Spider-Man: Homecoming…Uh, What Can I Say?

I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming last Thursday.  Then I went to see it again Saturday night, for my birthday movie.  (YAY!!!)  But for some reason I still hadn’t written about it.  When I saw Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 it took me over a month to be able to process my emotional experience and figure out what I wanted to say.  That wasn’t the case here.  When I saw Wonder Woman I was so in awe I had to write about it immediately.  That wasn’t the case here either.  Last night I realized why this post hasn’t been flowing and, in so realizing, I found the post.  So, are you ready to talk Spider-Man: Homecoming (in a spoiler-free environment)?  Are you ready to learn what caused my writing freeze?

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I know Peter…I know.  I was surprised too. / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

I have nothing to say about this film.

Now, I can speak generally of course.  I do think Spider-Man: Homecoming was an absolute blast.  The film was so much fun!  I loved seeing an awkward Peter navigate high school while trying to prove he deserves a seat at the adult table of superheroing.  I thought the casting was exceptional.  I enjoyed the humor, timing, and tone of the film.  But there’s no reason for me to say all that.  You’ll find that anywhere you know?  I didn’t find anything exceptionally mythical, symbolic, theological, or emotional to explore.  It’s not that some of those themes weren’t touched on; they were.  But I felt to explore those as they were presented in the film would just end up as a version of a post I’ve already written.

I know this can come off sounding like I didn’t enjoy the film.  That’s  not true!  And I certainly don’t want to give that impression.  I’m very happy to see Spider-Man is finally home, where he belongs, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I really enjoyed the film.  In fact, I loved it even more with my second viewing.  Being a character as close to my heart as Spider-Man, it’s always hard to keep all my thoughts and expectations out of my head for the initial viewing.  That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the first, but my attention is never solely focused on the film.  With screening #2, I can just be in the movie.  I did thoroughly enjoy the movie.  I would happily go see it again.  I will happily buy the Blu-ray when it comes out.  But that’s pretty much all I have to say about it.

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How great is it when Spidey pulls his mask up?  Ha, classic. / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

When people ask me about Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 or Wonder Woman I go on and on and on (and on (I know, readers of this blog may be surprised to learn I can ramble a bit)) with everything I loved about the film, everything I saw in the film, and all the ways the film touched me.  I have to actively work to not accidentally spoil anything because I loved the films so much I want to talk about everything!  When someone asks me about Spider-Man: Homecoming I generally say, “I liked it!  It was a really fun movie!”  Then I say something about it honoring Spider-Man’s character or you could tell that the people making it loved Spidey or something generic like that.  Again, it’s not that I didn’t like the film, I just have nothing to say about it.

This, in and of itself, is weird for me.  I still have vivid memories of the opening night for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in 2002.  That movie blew my mind.  Now remember, growing up a child of the 80’s and adolescent of the 90’s there weren’t superhero movies all the time.  In fact, there was pretty much only Batman at the theatre when I was a kid…and I don’t really dig Batman.  Yes, the X-Men had arrived care of Bryan Singer two years earlier but, while exciting, they were bouncing around in black leather.  Spider-Man was the FIRST TIME I went into the movie theatre and saw what I read in my comic books come to life in a way that actually felt like those comic books.  I still love that movie.  I still watch that movie.  I still quote that movie.  And random quotes too!  Out of the blue David will look at me and just say, “Bike messenger.  Knocked me down.”  It became and remains an important part of my experience of Spider-Man.  He was living on in a new medium!

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This film DID have a super sweet homage to the Ben Reilly though in Peter’s homemade costume. Woo hoo!  Scarlet Spider for life! / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Then the unthinkable happened.  Spider-Man 2 came around in 2004 and it was even better than the first.  What?!?  Are you kidding me right now??  To this day, Spider-Man 2 is still one of my all-time favorite superhero films.  It holds a place in my heart for all it is.  In a lot of ways it’s more special simply because it gave us an authentic superhero experience before the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I’ve realized I can take the MCU for granted sometimes, forgetting what other superhero movies were like before it made bringing the comics to life accurately par for the course.  Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies mean a lot to me because they came before the MCU, were well done, and clearly made by someone who loves Peter Parker’s story.

With Spider-Man: Homecoming, and maybe it’s just a product of the Age of Superhero Movies in which we live, I didn’t have as emotionally memorable an experience.  It was fun.  I really enjoyed it.  It was another exciting superhero movie I loved but didn’t feel particularly special.  Wait…is this just a product of the age though?  I said above how unique and important both Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman were to me.  Hmm.  Well, for whatever reason, Spider-Man Homecoming didn’t feel like that.

