Spider-man: Homecoming

This isn’t so much going to be a review as it is going to be a rant.

Spider-man is a good movie. I enjoyed it. As far as embodying the character of Spider-man as a teenager dealing with teenage issues and featuring an almost-teenage star, it’s great. I enjoyed seeing an actor in the role who didn’t look 40 years old when they zoomed in for a close-up.

One detriment to this situation is the personal–not superhero–struggles of the character seem a bit inconsequential. I’m not sure much could have been done about that, other than to not make him a teenager dealing with (what every adult knows) are petty concerns in the long view.

But let’s get down to the meat of my criticism.

I think Spider-man, more than any other superhero, is a kid’s superhero, and by kids I mean like 6 year-olds. In the lobby of the theater I saw the movie in there was a dad and his son in line to get popcorn. Said son, who was probably in the aforementioned 6 year-old range, was fully decked out in his Spider-man costumer. He was ready, and I mean READY, to see Spider-man.

Spider-man, probably more than any other character, is a gateway superhero that will lead many young fans in the full and rich world of comics.

With that in mind, I think this places some responsibility on the shoulders of the movie, first and foremost to be an appropriate movie to take a 6 year old to. Spider-man is rated PG-13, and that’s appropriate for its content, but it’s also too bad, because 12 or 13 is probably the youngest person who should see the movie. They should have gone straight PG and here’s what they could (and should) have left out.

I’m sure plenty of 6 year-olds have heard the word “bullshit”. This isn’t a deal breaker. Nevertheless, the script could have easily gone with another word to get the meaning across. Not a biggie, like I said, but not necessary to the movie. The “Penis Parker” chant led by bully Flash was probably funnier to the 6 year-olds in the audience it was to me, so no issue there.

With the minor annoyance of language aside, let’s get the scene that I think is inappropriate. Scene spoilers ahead: it won’t ruin the movie, but you will know what happens in this one scene. If that bothers you, read no more…..

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There’s a scene where a friend of Peter’s is in the school computer lab after hours being the superhero sidekick. A teacher wanders in and asks what he’s doing, to which the character replies “Watching porn.”

It’s supposed to be funny, but it’s not. It points to a problem that goes largely ignored in our society. I’m no prude, and I’m not going to get into specifics, but the normalization of pornography is a bad thing, especially for young people with little or no sexual experience. Do some research, if you’re so inclined, to learn about some of the problems people are having related to this issue.

I cringe to think of the parents who had to field the puzzled question from their young one: “What’s porn?”

Or maybe my expectations of the worldliness of a 6 year-old are old-fashioned.

I hope not.

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