Monday, July 10, 2017


          Yet another equally watchable and unnecessary Spider-Man franchise launch, this time featuring a couple of bad ideas antithetical to the comics.
          Blunder Number 1 is having Iron Man be Peter Parker's father-figure, supplying him with a high-tech suit and drones.  Come on, filmmakers! Batman isn't Superman's ward, the Hulk doesn't stretch like Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man isn't Spider-Man's dad, and Spider-Man's costume isn't high-tech. End of story.
          The second mistake, just as egregious, is making Peter's dear old Aunt May (Tomei) comparatively young and hot. What the filmmakers completely forgot is crucial: Peter wears a costume in the first place and keeps his identity secret in order to protect his sweet, frail aunt with the perpetually ailing ticker!
          Never any mention of good old Uncle Ben. Not even so much as a grain of rice in his honor.
          No doubt duly aware of their product's superfluity, the filmmakers try to freshen the flick by casting with an eye as multi-culturally diverse as possible.
          Like the previous superfluous Spidey, Andrew Garfield (a dude whose huge hair, by the way, could never fit right in the Spider-Man hood no matter how high the tech), this new Spidey, Tom Holland, is given the heroic task of having to be actorly in order to elevate the material. Again, bad idea.
          Which brings us to the very good idea of casting Michael Keaton as the Vulture. (No one ever calls him the Vulture, but we recognize the old villain in various ways.) True, Patrick Stewart might have made a good Vulture, and the best may well have been Robert Englund, of Freddy Kruger fame. Instead they went with Mr. Mom!
          It's cool as anything to see Batman as a bad guy, and Keaton is predictably terrific.
          As is the requisitely excellent look of the film. Looking just as if it all really was real. And with Spider-Man using drones now, too, almost as though in order to condition people's minds that using drones is heroic and fine.
          But why? Why another franchise launch when we already have the Sam Raimi-directed franchise starring Tobey Maguire?
          It's already been done. Why not try something new? Too much of the same characters monopolizing film becomes tiresome. Sure, this new one is a fun movie, and no rare thing there, but not an improvement. Why don't we see movie after movie about Nikola Tesla? He had jetpacks, laser guns, powerful Pogo-Stick prototypes, a couple of time machines, regular access to intergalactic prostitutes and everything. So who green lights these things, anyway?
          Tes-la, Tes-la!
          Let's see an independent documentary spotlighting that whole green lighting process. Or geez, at least give us a decent Werewolf By Night franchise.
          Spider-Man versus Werewolf By Night! Boy oh boy!

Starring Tom Holland,
Michael Keaton,
Robert Downey, Jr.,
Marisa Tomei,
Jon Favreau,
Laura Harrier,
Jacob Batalon
Directed by Jon Watts
Written by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley,
Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Based on characters created by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Runtime 133 minutes
Rated PG-13

Stewart Kirby writes for

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