In a matter of days, Spider-Man: Homecoming will be released in the United States and all around the world for the public to consume. With a new actor in the title role, a new director on board, and the reigns of story rights back to Marvel for their Marvel Cinematic Universe, the latest Spidey film looks like it’s being prepped to rejuvenate the Spidey film franchise back to its former glory of old. However, there are some obstacles in the way of the film that could prevent it from being a big crowd favorite. Many of those obstacles lie in the film itself.
Thanks to the bombs that befell the last two Spider-Man movie franchises, there’s a lot riding on this one Spidey film for it to be not only a huge success at the box office but also a widely critically acclaimed success. There are a lot of expectations on the shoulders of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and this rebooted franchise could instantly fall apart if those expectations are not met thoroughly in grandiose fashion. There are a number of factors (judging from some trailers and early reviews) that could prevent the new MCU franchise from being the success it desperately needs to be to go forward in the movie world. Here are a few reasons that we came up with.
15. Expectations Are Too High
There’s a lot riding on this latest adaptation of the Spider-Man comic book franchise. The character seems to be going back to his grass roots in the comics (i.e. he’s got his original web shooters), it’s the first Spider-Man movie under the MCU umbrella (or at least the MCU/Sony collaboration umbrella), it has a big cast composed of some major star power, and the action looks exciting, judging from the trailers. There’s a lot to be excited about for this movie, but with excitement also comes disappointment. When expectations happen to be this high, there’s no way that any medium can live up to those expectations without disappointing a select few people, or in some cases, disappointing everybody. This is one of those instances where high expectations seem to work against the rebooted franchise.
14. The Early Reviews
While Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t hit the theaters in the States until July 7th, there were some advanced screenings, which critics were given access to, and the early reviews are in. For the most part, with a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Spider-Man: Homecoming seems like a hit with critics. However, the few criticisms expressed by each critic are enough to be concerned about. Critics like Matt Singer over at ScreenCrush express that the film is far too busy for its own good. The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore called the film “frustrating” and “a creative misstep for the studio.” These are the kinds of concerns that we ourselves have expressed in this article, and if the critics themselves confirm them, these are gripes that may send fanboys into an absolute rage.
13. Too Many Cooks
The term “too many cooks” refers to too many people working behind the scenes on one project. When several of the creators have their own ideas on how a project should look and everybody tries to incorporate those ideas into the same pot, all we get is one big mess of a pot. Judging by everything going on in the trailers, Spider-Man: Homecoming could easily turn out to be one messy pot of a movie. Between the folks at Sony, the folks at Marvel, the director, and a team of eight writers who worked on the screenplay, there are a lot of cooks in this kitchen. Maybe too many cooks. This may be part of why the film trailers for this movie make it seem like there’s a lot going on in the movie.
12. The Director’s Previous Works
Jon Watts has only done two other movies before being given the keys to the latest Spidey franchise, the first being Clown and the second being Cop Car. The former was about a mild-mannered civilian slowly transforming into a killer clown monster, while the latter is about two young boys who come across a car belonging to a crooked sheriff. As if it wasn’t evident by those descriptions, these films are drastically different in tone compared to Spider-Man: Homecoming. To be fair, the director’s other movies are actually really good. It’s just that both Clown and Cop Car showcase an intensely dark tone. For Watts to pull a complete 180 with a superhero movie of such lighter tone is a risky move, one that could make or break his career. If it works, then he’s set for life. If not, then it’s back to the independent scene for him.
11. Too Much Going On In One Movie
In the few trailers that we’ve seen for Spider-Man: Homecoming, we’ve seen a handful of villains and a plethora of subplots on the horizon. In addition to being the usual comic book superhero romp, it looks like the film will work as a sort of coming-of-age story as teenage Peter Parker transitions along high school and runs into love interests, new friends, bullies, etc. — you know, the usual stuff that goes on in high school, apart from the web-slinging. There also seems to be a father/son dynamic between Parker and Tony Stark going on, or at least a teacher/student relationship. Then, there are a handful of villains in the mix to add some high stakes. That doesn’t even begin to cover everything we see in the trailers, and it already comes off as a mouthful. It already sounds like the film is going to be a lot to keep up with.
