I hate reboots. There are perhaps few things I hate more than reboots than reboots of reboots. And yet, I must admit, this one works. And it works way better than expected. This film is, for me, one of the top 3 MCU movies. It might be the best, actually.
Very minor spoilers if you can believe it.
Despite reveling in the usual MCU glibness this film manages to overcome so many of the problems I have with the series and, were it not for a couple of little nitpicks with the film’s failure wrap up its loose ends, I think it ranks right up there with the latest Thor movie in terms of how much better it is than the standard MCU stuff.
The first thing I appreciate is the stakes: they are so much smaller than usual. Micheal Keaton’s character is just a blackmarket arms dealer. And though the film can’t help itself and the universe it belongs to – and so we have hundreds of people in peril because of course we do – for the most part the film stays true to its focus on “friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man”. Spider-Man isn’t trying to save the world, he’s just trying to stop the proliferation of weapons in NYC and prevent the odd robbery. I can’t tell you how refreshing that is from a series in which the world – and later the universe – is in danger every single movie.
But the real thing that’s appealing about the film is how it subverts expectations of these “teenage superhero” movies. Peter Parker is an extremely flawed person, just like all teenagers, and I really enjoyed how he wasn’t given the moments of last minute redemption that a lesser script – and so many teenager-centric movies – would have given him. Whether it’s failing to even make it to the decathlon or failing to tell his crush why he treats her so poorly, it’s impressive how they don’t let him have those moments. This is all by design, which is indicated by the reveal as to who MJ is, but it’s still appreciated in a film that could have easily just had him jump back and forth between being Peter Parker and Spider-Man and getting away with both.
My one nitpick is the wrap up: What the hell happened to Michael Chernus? And wrap up on Michael Keaton’s character just being webbed to the wreckage of the plane feels extremely lazy.
But still, as MCU movies go, this is just about as good as it gets.