lOnly one entry in the new releases this week–the eagerly awaited debut film of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
1. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony/Columbia, 4,348 Theaters, 134 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 93% Fresh [167 Reviews]): There’s a lengthy article over at The Ringer about the problems Spider-Man is having in and out of comics. I recommend reading it, but let me give you my own take on his cinematic problems.
After a long period of development hell, Sam Raimi brings the character to the screen. This installment gives two good film that hew close to the comics featuring to well-defined, tragic villains. BUT then we get a third film where the producers insist upon adding bad-guys for Spidey to fight. The somewhat-well-defined Sandman takes a back seat to the flimsy Venom and weak Hobgoblin. The producers try the same thing for #4 so Raimi walks. Reboot time.
Then Marc Webb takes the reins and we get a more emo Peter Parker. Some might not have liked it, but I did. The reboot had potential, BUT it lost that potential immediately with its sequel. It shoehorned in an extra villain to do a half-assed job adapting a classic Spidey storyline into the film. It earned a boatload of money, but the boat wasn’t quite as large as Sony would have liked. Back to the drawing board we went.
Now, we get what fans have been clamoring for. Sony is partnering with Marvel Studios to give everyone the Spider-Man they always wanted. Reviews, including one by our own Rich Drees, have been positive, BUT Marvel is only involved in two of the three planned films in this revamp. And there will be “spin-offs” featuring characters that work best playing off Spider-Man. Characters who likely will not meet this version of Spidey at all.
So, color me excited about this film. I hope it leads to a long and successful franchise featuring the characters. But I see warning signs ahead.
Next week, the new releases bring us closer to a planet of the apes.