10. Iron Man Could Hog The Spotlight
Continuing their relationship that began in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker and Tony Stark are set to have a mentor/protege dynamic. While that dynamic saw Spidey appear in Civil War in what was slightly more than a cameo, Stark is given a bonafide supporting role in Spidey’s movie, which could be problematic if Tom Holland really wants to make an impression as the new Spidey. This is the first Spider-Man film since 2014, the first Spider-Man movie under the MCU umbrella, and it’s an all-out reboot to boot. Having someone as popular and charismatic as Robert Downey Jr. reprise his role as someone as beloved as Tony Stark could steal the show away from Holland, which could cause problems for the future of the new franchise when Stark isn’t around to have Holland’s back.
9. It Didn’t Work The Last Two Times
In less than two decades, we’ve already seen three Spider-Man franchises. Sam Raimi‘s franchise started out as a hit, but Sony decided to kill their franchise once it got its first whiff of unfavorable reviews with its third entry. The second franchise helmed by Marc Webb bombed thanks to bad reviews and poor box office returns from the second entry. Now, for the third time, Spider-Man has a reboot. Only time will tell if this new franchise turns out to be a bigger success, but if the past is there to teach us anything, it’s that the future doesn’t look too bright for the latest Spidey reboot. The fact that Hollywood has had to try for a third time to get Spidey right isn’t a good sign in itself. Maybe it’s a sign that perhaps, Spidey just doesn’t have what it takes to survive on the big screen. Again, only time will tell on this one.
8. All of This Change Could Backfire
With it being the latest in a long line of Spider-Man franchises, this latest effort has clearly tried to go the extra mile to separate itself from its predecessors. There have been many changes to characters and backstories we were all pretty familiar with up until this point. For instance, Peter Parker’s best friend is now Ned Leeds instead of Harry Osborn, Aunt May went from a frail and wise old woman to a hot and young-ish cougar, and the once physically imposing Flash Thompson is now closer to Parker’s size. And an entitled douchebag. These (among other changes) are all bold directions to go in for a franchise that audiences are so familiar with, but there’s enough change that audiences could reject it all as well. Shaking things up is all well and dandy, but for some fans, changing too much can make a work look unfamiliar — foreign to the point that they’d rather reject it.
7. The MJ Confusion
There seems to be a major confusion regarding MJ’s presence in the film that has had fans in an uproar. By the way, the following is a slight spoiler, so move on if you don’t want to be spoiled. To Spidey fans, MJ has always referred to Mary Jane Watson, the usual love interest entangled in Peter Parker’s web of romance. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the MJ we see isn’t quite the MJ we’re used to. A socially awkward but brilliant geek in the vein of Ally Sheedy‘s performance from The Breakfast Club, Zendaya plays Michelle, who befriends Peter Parker in the film. When the two become close friends in the end, Michelle tells Peter to call her MJ (Michelle Jones). Whether this is always how MJ was intended to be in this universe or just Marvel saving face in the wake of controversy is irrelevant as numerous fans have been in an outrage over Zendaya being in the role ever since she was first cast, all because her race doesn’t match the same race as MJ in the comics. This small pet peeve could keep hardcore fans from enjoying the movie as a whole.
6. The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
Spider-Man: Homecoming has been much publicized as being headed in a much more unique direction than any Spidey franchise has headed in yet, but when we break down all the changes, most things have remained the same. Some characters may look different or have slightly different backstories, but at the end of the day, it’s business as usual for the Spidey franchise for the foreseeable future. For those who are more reluctant toward the change, this is a godsend to figure out, but for those hoping for something entirely different, then the bar seems lowered for the franchise going forward. If Marvel truly wanted to enforce some change, then they would have gone all the way with it. Make drastic changes, like perhaps making Miles Morales the franchise leader and the new Spider-Man. But no, everything is business as usual, for the most part. In short, just more of the same.
