Apr 11, 2018

The MCU Roundtable: Spider-Man Homecoming

If you’re anything like us, than you were blown away when the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer dropped.  The extended Comics Cube family was so excited that we have decided to embark upon a full re-watch of the Marvel Studios film series.  Every week we are going to watch and provide a roundtable discussion about each Marvel movie in release order.  Next, the long-awaited return/debut of Marvel's flagship superhero!

Countdown to Avengers: Infinity War
Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming was released on July 7, 2017, and made $117 million on its opening weekend.  It ended its theatrical run at $334 million in the United States and $880 million total worldwide.

ANTONIO: I liked it, even loved some parts, but not sure I loved it as a whole. The warehouse scene in DC seemed to run longer than it shoulda, for one thing. And I guess I wanted something a little more stylized, a little funkier. Cast was cool, though.

DUY: For me, I think it's the best Spider-Man movie, top to bottom, I've seen, and Tom is the perfect high school age Peter. But it didn't have the impact of the first two Spider-Man movies, even though the cast is better top to bottom. And from a personal preference standpoint, Andrew Garfield is the closest to my preferred version of Spider-Man. I've never been an Ultimate Spider-Man fan. My favorite version is Ditko's version, which has more of an edge.

JEFF: I really enjoyed this movie when it came out, Holland is the overall best Parker to me and his performance was solid. He's the most relatable to me, which is an essential part to Spider-Man. It's funny but I've been rewatching Homecoming and the two Amazing movies this last week and I'd forgotten how much I liked the first Garfield movie. Both he and Holland did great as Parker conveying the outcast who can't ever fit in.

DUY: Yeah, I think Garfield really got that Ditko feel, the angry, controlled loner who's also just a genius. Too many people like to stereotype that era as him being a nerd, and I think that's because of flashbacks, mainly. Ditko's Peter was more loner/outsider than stereotypical nerd. And Holland is pretty much Ultimate Peter Parker brought to life.

JEFF: I love that they didn't redo the origin, something Warner Bros should take note of for the next Batman reboot.

DUY: Absolutely no need to redo the origin, but I think my biggest beef is that Peter isn't a loner in this one. They even mention it in the movie — Ned being the guy in the chair kinda gives this more of a TV setup.

ANTONIO: I think it’s nice that Peter has friends. It just makes him look like less of a jerk.

KATHERINE: Spider-Man is my sister's favorite superhero, she saw this probably like five times in the theater and it's her favorite of all the Spider-Man movies, hands down. It's so interesting how different the reactions are depending on your "version" of the character. I personally love the teen movie genre (shout out to Chris Evans' start in Not Another Teen Movie!) and coming-of-age stories are my favorites... probably partially a result of being a child of the 80s and 90s. So I absolutely loved that they made a superhero movie that also completely belongs in the teen movie genre. I don't think any of the previous Spideys did that. Even though they took place partially in high school, they didn't feel like superpowered John Hughes the way this one did. Thinking about it now, that probably has a lot to do with having the prom / big school dance at the same time as the climax. I really appreciate how Marvel is showing that "superhero movie" isn't one genre, it can be any kind of movie you want that happens to have superheroes in it.

DUY: Yeah, absolutely. I don't really have a love for the teen movie genre anymore (that peaked with 10 Things I Hate About You), and Peter is so, so ingrained in my mind as a certain set of things. But I think the weirdest thing for me with Spider-Man is that he'd be perfect for a TV series, and not for Netflix, but for your regular primetime hour-long show. He's got the supporting cast (especially with this movie, with Ned), he's street-level, the special effects wouldn't be so big, certainly not compared to someone like Superman, and he tends to have an episodic type of storytelling in general.

ANTONIO: You probably make more money in a movie, though. A lot more money. Netflix shows were basically made on shoestring budgets.

DUY: No yeah, the stature of the character is definitely for the movies. He's that big. But I think the ultimate paradox of Spider-Man as a brand is the fact that the character is street-level, small-scale compared to all these other big guns in the Marvel Universe, and that a character like him is really suited to an episodic TV show.

ANTONIO: He definitely sits above that line separating street-level and Avenger. Honestly, he’s probably the most versatile hero. One of the best set of skills and abilities. If he can’t beat you one way, he can beat you four other ways.

DUY: While I'm on the subject, I'm also gonna say he's the perfect video game hero. Everyone else has a powerset that can be approximated some way or another, but you can't approximate Spider-Man without coming off as obviously trying to approximate Spider-Man.

I liked it, even loved some parts, but not sure I loved it as a whole. -Antonio

ANTONIO: I think Michelle makes for an interesting modern twist on the Mary Jane character. Also, I will never, ever get enough of MJ fans shouting at the top of their internet lungs that she’s not MJ and that the MCU will have two MJs.

DUY: Michelle's character is pretty one note and is just a running joke throughout the movie. The MJ thing just feels like a branding directive more than anything.

JEFF: I think they just threw that in at the end to cause a shitstorm with "fans", give them something new to complain about.

DUY: I just feel like there's an opportunity to build more characters as brands outside of MJ and Gwen. The Dark Knight series has Rachel Dawes, who isn't even a comic character.

