It’s surprising that the sixth Spider Man film, second reboot and third attempt at launching a Spidey franchise in fifteen years (ponder that one, if you will), turns out to be the slightest and most inconsequential of all of the big screen films to feature the web slinging super hero. Surprising for many reasons, but mainly due to the much-ballyhooed decision of Marvel comics to use this film as a launching pad for the character into the Marvel universe where he’ll surely defend the world in future installments side by side with Iron Man, Captain America and the like.

Instead of coming off as a compelling film that can stand on its own, the film plays more like a two-hour television series pilot, albeit not one of quality, as opposed to a theatrical feature. Everything about the effort feels half baked and lame, from the film’s title to its underwhelming poster art and, of course, the movie itself. Stating that Spiderman: Homecoming is at the bottom of the Spiderman list is saying something when one takes into account the lackluster previous two Spidey films but that perhaps that will give you an idea.

Much has been made of the fact that star Tom Holland, who plays Spiderman/Peter Parker in the film, is such a good choice for the role. That much is true. It’s a shame then that he’s saddled with a cliché riddled script chock full of sitcom style jokes that are reused multiple times throughout and woefully underwritten characters that have about as much depth as a pool of water.

The film opens with a sequence that transpires eight years before the events of the rest of the film wherein contractor, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his team have been tasked with cleaning up alien debris left behind from a previous tussle with the Avengers. He’s promptly notified by a group of government of officials notifying him that his services are no longer needed. This gives the Marvel Comics team an ample opportunity to shoehorn in their social statement about working class America but never mind. Adrian keeps some of the debris himself and, years later, fashions a suit out of the material which allows him to become Birdman, I mean, Vulture, whom we know we’ll tangle with Spiderman at some point.

The majority of the film follows Peter Parker through his awkward days as a high school student where he disappears with no explanation for large chunks of time to solve crimes as Spiderman yet no one seems to notice. He also manages to change into Spiderman in broad daylight in NYC and yet we’re supposed to believe no one see this either but I digress. The writers (six of ‘em!) obviously are influenced by filmmaker John Hughes and try to infuse the scenes featuring Peter at school with the type of feeling found in Hughes’ films but it falls flat. They obviously haven’t gotten the memo that in order for that to succeed you must have characters who seem real instead of ridiculous stereotypes and stock characters  which is all you’ll find here.

Like all Marvel universe films, Spiderman: Homecoming is chock full of teases and references (Iron Man is featured prominently) to past and future installments. My eyes rolled around in my head like so many marbles as I couldn’t escape the feeling that I’d just sat through a two plus hour commercial instead of an actual film. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.

Spiderman: Homecoming is playing in Hickory and all around this area.

Tom Holland in “Spiderman: Homecoming”

Questions or comments? Write Adam at [email protected].