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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Spider-Man (2018) E3 2017 Reaction

Spider-Man is my second favorite superhero. My favorite superhero in Marvel. The ratio of good games that the character has had is low. I did enjoy recent efforts such as Web of Shadows but I really haven’t been excited for one in years. That all changed with the upcoming Marvel’s Spider-Man for Playstation 4. Developed by Insomniac Games, the studio behind Ratchet & Clank franchise. I love that franchise and studio so them being behind this game makes me extra excited.

The gameplay shown is very reminiscent of the Batman: Arkham series. Of course this is with a Spider-Man bent to it as he is a super powered individual and thus moves a lot differently. But you can see the comparisons as well as the differences. The Arkham games are probably the pinnacle of modern day superhero video games so you can’t fault Insomniac Games from taking inspiration from those. But as mentioned previously, this is still a Spider-Man game. You can see Spider-Man just as he uniquely does and takes out bad guys like he should.

Who knows what the plot is? In the gameplay trailer, we see Mister Negative, a relatively new Spider-Man villain. There is also a brief came from Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin. So a gang war does play a role in the game but Insomniac has gone on the record as saying that there is a lot more to it than this. Is Norman Osborn involved? This game seems to be taking cues from more recent comics where Osborn is much more a behind the scenes puller and doesn’t really suit up as Green Goblin as much.

Either way, the game looks great. It looks to be combine the best bits of actual gameplay and quick time events to help you really make you feel like Spider-Man. Hopefully this is a return to prominence for Spider-Man in video games. Some of the best superhero games have featured Spider-Man. So come 2018, I will be getting my copy on the first day of release.

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.

Why I’m Lukewarm on Spider-Man: Homecoming

I love Spider-Man. Absolutely love him. If it wasn’t for Batman, the character would be my favorite superhero. But since 2002, they have been making Spider-Man films. There the original Spider-Man trilogy that had a fourth film planned but ultimately fell through. Then there was a rebooted series in 2012 that produced one sequel with ambitions of starting a cinematic universe but also fell through. Then the whole rights things happened with Marvel Studios happened and Spider-Man became part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Making his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, I enjoyed the character for the little he was in the movie. So why am I not excited?

It’s The Sixth Spider-Man Film

There have already been five Spider-Man films before this. So while it is part of the MCU and thus giving a unique spin on Spider-Man that we have not seen before. But it is still the sixth Spider-Man film in 15 years. The novelty is gone and it is another reboot. There is a tinge of “been there, done that” to the film.

There Looks To Be A Lot of Iron Man

Spider-Man’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War all hinged upon Tony Stark/Iron Man. The superhero “recruited” Spider-Man to his cause. The movie implied that Stark intentionally left details out when recruiting Spider-Man. But the two had good chemistry and there looks to be some sort of odd mix of big brother/little brother and father/son dynamic to their relationship. Stark is also the reason for Spider-Man’s high tech suit. So his presence was expected but previews seem to show that he plays a large role in the film and the plot starts because someone is mad at Stark…again.

I am not a big fan of Tony Stark in the MCU. Charismatic he is but he is a total prick and has little redeeming qualities to me. The villain also looks to have a grudge against him which was the plot of all the Iron Man movies and Avengers: Age of Ultron. We also know from toys that he will be receiving a new armor in this movie. These are all benchmarks of a new Iron Man movie.

I understand the need to explore the relationship between Spider-Man and Iron Man. That’s fine. But Captain America: Civil War was pretty much Iron Man 4 and this looks to be Iron Man 5.

The Trailers Gave Away The Plot

The latest trailer for the film more or less gave away the three act structure of the film. Spider-Man and the villain, The Vulture, will tussle in Washington D.C. Spider-Man will confront Vulture again on a ferry and need Iron Man to help out with the situation and thus lose his fancy new suit. Spider-Man will don his old suit to fight The Vulture on some sort of jet. When watching the trailer, it might not be obvious at first but if you’ve studied film you can get the major beats.

Sure there are character stuff missing. Still don’t really know who Donald Glover is playing. There is something mysterious about Zendaya’s character. So yes there is still a lot to explore character wise but the major action set pieces have been soured a bit. So when going into the film, I can pretty much know what to expect. Also there is a quick shot as Chris Evans appearing as Captain America in some sort of gym video. Something tells me that they just didn’t get Chris Evans just in for that bit. I wish that little nugget was left out of the trailer.

I am still going to see Spider-Man: Homecoming the first night. I still do love Spider-Man and see how he plays in the MCU. But just not as excited as you may have expected. But as long as it’s good, I will support it.

After Phase 3, What’s Next For The MCU?