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It DID give us the best friend we’ve ever seen Peter have on screen.  I love, love, love Peter and Ned.  They’re wonderful!  #bromancegoals / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

I do need to address this though.  Full credit for this spot goes to my brother, David.  Neither he nor I can figure out how I didn’t see this the first night we watched Spider-Man: Homecoming because it’s so crazy obvious but I needed David to point it out to me.  For some inexplicable reason, Marvel’s decided to get rid of Spider-Man’s spider sense in this film.  You know, his early warning danger sense that, combined with his speed, allows Spidey to dodge most attacks?  Yep, he doesn’t have it anymore.  I’m not sure why.  While they don’t expressly say he doesn’t have it in the film (nor give a reason for its absence (or even address it)) there’s no way he can have it.  At all.  What follows will be MAJOR SPOILER TERRITORY so I’ve put the next paragraph between four huge pictures.  If you haven’t seen the film, scroll down past the picture of Spider-Man and Iron Man suited up to find yourself in spoiler-free territory once more.  Because this list will contain every time I remember him being surprised in the film and is thus filled with HUGE SPOILERS.

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Look how focused his eyes are!  Spidey’s making sure you aren’t looking at spoilers when you shouldn’t be. / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Tony’s warning you…this is your last chance to look away.  You just have one little second left to scroll down! / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Are we good?  Please don’t read this if you haven’t seen the film.  I don’t want to ruin it for you but it helps flesh out my point.  Anyway…

First, Ned learns Peter is Spider-Man because Ned’s in his room when Peter sneaks in to change.  In the comics Spidey’s spider sense always alerts him when someone’s casually looking out their window so he knows it’s not safe to drop in his apartment.  The first Shocker hits Spider-Man when he breaks up their arms deal under the bridge.  The Vulture totally surprises him when he grabs him during the chase with the van.  He has no idea the “glowy thing” he picks up can be dangerous, let alone a bomb.  While his spider sense wouldn’t let him explicitly know it’s a bomb, it would let him know it’s dangerous.  He has to use his A.I. to track the spider-tracer, not his spider sense.  In the truck, he leaps up and knocks himself out, unaware the gateway has closed.  He has no idea Toomes is suiting up or about to attack on the Staten Island Ferry.  He has no idea the FBI is about to jump out, guns pulled.  He doesn’t know the Ferry’s still in danger until his A.I. tells him.  He has no tingle before Toomes opens the door.  When he runs out of the dance the second Shocker lays him out flat as he runs into the punch.  Peter doesn’t know Toomes’ wings are coming as he talks to him.  He doesn’t realize the structural integrity of the building is damaged.  The first time Toomes hits him  after the plane crash, makes sense.  His head was ringing and even if he had his spider-sense he probably would have missed that.  But the second hit?  His head was clear and a spider sense would have caught that.

While we’re in the spoiler bubble I might as well say the most exciting part of the film for me – by far – was learning that Tony and Pepper are back together!!!  Aaaaahhhh!!!!  Yay!!!!!  My heart swelled and I literally applauded in the theatre when I learned that.  WOO HOO!!!!  But, back to the overall film, I found it weird the most exciting part of this Spider-Man movie for me was learning Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are back together again.  I don’t know what that means but…huh.

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Peter is really sad…well, not just sad but disappointed if you looked at all those spoilers before you saw the movie. / Photo Credit – Spider-Man Homecoming

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Let’s swing back into spoiler-free territory.  Yay! / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

So yeah, this isn’t one tiny continuity error or something.  Clearly they either a) totally forgot Spider-Man has a spider sense when they were working on this movie or b) just decided to get rid of it.  As David also pointed out, they seem to have replaced his Spidey sense with Karen, his suit’s A.I. system.  Now he’s just kind of a younger Iron Man who sticks to walls you know?  It’s an…interesting direction, to say the least.  I’m not sure why they chose it but c’este la vie.  Tobey Maguire’s Spidey had organic webshooters.  Tom Hollands’ Spider-Man has no spider sense.

I did have a moment of excitement as Kalie and I were leaving Spider-Man: Homecoming regarding the upcoming Venom solo film though.  I’ve been bummed that they were going forward with Venom without having a feasible way for the symbiote to have any sort of connection to Peter before it bonds with Eddie Brock.  But then I remembered THE INFINITY WAR WILL BE FOUGHT IN SPACE.  So there’s a chance Peter can come in some sort of contact with the alien suit before it bonds with Brock!

