Movie Review: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

July 20, 2017
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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Brings Home The Action, Thrills

But the third iteration of the iconic web-slinging super hero is not your family-friendly neighborhood Spider-Man due to its excessive foul language and mixed messages

The third time is the harm, not the charm, in terms of family friendliness for the third film iteration of the iconic web-slinging super hero.

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments, Spider-Man: Homecoming is full of action, thrills, humor and a strong moral, redemptive worldview. But the summer blockbuster is tainted by more foul language than the previous “Spider-Man” movies and some mixed messages.

The most disappointing and alarming part of the movie is its nonchalant reference to pornography in a key scene. Unfortunately, the filmmakers didn’t take to heart the famous Spider-Man credo of “With great power comes great responsibility.” The inclusion of the porn bit, which is played off for laughs, shows great irresponsibility. Because of all this, strong caution is advised for impressionable young children.

The film begins with a callback to that infamous battle scene in Captain America: Civil War when Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) recruits 15-year-old high schooler Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to tag in with the Avengers.

Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City, while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man.

However, Peter is antsy and impatient to get back into the fray with the Avengers, but is constantly told to wait by Stark and his chauffeur/right-hand man Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau).

Meanwhile, working class contractor Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) has been scooping up scraps from space junk left by aliens that destroyed New York in The Avengers. The aliens’ exotic and powerful tech has been developed into black market weapons by Toomes and his crew. With his mechanical wings, Toomes is transformed into Vulture, who will stop at nothing to continue his lucrative under-the-radar business.

The film features non-superhero elements and there is no I-have-to-save-the-world battle at the end. It’s basically a coming-of-age teen story focused on the high-school life of Peter. He has awkward interactions with other superheroes, is a street-level hero and he struggles to balance his double life.

Incidentally, the filmmakers have stated that the movie takes inspiration from John Hughes’ comedies from the 1980s about teens and high school, including The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink. Spider-Man: Homecoming even manages to include a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

On the plus side, the special effects are top notch, especially the hi-tech Spider-Man suit, which includes a mini drone and taser webs. Many of the gadgets were ideas that appeared at one time or another in the “Spider-Man” comic books over the years. This also the first “Spider-Man” film where Spider-Man has his iconic web wings from the comics.

The funniest parts of the movie feature Chris Evans as Captain America, showing up via public service announcements played at Peter’s high school.

Referencing a school dance, the “Homecoming” part of the title is a nod to the return of the character to co-ownership by the Marvel Studios. Holland will reprise his role as Peter in the Spider-Man sequel, which is already slated for release on July 5, 2019.

Director Jon Watts is in talks to return for the sequel to the hit Spidey film, which has earned $467.3 million worldwide in two weeks. The next film’s story will pick up after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, which is set to hit theaters May 4, 2018, and will also feature Holland as Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Homecoming was deemed a box-office hit after it opened to $117 million domestically on July 7. However, the film is deemed a miss when it comes to family friendliness.

What To Watch For: Spider-Man: Homecoming is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments. Peter’s nerd friend, Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), gets caught by a teacher on a computer at school while helping Spider-Man. He lies that he was watching porn, which typically generates big laughs from the audience. Peter is repeatedly called “Penis Parker” by a bully. At one point, people chant it at a party. A middle finger is shown in one scene. There are more than 20 obscenities, nearly 10 light profanities and God’s names is misused several times.The final line of the movie is an incomplete “What the f–?” Peter is offered a drink but declines, stating that he is too young drink. A character gets disintegrated by a piece of alien weaponry, though it was called an accident moments later. Surprisingly, he’s the only character who dies in the film. In two separates scenes, people are trapped in an elevator that is about to fall, and a ferry boat with passengers is split in half. The Vulture has glowing green eyes and is frequently shot to look intimidating, which may frighten younger viewers. At one point in the movie, a character is crushed underneath rubble and screams out in distress.

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Eric Tiansay is a freelance writer with more than 20 years experience working as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor as well as writing for numerous Christian publications. Originally from Reno, Nev., Eric moved to Florida, where he became a Christian. An avid angler, film aficionado and fitness buff, Eric is an active member of his church along with his wife and five children.

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