Let’s All Resist the Urge to Take Sides
I saw the aptly named Spider-Man: Homecoming Thursday night at 10pm at one of the many newly refurbished AMCs that has reclining seats and a bar and more children than should be out of their house at 10 o’clock at night. The film opens—after a short prelude introducing Michael Keaton’s The Vulture—with a recap of the events of Captain America: Civil War from the point of view of Peter Parker and it’s a pretty brilliant introduction to Tom Holland’s Parker and the official relaunch of Spidey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film keeps up that level of charm and fun throughout. After the two hours and thirteen minute run-time plus a little extra waiting on the after credits scene I sent out a few “Spider-man was good” messages to whomever I had previoously told I was seeing it. Not quite invariably, but close to it, the first or second part of the conversation was some version of, “was it better than Wonder Woman?” I understand the urge to compare films and TV shows and albums, believe me I understand it. But I think this lends itself to a strange inclination to pick sides that many people suffer from. Android vs iPhone, Xbox vs Playstation, cats vs dogs, Uber vs Lyft, Whole Foods vs actually having money after going shopping. There is a long list of these and if you’ve ever had the misfortune of finding yourself in any of these conversations you would be surprised how heated they can get.
But why have we let this become DC vs Marvel? This didn’t really start until both these companies became two of the biggest movie producers around. Back in the golden age of comics there were some people who would call themselves DC fans and some people who would’ve called themselves Marvel fans but the relationship between the two was much less Star Wars-Star Trek than it is today. Be it David Ayer, director of Suicide Squad—sorry, Academy Award winner Suicide Squad, shouting “Fuck Marvel!” to a cheering crowd:
Or be it any of the dozens of people you will probably encounter that swear by god that Homecoming was amazing and Wonder Woman was so overrated. I’ve never understood it. Homecoming was very different from Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is a very good war movie and the story of a heroine who finds her strength and conquers the literal god of war. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a very funny teen dramedy and one of Marvel’s better superhero origin movies that does us all a favor and actually skips the origin story.
I am a man of strong opinions that is of no surprise to anyone reading this. And I actually have a lot of opinions on many of the great debates of humanity listed above: cats are without question better than dogs, I’ve definitely been brainwashed by Whole Foods, and if you have an iPhone in 2017 I just pity you at this point. But the difference between much of the heated arguments that we all take part in and DC vs Marvel there is no need to made choice here. Unless you have the supreme displeasure of being Kevin Gates you more than likely have either an iPhone or an Android and not both. But you can see both DC and Marvel movies, that is allowed. I, like almost everyone else, have been disappointed by the output of the DC Cinematic Universe for years now; until Wonder Woman I don’t think that studio had ever produced a good film and if you take out Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy it’s been a very long time indeed since we’ve gotten a decent DC movie. If you want to count V for Vendetta it’s been a solid decade; if not, it wasn’t since 1989 where Michael Keaton himself played Batman that we got a good DC movie. But I never rooted for their failure. DC and Marvel both making good movies is only good for all of us comic book nerds. Until this year Marvel had a monopoly on the critical conversation when it came to comic book movies. Why bother getting better when there is no competition. Now that it seems like DC has there shit together we can all only hope this will push Marvel to be even better and vice versa.
So was Spider-Man: Homecoming better than Wonder Woman? A better question to ask and a much easier question to answer would be is this the best Spider-Man movie? Yes, it is, easily, and you can @ me Tobey Maguire fans.