Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on July 9, 2017 @ tonymacklin.net.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is in 3-D. Diversity, diversity, and more diversity.

It seems like a film made in the computer.

The characters are portrayed by an array of actors of various races and backgrounds. Liz, Peter Parker's love interest, is played by Laura Harrier, whose father is African-American. Ned, Peter's best buddy, is played by Jacob Batalon, whose parents are Filipino. Flash, a Marvel icon, is played by Tony Revolori, whose parents are from Guatemala. [Revolori changed his name.] Michelle, Peter's classmate, is played by Zendaya, whose name comes from the Shona language from Zimbabwe. The school's principal is a Korean actor.

I applaud diversity, but in Spider-Man: Homecoming it seems too calculated. It's hop scotch across the world. Television's The Flash has diversity, but it seems natural, not forced.

Manipulation is an important factor in cinema. Hitchcock was the master. But he did it with style, grace, and understatement. The makers of Spider-Man: Homecoming are contrivers. It may be just me, but I felt shamelessly manipulated.

Part of the contrivance is due to the writers. There are six credited screenwriters. Six - that's a real focused vision. The first two of them are Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who collaborated to write Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 - of course, not the original. Daley was an agreeable actor as Sweets in television's Bones, but that's not a sufficient reason he should write. Spider-Man: Homecoming should not be a forum for Daley and Goldstein to try and learn how to write.

The bevy of writers half-heartedly throw in an occasional line to make it seem contemporary. Michelle doesn't want to visit the Washington Monument, because "it was built by slaves." And a party is "gonna be dope." Ok, Stan Lee, if you say so.

Spider-Man: Homecoming seems to be challenging Dr. Who for reincarnations. It's Peter Parker Pastiche.

Tom Holland is boyishness incarnate. His youthful exuberance is very appealing. It's ironic that three recent action films have been grounded in credible performances by young male actors while the films around them lack credibility. Chris Pine in Wonder Woman, Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver, and Holland have given ballast to careening movies.

Michael Keaton is convincing as the villain. Marisa Tomei also is convincing as May Parker.

But as with the characters of different nationalities, the several actors who make cameo appearances seem on an easy conveyor belt.

Director Jon Watts keeps matters moving and Spidey leaping. But his reimagining has much less of the freshness that actor Tobey Maguire and director Marc Webb created in the past.

Their films had a spirit that Watts doesn't achieve.

The computer took the spirit out of Spider-Man.

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