Spider-Man: Homecoming got so many things right about the character of Peter Parker that the Raimi and Webb films flubbed, but I think the thing I like the best about Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is….he’s not very good. Don’t get me wrong, he’s enormously powerful, smart, and talented. Everyone can see it….however, he’s also just a high school sophomore and, by definition, kind of an idiot. There are two scenes that highlight Peter’s youth in the film in different ways.
My favorite is easily his attempt at a Batman-esque interrogation of The Prowler (Donald Glover). Badly utilizing his suit’s vocal scrambling, he spectacularly fails to impress Glover (who if we want to get super-geeky and project down the line a long ways, is the uncle of the Marvel Universe’s other Spider-Man: Miles Morales).
Downey Jr. and Holland have a fantastic dynamic as Tony Stark and Peter Parker, and 10 years into the MCU, you can have scenes like this one. Where we’ve seen Tony make questionable choice after questionable choice and in this kid he sees himself, but with the chance to do what he wanted to achieve with Iron Man sans his personal baggage. There is no more wisdom that Stark could distill from what lessons he’s learned when he snaps at Peter, “If you can’t do this without the suit, then you shouldn’t be doing it at all!”
Through 17 films, I would only count one MCU film as a disappointment (though some are certainly better than others) and that’s Iron Man 3. The only thing that has kept me from loathing the film more than I do was the Marvel One-Shot (I really miss those) that they did “All Hail the King” in which they fixed the film’s biggest blunder: making The Mandarin, Iron Man’s only good villain, into a complete joke.
Aside from The Mandarin debacle, Iron Man 3’s main problem is that it butchers Warren Ellis’ classic Extremis storyline, doesn’t do anything to advance Tony’s character other than blow up all his stuff, which he starts rebuilding before the credits finish, and the film generally stands outside of the MCU’s storyline. That’s fine for a lot of films, but Iron Man has been the backbone of the MCU since he started it, and to waste his last solo film was unforgivable.
There are two things about IM3 that are good enough that the film ekes out a positive rating (post-All Hail the King): Tony & Harley and the plane rescue sequence. I honestly could’ve done with a whole film of just Tony and that kid hanging out in Tennessee, but the film’s best sequence is a mid-air rescue of 13 free falling passengers after Air Force One is compromised. It’s an amazing F/X sequence, a great use of JARVIS, and some very creative problem solving by Tony. Would that the rest of the film had lived up to it.
Spider-Man: Homecoming just hit theaters, but already fans are speculating on who the sequel’s villain(s) will be. The answer may lie in Homecoming’s short, but telling mid-credits scene. Obviously, any speculation into the sequel will require delving into spoiler territory for Spider=Man Hmecoming, so if you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Alright, you’ve been warned!
The Origin of the New Sinister Six?
The Staten Island Ferry sequence has been heavily featured in trailers for Homecoming, but the players involved feature some familiar names: Adrian Toomes (Vulture), Mac Gargan (Scorpion), and Herman Shultz (Shocker). Toomes is providing arms to criminals based on Chitauri tech left over from their invasion in the first Avengers film. The ferry sequence is an arms deal that goes horribly wrong, badly injuring Gargan and marks a turning point in Peter’s development as Spider-Man.
In the mid-credits scene, Toomes meets up with a visibly scarred Mac Gargan, who wants some Spider-vengeance, and says he has some friends who want to get in on the action. He also accuses Toomes of knowing who Spider-Man really is (which by that point Toomes does). The Vulture plays his cards close during this encounter, but Peter cost him his family, and he already threatened to kill Parker if he interfered in his business. Peter most definitely interfered, and now Toomes knows there are some like-minded individuals who might share his revenge plans. Sounds like the seeds of a a super-villain team-up have been planted.
Who are the Sinister Six?
First appearing way back in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, The Sinister Six was a super-villain team organized by Dr. Octopus to try to take down the Wall Crawler. The first incarnation featured Ock, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, Sandman, Mysterio and The Vulture. Since then, there have been over a dozen incarnations of the team and Vulture, Shocker and Scorpion have all been members. For his high school years, as he’s still learning his powers, Peter seems to be fighting more minor members of his rogues gallery. Assuming Toomes breaks Gargan and his old crew out in Spider-Man Homecoming 2 be looking at a Sinister Six presumably armed with the type of tech-based weaponry Shocker and Vulture use in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Both character redesigns worked well, and Michael Keaton’s Vulture is a much more menacing adversary than his comic book counterpart. Following that logic, it makes sense that Vulture and Shocker would make up a third of the team with rebuilt, upgraded gear. Two other members present themselves in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which leaves two slots left for two new Spider-foes (possibly the friends Gargan mentions). So who fills out the roster of a new Sinister Six?
