I am probably the last person in the world to see Spiderman: Homecoming and so will probably have nothing new to say in terms of a review. Just in case you haven’t seen it, if you like action or superhero movies, you should. It’s a good take on Spiderman (92% on Rotten Tomatoes), with a teenage Spiderman and the troubles that go with that premise. We have an actually age-appropriate Aunt May and all that jazz. Plus, no rehashing of the origin story that we’ve all seen a thousand times by now.
What I’m actually interested in, is the villain; Adrian Toomes aka Vulture. (Spoiler warning). For a superhero movie, the villain’s motivations are built almost intricately. Firstly, it starts with an acknowledgment, not just in an abstract sense, that the large-scale battles that we see in every movie come with consequences. There are cleanup companies and construction companies all over that are getting lots and lots of work out of all this. But then there’s also all of that alien tech that needs to be accounted for. And when some dickhead SHIELD (or similar) agents come to take Adrian’s big break contract away from him, it’s not a huge surprise that he decides to go rogue with the alien tech he’s managed to stash away. Seriously, there was no reason for that agent to taunt the guy whose business he was just party to putting a coup de grace to. He deserved getting punched. And, you know, when you get desperate enough, robbing a bank seems like a reasonable thing to do. But that’s just the thing; he wasn’t really that desperate. He has an expensive, gas-guzzling car that doesn’t make sense for his business, which means that he probably has at least one other car, like a pick-up, a giant house in the suburbs (although the house he lives in does seem out of place with the rest of the houses in that part of the suburbs) and a wife who wears designer clothing for just hanging out around the house. This is not someone who’s hurting for money. Sure, he’s not Tony Stark rich, but he’s still fairly well-off. Sandman Vulture is not.
And that in itself is a kind of sad commentary on the state of his life. And I’m not entirely sure if it’s his morals or if he just really feels so pressured to be the good provider that he never feels like he can reach out to his wife, who’s supposed to be a partner to him that maybe they should scale back on things at least for a while until he can pay off for the investments he’s made into the business to allow for it to grow. I mean, sure, there has to be something a little wonky inside him and the people working for him for the crime spree to happen and for them to decide that selling terrifying weaponry to local drug dealers is a good idea but ultimately he’s not a terrible person. Except for the murders. The murders are obviously bad.
All of this makes Vulture, for me at least, ultimately more of a pathetic figure or poorly thought out than a lot of the other superhero villains. He’s too much of a coward to have a difficult conversation with his wife, so instead, he chooses to risk his life over, and over, and over again. In a way, it’s a neat turn-around on the Spiderman of this movie, who’s hiding his activities from Aunt May not to keep her safe, but because of how afraid he is of how she’ll react to the fact that he’s Spiderman. And then, of course, echoed in Tony Stark who’s too afraid of what Peter will do if given full information of the situation he’s already involved in. I feel like none of this movie would have happened if any of these conversations had taken place and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. And much of that indecision stems from the fact that I don’t know if all of this lack of communication is intentional or not. It could be a commentary on the way modern Western society teaches men that it’s not okay to communicate about any other feelings than anger or lust. Or it could be just a factor of just how steeped in that culture the 8 different men credited for the screenplay are in that culture that they didn’t even realize that was what was happening. And maybe that sort of exploration isn’t even the job of a superhero movie. It sure would be interesting to find out though.