Avengers: Infinity War Concept Art

Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

Fifteen years ago, we were introduced to Spider-Man on the big screens with the Sam Raimi iteration. Three movies in that franchise was followed up with a reboot in 2012 with the Marc Webb iteration. After a somewhat failed sequel, Sony Pictures did the unthinkable and teamed with Marvel Studios to integrate Spider-Man with the ongoing and vastly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. After a introduction in Captain America: Civil War, we are getting the third Spider-Man franchise and one intertwined with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. What are the results when Spider-Man has finally come back home?

spider-man-homecoming-movie-screencaps-2.png

Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker/Spider-Man is feeling himself a little too much. Tony Stark/Iron Man dragged him into this big mission but effectively kicks him to the curb when he no longer has a use for him. So being restless and aching for some action, Peter is also trying to juggle being Spider-Man with his personal life. The life of a teenager is not easy so add being a superhero onto that is another stress factor. Then there is Adrian Toomes whose life was ruined by inadvertently ruined by Tony Stark. A blue collar worker who has a grudge against the rich and powerful and thus turning to crime and becoming The Vulture to just put food onto the table. Spider-Man is the friendly neighborhood hero with aspirations to be bigger while the Vulture is someone who is comfortable with his slice of the pie and doesn’t want to really rock the boat.

25b0ce5d976b7f0f3a45620b3b8c35704170f732

Tom Holland is great as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. You really understand his teenage angst as wanting to be treated like an adult but not fully grasping the gravity of the situation. Trying to juggle his teenage life with his superhero life is clearly affecting him as sacrifices need to be made. Since he is fifteen, Peter Parker brings a youthful energy to the MCU that is a nice change of pace from what has come before. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is not in the movie all that much. He does have a presence and serve a purpose but despite what advertisements made it seem, he does not overshadow the movie. Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/The Vulture is great in the role. The biggest downside is that he is not in the movie as you might want him. There are a couple of scenes later on between he and Holland that are great. Marisa Tomei as May Parker is definitely a different kind of Aunt May. In fact, Peter rarely refers to her as his Aunt but simply “May”. She is good but I would have liked to see one or two scenes more with her in it. Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan returns and has more screen time than his boss. I always enjoyed Favreau as an actor so it was nice to see. The rest of the supporting cast is filled with Peter’s classmates. Zendaya is that presence that’s always in scenes but a lot of the time not doing much. It will be interesting to see where they take the character in the future. Jacob Batalon as Ned, Peter’s best friend, is great and they even get to poke fun at the whole superhero has a sidekick who just sits at a computer.

michael-keaton-vulture-spider-man-homecoming.png

This film does not rock the Spider-Man boat. Playing it pretty straight in an effect to align this Spider-Man with the rest of the MCU. So while the film takes no real risks, it does a good job of setting up the character and his corner of the universe. There were a lot of screenwriters for this movie including the director, Jon Watts. For someone who has only directed low budget movies beforehand, he did a good job with this major franchise movie. Of course most Marvel movies are effectively cranked out on a machine but still, the movie could have floundered but it doesn’t. At about two hours and fourteen minutes, the movie moves at a good pace. I was never bored or wanted to look at my watch. The only major knock is that while the film was relatively grounded, the ending set piece had to be something in the air and a big explosion. They did reign it in but seemed a little extraneous but that may have been the point. One good job they did was establish The Vulture as a threat. I never really liked The Vulture in the comics but this movie does make him a genuine great villain who could probably make Iron Man struggle if they went toe to toe.

captain-america-spider-man-homecoming-987046.png

There are easter eggs galore in this film. Much of The Vulture’s tech is derived from previous battles caused by previous MCU films. In fact the film opens in the immediate aftermath of The Avengers (2012). Not only does it help the film feel natural within the Marvel Cinematic Universe as why wouldn’t criminals start using tech from the super villains? Now that super heroes and villains are the norm, a lot of people aren’t even rattled by the appearance of Spider-Man in their neighborhood. It also helps set up future Spider-Man films as there are tons of Spider-Man villains in this film but it never feels forced. I think almost every character with a speaking line is a character from Spider-Man comics, whether big or small.

150089

Out of all the six Spider-Man movies, this is probably my favorite. It finds the right balance between the Peter Parker and Spider-Man of it all. It doesn’t go the route of the Sam Raimi movies where the bad guys all had to have some sort of accident or something to be a bad guys. The Vulture is a bad guy. He may be wanting to do right by his family but he is a bad guy. Definitely one of the more memorable bad guys in the MCU lately. Spider-Man: Homecoming achieves what it needed to do. Establish this Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also serving as a good first film in the individual franchise. The future for the web slinger is bright and can’t wait to see where they take the character in his new surroundings.