Mac Gargan is described in Homecoming as being somewhat unhinged even before he got fried during the ferry incident. In the mid-credits scene, Gargan (played by Better Call Saul‘s Michael Mando) already has a scorpion tattooed on his neck, and seems to want Peter dead as much as Toomes does. First appearing in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man #19, Gargan was turned into Scorpion as a part of one of J. Jonah Jameson’s badly planned schemes to expose Spider-Man as a public menace. A redesign on the level of Keaton’s Vulture is definitely in order, but Scorpion could be a very powerful adversary, and Mando’s an outstanding actor to bring him to life. The problem with Gargan is that he is more than a little insane, and he might fight Toomes for leadership of the group.
Phineas Mason first appeared in 1963’s The Amazing Spider-Man #2, and made his MCU debut in Homecoming played by Michael Chernus. The Tinkerer served as Vulture’s engineer, turning Chitauri salvage into various weapons that Toomes and his crew would either use or sell. Mason rarely seeks open combat and prefers to be the tech-guy for a crew. For a Sinister Six made up of non-powered criminals using advanced weaponry, Toomes retaining Mason’s services seems a no-brainer.
That takes care of the characters introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but there are two obvious choices who fit the tone and tech-based theme of this new incarnation of a new Sinister Six from Spidey’s rogues gallery.
There have been several Beetles over the years, but the original-Abner Jenkins-first appeared in 1964’s Strange Tales #123. A talented inventor and mechanic, Jenkins got bored with the 9-to-5 life and cobbled together a suit of armor somewhere in-between Iron Man and the redesigned Vulture from Homecoming. Beetle rarely has success on his own against Spider-Man and often serves as a henchmen in larger criminal organizations like the Sinister Six.
Fred Myers is a close associate of both Shocker and Beetle, and also uses weaponry that could easily be Chitauri-based. Boomerang has also been a member of several incarnations of the Sinister Six. First appearing in 1966’s Tales to Astonish #81, Myers is a native Australian, and former baseball star, drummed out of the majors for accepting bribes. He is traditionally more of a mercenary than someone who has a personal grudge with Spider-Man. He seems the sort of foe that would fall in line behind Toomes and Gargan if the money was right.
If there’s anything that Marvel has proven in the nine years of the MCU it’s that they know their characters better than anyone, and given the chance, no one can make them work like they can. Daredevil, Ghost Rider, The Punisher, Elektra, and any other character maligned by another studio has been fixed under Marvel’s watch, but none of them were rehabbed as dramatically and as quickly as Spider-Man was in Captain America: Civil War. Walking into Civil War, people didn’t know really what to expect from Spider-Man, but they were tired of him. Tired of movies that fell short, tired of actors ridiculously miscast or a decade too old for parts, and SO SO tired of the origin story. People walked out of Civil War, arguably Marvel’s best film, and one of the biggest takeaways was how much fun Spider-Man was in a movie that he really didn’t even seem to belong in. He just appeared and disappeared and we all remembered why he was Marvel’s biggest hero for decades. Spider-Man: Homecoming is an entire film of that vibe from Civil War‘s second act (and explains just how Peter got there and what happened next). It’s quite simply the best all-around Spider-Man film ever made with the best Spider-Man ever cast. It’s not perfect, but Peter’s still learning and Marvel with issue #16 has put down roots for a deep, deep home in the MCU for the webslinger. Continue reading Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) *Welcome Back, Spidey!!!*→
It seems pretty clear that Pirates 5 and Cars 3 aren’t going to be Disney’s next blockbusters. No, for that the Mouse House is going to have to wait for July 2nd and Spider-Man: Homecoming. This has looked like an incredible blast in every trailer including this final one that brings the focus back to the Tony/Peter relationship that managed to heal a decade worth of damage inflicted on the character by SONY in one act of Captain America: Civil War. If issue #16 of the MCU isn’t enough to get you excited on its own, Michael Giacchino leaked this bit from the scoring session for Homecoming. One of the MCU’s biggest flaws is (with one or two exceptions) memorable scores. Giacchino takes his talent for repurposing old themes and infusing them with his own style and takes Spidey’s cheesiest theme and makes it already the best character theme any MCU has. This is going to be a blast!