5. Overused Formula
The formula for the third Spidey movie looks like it’ll be overly formulaic enough considering this is the third attempt at getting a Peter Parker-led Spider-Man movie right. There are only so many times we can tell the story of a boy getting bitten by a spider without it sounding dull. However, when one considers the typical Marvel Cinematic Universe formula, then it gets even more formulaic. The movies and shows within the MCU tend to follow the same beat, and after a decade of Marvel producing these works, fans are starting to notice. In fact, fans are not only starting to notice but also getting sick and tired of the same formula. If Marvel is reluctant to stray away from its formula and throw a couple surprises in here and there, then the film might be D.O.A. for the start of its franchise.
4. Overstuffed With Villains
One of the biggest gripes directed toward the most maligned Spidey film to date, Spider-Man 3, is that the film had too many villains. The same issue looks like it might be the case for Spider-Man: Homecoming as the film looks to focus on The Vulture, The Shocker, and The Tinkerer. There also happens to be two different versions of The Shocker, played respectively by Bokeem Woodbine and Logan Marshall-Green, which amps our villain count to four. Even though these villains are of much smaller scale compared to the high-profile trifecta of Venom, New Green Goblin, and Sandman from Spider-Man 3, that makes it even worse as Spider-Man: Homecoming could give us four boring villains all cramped into one. This could make the film feel exhausting with too much going on and not enough focus on a singular villain.
3. The Vulture Is The Main Villain
Among the trifecta of villains we have for this new Spider-Man installment, Michael Keaton will stand out as the main villain as he portrays The Vulture. While the Oscar-nominated Keaton has always proven to be an exceptional actor ever since he first donned his own superhero costume in the ’80s (Batman), The Vulture has neither been a villain to be excited about nor been one of Spidey’s greatest rivals. In the comics and the small screen, Vulture has always been looked at as one of those second-rate ne’er-do-wells whom Spidey never had trouble disposing of. He always was more of a pest that wouldn’t bugger off rather than a challenging adversary, so the film will need to do a lot of work to make him feel like a threat on the big screen.
2. Aunt May Is Too Young
Aunt May seems to be getting younger and younger in these movies. When played by Rosemary Harris in the Sam Raimi films, Aunt May was of the typical elderly age she’s always appeared as in the comics. Then, when played by Sally Field in the Marc Webb movies, she was slightly younger, but playing the role at 60-something was still close to Aunt May’s usual age. Now that she’s played by Marisa Tomei, who was only 50 when she was cast in the role, May hardly even looks the part anymore. From a generational perspective, it makes sense for Aunt May to be in her 50s while her nephew is merely 17-18. However, this is a creative decision that has had diehard comic fans in an uproar since Tomei was announced for the part. For some, this one minor gripe may get in the way of their enjoyment of the film.
1. Begins A Confusing MCU “Reality”
When it was first announced last year that a Venom movie was in the works, it was naturally assumed that he’d be apart of the MCU and that he’d be tangling with Spider-Man. However, it was clarified in March 2017 that the Venom movie will not be connected to the MCU or any of the upcoming Spidey movies. Then, to add more confusion, once Tom Hardy was cast as Eddie Brock, it was dubbed that he’d be a part of “Sony’s Marvel Universe,” which opens up a whole new batch of confusion. We know Sony and the MCU share the rights for Spider-Man, but to say they have two different universes revolving around the same character is perplexing. Then, Marvel released a statement that Venom isn’t in the MCU but is in the same reality as Spider-Man. They’re in the same universe, but don’t cross path, like how Agent Coulson sticks to Agents of Shield and not the MCU anymore. Still, for now at least, the whole MCU/reality distinction seems to only raise eyebrows in confusion rather than excitement or intrigue.
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