So, this one guy on my YouTube channel asked if I planned on doing a video review of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Being more of a games guy, I wasn’t really planning on reviewing a film— but then again, Killa-King Kong, you have a poop emoji as your avatar, which can be very persuasive. I can only assume that you’re really Patrick Stewart posing the question. And who am I to deny Captain Picard?
At the same time, it’s been a full half-week since the movie hit the U.S. — and that’s, like, years in internet time. As far as an actual review is concerned, I’ll just put it succinctly in the film’s own vernacular: I larbed it. It’s great. I could go into why, but so many folks have already. I want to do something that stands apart.
In the aftermath of two viewings, I’ve read reviews, , listened to relevant podcasts, and I’ve watched videos and perused articles on Easter eggs. The last of those particularly interests me as someone who’s probably flipped through tens of thousands of pages of Spider-Man comics while working on Marvel video games for seven years, which helped me spot a ton of fan service I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Lots of Easter eggs were spotted by others, like my internet friend Dan Gvozden of The Amazing Spider-Talk, who wrote a great piece for The Hollywood Reporter. I spotted great references like Peter David’s “ When Cometh…The Commuter,” Aaron Davis actually being identified as “The Prowler” by Spidey’s HUD, Silk as a classmate, and of course, the reimagining of a classic moment from The Amazing Spider-Man #33 — but so has everyone else at this point, thanks to these articles.
Still, especially coming out of my second viewing, I did make a few observations that simply haven’t yet been voiced…at least not in the places I’ve looked for them. Let me know what you think of these…
**MASSIVE SPOILERS FROM HERE ON**
The Superhero Soliloquy
The movie wins us over early on, when we flash back to Civil War from Peter’s perspective, as he films pretty much everything — even mid-battle! Many have — I believe, rightly — equated this to the MCU’s version of taking pictures for the Daily Bugle (though I still want that in the sequel badly — especially J. Jonah Jameson). But once he’s back in his hotel room, he’s saying all kinds of things most of us really wouldn’t say out loud — just like superhero soliloquies in comics. Happy Hogan bursting in to say “the wall’s are thin” is the perfect cap to the charming silliness of the moment.
Everything Is Kinda Spidey’s Fault
Much like the comics — and this is a recurring theme with other heroes like Batman as well — the case could be made that nothing bad in the movie would have happened if Peter had never suited up as Spider-Man to begin with. Would Mr. Delmar’s deli and an entire half-block of Queens have been destroyed by superhero-masked robbers if not for the wall-crawler’s meddling? Would the Washington Monument have begun crumbling to pieces, endangering the lives of his classmates, if he hadn’t first secured the alien tech that Ned was holding onto? Would the ferry have split in half if Spidey hadn’t shown up to unsuccessfully stop Toomes’ crew? Would all of those poor school buses the Shocker took out have been destroyed if Peter hadn’t abandoned Liz at the homecoming dance? He ultimately may have stopped lots of crime and death resulting from the illegal weapons trade — but not without costing taxpayers millions along the way.
Flash Is a Man of Action
At first, I really hated the movie’s treatment of Flash Thompson, and I’d be lying if I said part of me didn’t still want him to be a jock — that’s where Eugene got his nickname, anyway (sounds much less forced than “DJ Flash”). Anyway, he’s still appropriately abusive — and during the Washington Monument scene, you can sense a bit of an inner hero for the man who will eventually serve in the armed forces and become a good version of Venom as well. While every other student is standing around scared, figuring out what to do, Flash proactively escapes the elevator so that he can get to the top and help his friends. At least that’s what I’d like to think he planned to do — Spidey shows up right at that time and takes care of all the heroics. But perhaps Flash’s day will come?