To close on a few specific positive points, I did love, love, loooove Tony’s relationship with Peter.  I think Peter looking up to Tony and Tony trying to look out for Peter gave us an interesting dynamic, especially for how it takes Tony’s character into new territory.  I also think Michael Keaton was brilliant as Adrian Toomes/the Vulture.  I think this is perhaps the most fully developed villain of any Spidey movie yet.  He was dripping with menace but also absolutely human.  He was a villain forged of unfair circumstances, as all true evil is.  He was dangerous and in the wrong but you understood why he was doing what he was doing.  He was also super creepy in that suit too!

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Gah!  See?  CREEPY AF. / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

I’ll also say how much I loved how local the whole thing felt.  I’ve said time and again that Spidey is our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man for a reason.  He shouldn’t be saving the whole city every day.  He deals with smaller issues.  He’s the everyman.  This film was the best Spider-Man film yet in capturing this facet of his character, as far as I’m concerned.  I also adored the supporting cast around Peter.  I loved his friends!  Ned (Jacob Batalon) and Peter should be the Bromance Goals for a generation.  Flash (Tony Revolori) felt like less of a one note character (while still being a tool).  Liz (Laura Harrier) was strong and layered in her own right.  And Michelle (Zendaya)?  Yeah, I want a Spider-Man sequel just for more of her character!

So I really enjoyed Spider-Man: Homecoming.  I’m happy Spidey’s finally back where he belongs.  (I hope the Fantastic Four can somehow follow suit soon…)  And I guess that’s all I have to say about this film :).

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Ah Ned and Peter…so wonderfully awkwardly nerdy.  You go guys! / Photo Credit – Spider-Man: Homecoming

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33 thoughts on “Spider-Man: Homecoming…Uh, What Can I Say?

  1. I saw it last night and really enjoyed it. In fact I think I’d go further and say that this is a) the best spiderman movie we’ve had and b) the best MCU villain we’ve had in a while. Having said that and kind of related to your talk about his spider sense is it just me or did he not seem like your regular neighbourhood spiderman. You know the blue collar super hero and it was made all the more obvious by that sort of thing being the theme of the movie. In the old day Spiderman sews his suit, builds himself some gadgets and then off he goes to fight crime but in this one, as you say, he’s kind of just Iron Man who can stick to walls and not even through his own design. The movie kind of worked better when he was in the home made suit rather than the new fancy one. Like that was the Iron spider costume and now there’s no way to really do that story line in the upcoming movies.
    This isn’t the boy from the bonx who makes good, this is a boy from the bronx who got lucky and has everything given to him and it’s not as impressive for that. But maybe that’s just me

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You just blew my mind. No, for real. Like when I said David brought the spider sense thing to my attention? You just did that again because you’re absolutely right and I didn’t even think of this! Maybe that was part of why it did feel…off to me at times.

      That was always something I admired about Spider-Man as a kid too. I remember fantasizing about being so good at science I could build things like that myself. Tony giving him all the tech does change a fundamental part of who Spider-Man’s always been.

      Again, as I said above and as you’ve said here, it doesn’t mean the movie isn’t a lot of fun nor a great Spider-Man film. But this is another interesting choice on the part of the filmmakers that has a major effect on the character. I’d say this point is an even more fundamental change to his character than the spidey sense thing. It’s not just you. I’m with you 100% here.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It was a lovely day – some reading time, dinner/cake/hijinks with the family, and then a late showing of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’ It was (to be thematically on point about it) AMAZING.

      Like

  2. For someone uncharacteristically non-hyperverbal, u still put it marvel(KABOOM!)ously eloquently, good sir.
    Yet to find out what all th fuss is about, so thank u for th Spoiler Warnings!
    (As soon as I get back from my local popcorn parlour, I’ll come back here so we can xchange notes)
    Ciao!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yeah, I hate spoilers. That’s why I was as…shall we say crazy?…as I was in the above post :). I like to tell my students I’ll fail them in the pop culture class I teach if they spoil the movies we watch for students who haven’t seen them!

      As usual I’ll be excited to hear what you thought of the film. So is the Spidey post you’re prepping to go with the new movie or will you do a comic/Spider-Man in other films and then the ‘Homecoming’ post?!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I would really enjoy seeing Marvel tackle the Champions,
        the Young Avengers! Either animated, live action or both.