SCORE: 9/10

 

Two New Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailers Released – Takeaway

 

These two new trailers give a lot about the movie and maybe in fact too much. If you take the footage from all the trailers you get a sense of the major beats of how the movie will go excluding the non costumed parts. These two new ones are enjoyable though so here’s my take:

  • We will definitely see as to what Spider-Man was doing in the time right before the big airport battle in Captain America: Civil War, during and the immediate after.
  • Though he isn’t in the trailer a lot, we do get a sense of what Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and what his goal is. It’s still a little generic but that is kind of Spider-Man’s villains thing.
  • Quick shot of Bookem Woodbine attacking Spider-Man
  • Toomes and his pals are in The Tinkerer’s lab
  • More interactions between Peter and Michelle (Zendaya)
  • Donald Glover’s still unnamed character gets a few lines.
  • Peter is an “intern” for Tony Stark. Seemingly give progress reports. Something tells me that Stark doesn’t actually care and is purposely not answering calls.
  • The high tech suit that Stark gave Peter has a lot of limitations put in to be unlocked by Stark at his choosing. We see that his new suit has a parachute equipped in it. (Funny how he couldn’t give Rhodey a parachute in his suit) Will this suit turn into the Iron Spider suit?
  • Happy Hogan looks to play a bigger role in this movie than originally envisioned. I guess if you couldn’t get Downey for a lot of it, find a good middle man to be a mouth piece for him.
  • This trailer did tone down the Tony Stark/Iron Man element. Does make you wonder just how much he is in the movie?

I’ve mentioned that I’m not too excited about the movie but it does keep me intrigued enough. I’m just glad to see more of Spidey’s classic villains being used. I hope they aren’t killed off and avoiding that superhero movie trope. I just wonder how this movie is going to go. I can’t really place my disconnect but maybe it will dissipate by the time the movie is released.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Review

The summer blockbuster season of 2017 has officially kicked off. The sequel to the surprise hit movie of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy, has christened a sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The movie brings back James Gunn in the writer/director chair. The cast that includes; Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker and Karen Gillan reprise their roles from the first movie. The are joined by newcomers; Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff and Elizabeth Debicki. The movie takes place only a few month after the first and thus continues the main plot points set up in that.

guardiansofthegalaxy2-babygroot-detonator1.jpg

The Guardians of the Galaxy have developed a reputation as basically mercenaries. Working for the golden species, the Sovereign to take out a threat, it should have been simple. After the job goes awry, they are rescued by Ego who just happens to be the father of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord. While this is happening, Gamora is reunited with her sister Nebula and Yondu and the Ravagers are hired by the Sovereign to hunt down the Guardians due to Yondu’s connection to Quill.

new-guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2-trailer-world-premiere-2837-still001.jpg

If that sounds like a lot, then you’re right. The whole motif around the two Guardians movies have been the mixtape soundtracks. While this works for the soundtrack, it does not really work well for the movie itself. There are a lot of balls in the air and the movie loses focus when doing this. It is easy to see why this was an option as it gave mostly everyone mostly something to do. This is for the most part true as every main character has their own arcs to follow before they all converge at the end.

new_guardians_of_the_galaxy_vol._2_trailer_-_world_premiere.mp4_snapshot_00.47_2017.03.01_00.42.49.jpg

This movie is frankly…trippy. Since it is so loosely connected to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the moment, the creative team is free to do what they want. If you have an issue with bright colors and psychedelic imagery, then this is not the movie for you. James Gunn has taken full advantage of having a movie set in outer space as no planet or sky or atmosphere is ever the same and definitely not like anything on Earth. A standout sequence is when some of the characters have to make multiple space jumps and the effects it has on a person’s body.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Vol-2-trailer-breakdown-70.jpg

One of the big selling points of the first movie was the humor. Personally, I enjoyed it for what it was but I didn’t love it. This movie does the classic thing of “sequel-itis” in the case of amping up what people loved about the first movie and repeating. After awhile, it became a bit much. It bordered on if I was wondering if these characters could have a normal conversation with one another without any sort of zinger attached. It makes sense to want to capitalize on what worked in theory but when executed it becomes quite annoying after a while.

Since little time has passed since the events of the first movie, most of the characters are pretty much the same. The big difference being Drax. While he was fairly serious if something of a blowhard, here he is pure comic relief. In fact he does very little destroying despite it being in his name. Dave Bautista really nails his role. Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan are fine as the daughters of Thanos and they’re complex relationship. Chris Pratt on the other hand despite being the main character has the most cliche arc in the movie. Dramatic moments aren’t really his strong suit either as I rolled my eyes every time he got angry. The biggest highlight would have to be Michael Rooker as Yondu. A supporting character in the first movie, here he is a main character and has the biggest character arc.

The newcomers do well enough. Kurt Russell is well as Ego. The CG technology that Disney has been using to make actors look younger is nailed perfectly in this movie as Kurt Russell looks just like he did during this time. Ego as Peter’s dad always has an air of mystery around him and when the shoe finally drops about his character, it falls into cliche territory. Pom Klementieff as Mantis was my favorite of the newcomers with her empathetic abilities and naivety. She plays well off of Drax and plus it is nice to have someone who isn’t a killer on the team. Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha is not in the movie that much but you do get her character and her presence will continue to threaten the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Overall, the movie does succeed in what it set out to do. I cannot fault a filmmaker for making the film that they want to make. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has James Gunn’s stamp all over the movie. So on that level it succeeds. But when it comes to the humor and some of the character arcs, it does not succeed. This movie still does fall into some of the usual complaints that befall MCU movies such as the issue with the villains but a bit less so. Otherwise it’s another solid entry into the film franchise. James Gunn continues to expand the cosmic side of the Marvel and the future looks bright.

SCORE: 7.5/10