition-ish, a strengthened gut feeling. At least that’s how I imagine Spidey sense to be, considering I haven’t read that many Spidey comics.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. There is always a conundrum when going after hardcore fans. Stick too rigid to established storylines and you lose freedom. Stray too far from them and alienate fans. Anyone who has seen a movie that felt like they were just “checking boxes” of notable events has felt that sting before.

        I think a handful of the superhero movies are strong enough to appeal to a mainstream audience and establish an entirely new fanbase. Tobey’s Spiderman was able to do it. The first Iron Man was too. I feel like banking too much upon the hardcore fanbase is partly what has made the last few X-Men movies weak but failing to commit is also why the Avengers movies have also been weak in my opinion.

        The reason I tend to try to only measure superhero movies against themselves (or possibly video game movies) is because so few of them can stack up against “movies as a whole.”

        Spider sense is based upon a spider’s ability to detect aggression. e.g. if you have ever tried to squash a spider you have probably found it just stands there on the wall until you get that tissue in hand and start moving in for the kill. Once you have that killing intent (even if you are still moving slowly) it somehow decides to react and scurries away or in some cases, may even jump away. In the comics it is basically a state where a sense of heightened awareness kicks in when danger is near and over time he develops trust in the sense and he knows to react instantly (possibly coupled with a burst of adrenaline).

        If you watch the originals there are times when it sort of abruptly kicks in. When he is delivering the giant stack of pizzas on his moped is one example, the Green Goblin’s final glider attack is another. In those cases his visual cue was him lifting his head, sensing danger was there. I think the first fight with Flash was pretty decent portrayal in that if you pay attention to it, time only slows down for him when the punches are flying… and while that is imperfect, it would be too difficult to give a perspective on something that would take place in say, 1/30th of a second. In the book his spider sense was usually drawn by jagged lightning bolt shaped solid lines radiating from the sides of his head.

        On a side note, I expected a little bit more immature perverse joking about the Shocker.

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      6. Thank you for explaining the spidey sense. So in that light, Spidey would have harder time during a fight against an opponent of the same caliber as in abilities, cos since then danger would be always present? 😛

        I hardly ever compare movies from different genre with each other cos I feel like it’s just apples and oranges. I also picture I have different departments in my head enabling me to enjoy movies and sometimes the same emotions from different genre. Like say action movies, some people just do not enjoy watching them even if the story, the plot, the action and character development are equally as good as any Oscar-winning drama. It’s a pity, and I heard a terrifying story of my 40-something friend who said that he grew out of action which he used to love. The same goes with horror. Definitely not a genre for everyone, and most can’t watch one no matter how good it is. I just hope that I would never lose any of my ‘departments’. 😛 And I hope I just would gain new ones as I get older. But I highly doubt French art house is ever going to be a thing. 😀

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      7. No problem. Trying to elaborate on it a tad more, I think that it is more of a moment by moment thing and it only seems to affect dangers that he does not already perceive. e.g. if he’s fighting someone in front of him it doesn’t go off, but if someone else sneaks up and takes a shot from behind, it would alert him to the unseen danger. It’s one of those powers that they just sort of used it when convenient to explain how/why a lot of the time.

        I try to avoid comparing genres as well, but there are rare cases where something is strong enough to transcend boundaries. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes to mind as something that holds appeal well beyond the kung fu genre.

        If you also look at the societal memes from before people knew what a meme was… these happen so rarely unless a movie comes out that has enough appeal to where pretty much “everyone” sees it. Star Wars, Rocky, Back to the Future, Wayne’s World, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Austin Powers, etc. (There are always a few cuspers like Poltergeist, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, or the Matrix). Spiderman’s “With great power comes great responsibility” did actually reach this level and managed to transcend its genre.

        It usually takes a film that is very special to manage to pull that off. I think the easiest way to keep interest in a genre is for good movies to be made in said genre that don’t have to rely upon fanboys, reputation, and the like. The current trend for confused direction 3 and a half hr action films that struggle to portray scenes with the appropriate weight unfortunately aren’t doing a great job of that right now.

        I stopped watching Horror when it became all about grossing people out and/or relying on surprise/shock. Well, that and Takahashi Miike’s Audition… I couldn’t finish it and it seriously haunted me for years after… in a bad way.

        Take care.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Oh I strongly disliked Crouching Tiger. XD I thought it was incredibly pretentious, but I guess that was the Chinese in me. 😀

        About the pop culture savvyness, I can assure you, it’s very rare outside of US. 😀 I’m not even talking about people my age, or people younger than me. Even the famous ‘With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility’, I would think about 20% would know exactly where it’s from or what it means, maybe 30% had heard it but have no idea what it’s about really, and the rest 50% have absolutely no idea of it. And I’m being very generous here with those numbers. Out of my 30+ years, I know exactly one person that’s pop culture knowledge is even close to my level and I’m just a entry level nerd. 😀

        Pity you didn’t like Audition. 😀 I like it a lot and other Miike’s work too. I had a strong J-horror phase in my twenties.

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      9. Crouching Tiger is pretentious, but it is also beautiful and that was necessary to gain any kind of foothold here. Martial Arts films are seen as garbage here. Hell, the Karate Kid is the most famous film that has any link to any form of eastern martial arts.

        Pop culture unity is dying. Partly due to too much variety being available but mostly because there aren’t enough movies worthy of it.

        I seem to remember you saying that the When They Cry (the Japanese title eludes me at the moment) anime was too disturbing for you last year, but you are okay with Audition? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Oh and I do admire the way Crouching Tiger wriggled its way in. 😀 Guess it also tells something about the Oscar crowd. 😛

        Actually I’ve only seen clips from that infamous anime. For some strange reason, I’m usually more okay with live-action than anime, cos I know there’s really no limit how far they would take the anime. 😀 I know, twisted logic, but Audition is not nearly close to the most disturbing J-horror I’ve seen. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I still think Crouching Tiger was great :p

        It is funny with gore. I can handle killing just fine. I get disturbed by maiming, dismemberment, and the like when there is effort to keep the person alive. I only watched the first season of When They Cry and the finger nail ripper outer machine had me covering my face and watching through a crack in my fingers.

        Certain things you can’t unsee.

        Like

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