        Finally we are starting to see Marvel accomplish a multi-
        dimensional, multi-cultural environment in their film universe.
        These titles are ripe from the get-go. No need to drastically
        re-work the scripts, re-invent the wheel, or jump the shark.
        This is 2017, almost 2020, let us see the Marvel of the Future!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I honestly believe how Marvel goes about handling these sorts of things both cinematically and as they go forward with their comics, will illustrate where they stand in the future. Are they going to be leading the way with depicting our (as you so perfectly put it) “multi-dimensional, multi-cultural environment” or will they regress to what is “classic” since it was cool in the 60’s? While some of their Legacy adverts have me worried, by and large I’m really optimistic!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. U hate spoilers? Brad assassinated his! 😉
        Sign me up for that pop culture class, pronto!
        Just come back from th movie; 1st impressions; loved th John Hughes vibe they went for here! Michelle? That’s Ally Sheedy right there! So good to hear 1 of my faves: Flock Of Seagulls’ Space Age Love Song if only for an instant!
        Tom Holland was fantastic: capturing perfectly that awkward teen bundle, BUT he was GABBLING far too much – so was Ned, especially when they’re whispering frantically at each other!
        Th best elements of th movie by far were RDJ and Keaton.
        During your 3rd (and what th heck: 4th?) viewings: look out for th painting of Howard Stark on th mural in th school canteen, and when Peter is watching Spidey YouTube vids (how crazee is that?!) in Science class: the line of b/w photos of famous scientists – that’s Bruce Banner on th end(!)
        Watching your fave hero on th big screen on your birthday? As th kid himself said: “That’s awesome, dude!”
        Belated birthday wishes, Michael!
        CHEERS!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thank you for the birthday wishes Brad! It did shape up to be a pretty wonderful day. I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for Howard and Bruce Banner the next time I get to see this too!

        I’m with you – I found both Tony Stark and Adrian Toomes to be the most exciting characters in the film. I loved Tom Holland as Spidey and his journey, but what we saw with the layers to Toomes and the struggle with Tony to evolve as a more responsible character were so captivating.

        I’m glad you enjoyed the movie! I can’t wait for the Bradscribe Review!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Michael,

    It was different from the others and now the web is woven into the MCU movie network. Crazy way to end with Aunt May not completing her sentence. The story goes on, right? I wasn’t always a fan of open-ended stories with loose threads, but it leaves it open to discussion.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the different is good. It really allows the film to feel…what’s the word I’m looking for?…necessary. The open-ended nature is an interesting observation. With the MCU, while the films conclude in their own way, the story looks to always go on indefinitely. It’s wild to be in a film world where nothing is ever really looking to end! There’s certainly pros and cons to that approach but it’s a very different approach to cinematic storytelling for sure.

      Like

  4. As much as I can agree with you on a lot of points, I wasn’t as excited during the film as I was during the 2002 release, I was just as happy with the end result of the movie. And here’s why:

    One of the things that was originally a problem to me, was how easily Peter sews his own suit in the original trilogy as well as in the amazing spider-man. I feel like they really honed in on the fact that he is still in high school, he wouldn’t be able to sew himself a fully functional suit. So they did the next best thing, through his mentor, they gave him a functional suit. At the same time, we get that proto-suit that he uses with his own web fluid that works for him. He also had to earn the Tony-suit through his heroics. At the same time, they showed his genius during the film as he was sneakily improving his own web-fluid in certain scenes. This whole part really stuck with me during the film.
    High-school spidey was also always something I wanted to see in the movies, and I could really feel they stuck the landing on that front. Something I didn’t really see in the other iterations.
    In terms of his spidey sense – I agree it wasn’t really shown at all here, but I think there was a good reason for it. I think he has a Spider-sense, but he’s still so new to his powers that he probably doesn’t notice it himself. I have no sense of smell, and I only figured that out at the age of 15… something so obvious and it took me years to realize. During the film, you can tell he’s not 100% comfortable with the powers as his fighting style is very goofy and unrefined.
    But that is all speculation, I do hope they include it in the next one, and *SPOILER* from what I’ve seen in the infinity war trailer they do show what appears to be his spider-sense tingling.

    Overall, I can understand why you had little to say that really made the movie unique! Spidey was always my favorite hero growing up, and maybe it’s because I really got into the character when I was in high-school, that I feel attached to this version of the web-slinger. 🙂 Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t say I had major problems with the suit or the spidey-sense in and of itself. It just wasn’t what I expected or was used to. In the comics, he did sew his own suit at fifteen and always sewed his costumes (save the symbiote) until we get to the Iron Spider. He (or Doc Ock for a time) always built his own tech too.
      And his spider-sense was always like an alarm going off in his head, the bigger the threat, the bigger the buzz. So, while Peter didn’t know what it was the first time it triggered, he couldn’t ignore or miss it. He knew something was happening. The MCU is taking an different approach and honestly I think that’s fine. They’re putting their own spin on it you know? It just gives us another version of Peter Parker to love and appreciate! I’m looking forward to where they take him next. I hope Tom Holland’s around for awhile too.