Aunt May Disapproves of a Superhero
In classic comics, Aunt May often points out how much she disapproves of “that awful Spider-Man.” She doesn’t say anything like that here (probably because there’s no Daily Bugle to defame him, but again — let’s hope that happens next time!). But there is a moment where she says, “I’m not a fan of that Tony Stark.” It’s nice to see her hating on someone heroic — though her reasons are probably of the justifiable “he’s a creep” variety.
Probably Not THAT Scorpion
Pretty much every piece on Easter eggs points out that the guy known as Mac Gargan will become the Scorpion — and then they show a picture of him in his classic green scorpion costume. Based on Gargan’s appearance in the film, I really don’t think he’s going to end up that way, at least not for a long time. From what I’ve seen, only Dan Gvozden’s THR article has pointed out that the Ultimate Comics universe had its own version of the Scorpion, and his tattoos — not to mention, his eye scar — seem way more in line with the MCU’s interpretation. I’d love to be wrong, but I don’t see anything more “Scorpion” happening with this character than maybe some kind of Chitauri tech that gives him a tail to whip around or something.
Spidey Doesn’t Kill
Karen asks Peter a couple times if he’d like to set his webs to “instant kill.” Peter refuses. And he always will. Spider-Man doesn’t kill. Ever.
Michael Keaton Gets All the Great Awkward “Superhero Finds Out He’s With His Nemesis” Moments
The twist that Toomes is Liz’s dad confused me at first because I could have sworn I heard her last name of Allan stated — nope! That was just all the hype — assumptions made by fans and press. She’s just Liz in the film, and both Peter and Toomes realizing who the other is ranks among my favorite moments in a superhero movie, period. It’s the best scene like it since the masquerade in Batman Returns, when Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle — the only two not in costume at the party (or maybe they are wearing costumes…) — both realize their alter egos.
The Spidey Hammock
I have no idea where the idea originated, but a hammock made of webs comes straight from the comics.
Time to Eat
Early on, we see Spidey taking a break to eat a burger. It immediately reminded me of this panel from The Amazing Spider-Man #51 (better known today as issue #492).
One of the first things we see once Spidey and Vulture reach Coney Island is the word THUNDERBOLT, lit up brightly in neon lights as they begin their fight at the iconic amusement park. There’s even a shot a little bit later where the ride is perfectly framed (if a bit blurry) behind Vulture, ready to strike. Could this be a hint that Adrian Toomes could become a founding member of Marvel’s team of villains forced into heroics, known as the Thunderbolts? I don’t believe Vulture has ever been part of that unit in the comics — but he’d be a great founding member in the MCU. Imagine the Suicide Squad movie, but good — with the likes of Vulture, Whiplash (oh, wait…he’s dead), and — I dunno — maybe Abomination, Leader…and Loki for some extra awesomeness. Won’t happen, but it’s fun to dream…
Abraham Brown — I Don’t Buy It
Finally, an anti-Easter egg for you. Pretty much every background character on Peter’s academic decathlon team is identified with a single name in the credits that can be justifiably equated to a character from the comics — Sally is Sally Avril, Cindy is Cindy Moon, etc. And then there’s Abe. Peter never went to school with a guy named Abe in the comics, but the internet REALLY wants to declare this kid to be Abraham Brown, the brother of Hobie Brown, who was the first character to take on the Prowler moniker. Thing is, he originated in the Master of Kung Fu comics and has only met up with Spidey a few times. If the character played by Abraham Attah — yes, his real name is Abe, too — actually is supposed to be Abe Brown, it’s a really forced reference. Why not just go with Hobie, who’s way more closely linked to Peter? My thought: He’s Abe because his actor’s name is Abe. That simple. He’s just Abe.
Actually, if we’re going to force an identity to him, here’s my theory, which I consider just as valid: He’s Hotshot. Yeah, that’s right — a character from 1970s Hostess ads. Believe it or not, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe actually acknowledges his existence, and Abraham James here is declared an “old foe” of Spidey’s in the very strip you see above. Maybe in the sequel they’ll have Abraham Attah eating a Twinkie to confirm this link…