KATHERINE: I loved Michelle. Cool woke chick who didn't give a shit about what people think and who's not trying to be anyone's love interest. I thought it was a fun way to introduce a character who's clearly going to be a bigger deal in the future but didn't need to take up too much time in this one.

DUY: I was more annoyed that she wasn't Michele Gonzales. Also, in general, I feel like this would have been better if it was a Miles Morales movie. It even feels like it was written as a Miles movie and then they took him out and put Peter in. Not to say Peter is a whitewashed Miles; it just feels like the whole thing started as a Miles project.

KATHERINE: I totally get the criticism, but I think considering the planned longevity of the MCU, I think you still want to start with Peter and see him fighting alongside the original big-hitters while you still can (he'll probably just get that one chance with Infinity War). Miles is next generation that builds on and is informed by what came before, so I think we'll get to him later, but in the meantime they still wanted to diversify the cast in a way that feels familiar to the Spidey universe. It sounds like it's already in the works when you consider that Donald Glover was canonically playing Miles' uncle and he mentions wanting to keep his nephew's neighborhood safe. There's even a deleted scene where he calls Miles and tells him he can't make it (as he's still webbed to the car). Would you have preferred that the MCU start with Miles and never have a Peter in their universe? It feels like his origin should still have something to do with Peter.

DUY: I'd prefer it have started with Miles, actually, and treat Peter like they treat Pym. (Weirdly, I still wish they'd started with Pym.)The diverse cast got me to thinking a lot about how we view diversity. The fact that it really felt more like Miles to me kind of said, to me, that we'll diversify the cast as much as we want, but the lead character still has to be a white guy. And it's not the first MCU film to do that: look at any of the Iron Mans, Captain Americas, and Thors. Black Panther goes a huge way into changing that, but it did make me think that I'd want to see a multicultural diverse cast whose lead was a nonwhite character. I think that was the opportunity lost with Miles.

 I think the ultimate paradox of Spider-Man as a brand is the fact that the character is street-level, small-scale compared to all these other big guns in the Marvel Universe, and that a character like him is really suited to an episodic TV show. -Duy

DUY: The Vulture is a really good villain, at the time thought to be Marvel's best. I don't agree, but he is up there. The personal connection thing is such a big deal for Marvel, especially Spider-Man.

ANTONIO: I didn’t see the twist coming until Peter was at their door. And I’m glad they didn’t spoil it. That was one of those Holy shit! moments.

DUY: I was taken completely aback by the twist, partly because I'd read that Vulture was gonna be Michelle's dad, and not Liz's. And partly because I didn't think Liz was gonna be biracial. It was a unique way to use the racebend to set up the twist. There probably hasn't been a twist in an MCU movie that's surprised me so much, and that includes Hydra being in control of SHIELD.

I really appreciate how Marvel is showing that "superhero movie" isn't one genre, it can be any kind of movie you want that happens to have superheroes in it. -Katherine

DUY: Flash Thompson's reinvention into the nerdy bully actually makes sense given the current climate.

ANTONIO: I wish they’d used him better. If just to justify the change.

DUY: What's everyone think of Spidey lifting the rubble? I like that they tried it, but it's not quite how I imagined it. The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon did it pretty well from what I recall

ANTONIO: I liked how he panicked. That felt very real.

DUY: I think this movie has quite an excellent use of continuity from the MCU, and possibly the first non-sequel that is most reliant on it. Whether or not that's a good thing is up to you as a viewer. But from the onset, it's set right after the first Avengers, and basically goes into the common man away from the big guns. Also, it explores the idea of these heroes being larger-than-life personalities. Spider-Man is the big fanboy. And, as I am a Spider-Man fan, that's part of the disconnect for me, that he's the rookie.

JEFF: For those that liked this movie, my question is how much do you think you still enjoy it if it's not in the MCU? No Stark or Civil War–related references, Just Spider-Man trying to prove himself against the Vulture

DUY: Interesting question. Would it be structured as a setup to its own new universe?

JEFF: I think it would make sense as a reboot scenario

DUY: I'm a fan of Andrew as Spider-Man, so I think I'd have been annoyed, really.

DUY: Timeline is wobbly again here, this all supposedly takes place eight years after the first Avengers, which would place it in 2020. And Vulture grilling Peter in the car is an intense moment, but really Peter should have just punched his face.

ANTONIO: I think it shows that Peter is still just a kid, can still be somewhat intimidated by an adult, and of course lose his nerve on the spot when being outed. Is he just gonna punch the dude with no proof in front of his date?

DUY: His date left the car.

ANTONIO: She was still nearby.

DUY: No one could be blamed for punching Michael Keaton's face, have you seen it?

ANTONIO: It’s the lips. Way too distinct to ever play a convincing Batman. Him and Kilmer.

DUY: Kilmer can play a convincing anything, you heathen! Speaking of which, Keaton wins the Kilmer Award for me this week. And for comic recommendations, I'm gonna go with Ultimate Spider-Man.... the Miles Morales version.

JEFF: I'd recommend The Untold Tales of Spider-Man and the first three volumes of Ultimate Spider-Man. Lots of fun Spidey stories.

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