      I completely agree with you too on how they nailed the high school vibe. It felt every bit as awkwardly hilarious as it should. I also love how fully they’ve started to flesh out his supporting cast. They all feel vibrant and alive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, they definitely decided to go with a more down to earth version of the character! He’s going to be the best of all of them once he reaches the full potential of him powers! 🙂 which I really hope he does!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Me too! I think that idea – of Peter developing his powers – is spot on! A friend of mine thinks, as the MCU progresses and people like RDJ and Chris Evans eventually leave, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will step up to a leading role in the Avengers. If not the actual field leader, he’ll at least be the heart/spirit of the team. I can see that!

        A future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with spotlights on Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Dr. Strange, and with Spider-Man in the center of it all sounds…well, AMAZING.

        Like

      3. Oh for sure! And I think it’s closer than you think… with Infinity war coming out, there is sure to be significant changes in direction for the MCU… and that’s a couple years down the road! Enough for Tom Holland to grow and develop Spidey!

        There’s one comic that resonates with this idea.. it’s the fallthrough Comic after the first Civil War where he saves Cap’s life – you probably know which one I’m talking about haha

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sooooo….confession time, I actually haven’t read the original Civil War yet. (I know! I’m sorry!) It happened during the seventeen years I was off of reading comics and have been too intimidated to tackle it yet. I know the scene you’re talking about from reading ABOUT Civil War but I haven’t read the story itself yet. Yikes!!

        I think you’re right about the MCU too. I get anxious when I start to wonder who will survive the Infinity War and who won’t. I know contracts and wanting to do other projects will be a part of it but, for me, I like to think of it just in terms of the story. Who can I see leaving? Who wouldn’t make as much sense? Who could I handle losing and who would hurt the most?!? It makes me anxious but I still ponder it :).

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Duuuuuuuude, it’s a must read! So much great content, and Spidey is just such an important player in it all!

        And I wouldn’t be too worried about the contracts getting in the way… They have done such a good job so far with storytelling that I trust (even if contracts are a deciding factor), that they will work it out. But yea, haha I get pretty anxious as well thinking about it all. Only time will tell!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I know! Aaaahhh! I’ve been a negligent Spider-Fan by putting it off. I keep almost starting…and then getting intimidated by the scope of it. But I have to just do it! The whole unmasking thing and going from Iron Man to Cap – it’s such an important moment. I need to just read it!

        I’m with you too on how well the MCU’s managed everything. No matter how it plays out, I’m sure it will be a satisfying narrative. They haven’t given me any reason to doubt them yet!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I know…I have NINETEEN YEARS of back story I have to get caught up on for Spider-Man! I stopped reading him in 1998 and I got back into comics in 2015. I’ve avoided newer Spider-Man stuff for a while, intimidated by all I missed. I’ve read (and loved!) all the Miles Morales stories but I’ve been hesitant with Peter. But I’m finally diving in! I started with the Spider-Verse and am bouncing around from there.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I’m by no means caught up myself, to be honest o go through phases between Marvel and DC… atm I’ve been more focused on the DC Rebirth than anything Marvel has been working on! Although I am keeping up with their Civil War 2! Gotta love those Civil War events! (Not so subliminally telling you to read them)

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Hahaha, sure, sure. No subliminal conditioning here at all :).

        I used ‘Rebirth’ as a chance to try and read a little DC when I am almost exclusively Marvel and IDW. From what I sampled, my favorite titles were ‘Green Lanterns,’ ‘Nightwing,’ and ‘Detective Comics.’ I’m not a huge Batman fan but I love what they were doing with the Bat family in that title.

        Like

  5. Hmm… As much as I love Marvel superhero movies, I have no intention of watching Spider Man Homecoming. Not because I hate Spidey, it’s just that I’m not that interest in Superhero movies anymore. I think the only reason I keep watching X-Men, Avengers, Capt. America etc is because I might as well see it through to the end at this point. Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy are the exception. Those movies felt refreshing. Not sure how long the excitement will last though, with sequel after sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think about this all the time! I mean, I still see all of them and love most of them but I know this superhero bubble won’t last forever. Sooner or later the public at large will get weary of the constant super fights at the movies and then the genre will fade away again. These sorts of things come in waves and I wonder when this one will recede.

      I’m with you on ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ and ‘Deadpool.’ Both work because they feel original and authentic. For me, personally, ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ and ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2’ are the best things the MCU’s done, by far!

      Liked by 1 person

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