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It’s well known that after the fourth Avengers movie, things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be different. Not just in universe but also in real life. Many of the stars of the movies will no longer be contractually obligated to appear in the franchise. Who knows what story will affect these characters we have come to know for almost a decade now. Just the one thing for certain is this: change. Change is coming whether we like it or not. President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige has said that he is not even sure if the Marvel Studios films will even be categorized in phases anymore.

Back to Basics

I love the MCU but even I’ll admit that things have become overblown. Almost every movie involves the world at stake. Now with the culmination of the Thanos/Infinity Gauntlet storyline, it would be the perfect time to scale things back. With the recent successes of Logan and Deadpool, it would be foolish for Marvel Studios not to take notice. Those films were done on relatively smaller budgets and told more intimate stories that yielded both critical and financial success. Showing that not all of these movies need to have climaxes with large explosions and full of computer graphics.

More Standalone Films

┬áThe nature of interconnected movies is the biggest draw of the MCU. But you can also see how it can be a double edged sword. This basically makes it that every film more or less to service the films that came before it and after. Just like the comic books that inspired them, not every story is connected with one another. Sometimes these heroes just get into their own adventures without it having to effect a future story and especially another hero’s films.

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The biggest out of place moment in Ant-Man was the scene where he had to steal a certain object. Who did the object belong to? Howard Stark who is currently deceased so it now belongs to Tony Stark. Where did Tony happen to have it stored? In the Avengers’ headquarters. Who just happens to find him and fight him? The Falcon. The scene was fun but it really served no real purpose other than to set up Ant-Man’s appearance in Captain America: Civil War. It has no real effect on the plot.

New Faces Take The Lead

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Robert Downey Jr. has been the face of the MCU since the first Iron Man movie in 2008. His appearances in the franchise make him one of the highest grossing actors in Hollywood. His cohorts such as Chris Evans are not that far behind him. They have effectively become too expensive especially Downey. Actors also want to do other things with their careers other than appear in these superhero movies. So now the with contracts running out after the fourth Avengers movie, it is time to phase out these older heroes in favor of new ones.

It’s no real shock that Marvel Studios started introducing new heroes such as Ant-Man at the end of Phase Two and new heroes such as Black Panther, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange at the beginning of Phase Three. There are still those upcoming such as Captain Marvel played by Brie Larson on the way. So as major and supporting heroes continually get introduced, you can see a cycle forming. Older heroes will be phased out in favor of the new ones who will eventually become the old heroes and so new ones will be introduced. This way giving the audiences something new and not exhausting them of the heroes who came before and building up anticipation.

The Future

One thing for certain about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is change. The change is coming in one way or another. Who knows what shape or form it will take? The MCU is much different now than when it sarted. Imagine how it will be in another five years. That may be scary for some but change is also necessary. I personally cannot wait to see how this film franchise/universe changes.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming Should Be A Real Start To The Sinister Six

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Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring the web slinger. This film is unique as it is a product of a film deal between Sony Pictures ( who has the film rights to Spider-Man and associated characters) and Disney. It was no secret that when Sony was developing The Amazing Spider-Man 2, they were also trying to set up a Sinister Six movie. The Sinister Six is a collective of six (obviously) of Spider-Man’s deadliest enemies. That film shoehorned that aspect into the film and ultimately suffered because of it. That is partially why the deal between Sony and Disney was made regarding Spider-Man. But now we are starting to see sides where a Sinister Six can naturally develop.

One of the worst trends about superhero movies is the villain almost always dies by the end of the film. The Marvel Cinematic Universe have been no different in this aspect. Another trend within the MCU concerning the villains is the lack of depth. I can’t tell you what Yellowjacket’s motivations in Ant-Man were. So hiring a great actor in Michael Keaton in this type of role would be a shame.

Keaton plays Adrian Toomes aka The Vulture. It is also known that Spider-Man villains The Shocker and Tinkerer are in the film as well. How big of a role that they play in the film is up in the air at this moment. But it is known that Toomes is in cahoots with them. Toomes could stay alive by the end of the film and ultimately be the one to form The Sinister Six. 

Now this is all speculation because I have no idea about the specifics of the deal between Sony and Disney is. But it is something better than the previously rushed aspect. Time will tell. 

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming Poster Released and It’s Amazing

Simple but brilliant. This image reminds you of two things: this Spider-Man is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and his youth. Just him lounging with headphones on. Brilliant.

Bizarre Moments in Superhero Films: Spider-Man (2002)

Remember the very first Spider-Man movie? There’s always been one scene in the movie that I’ve found to be odd and extreme. It’s the scene after Norman Osborn/Green Goblin has figured out that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are one in the same. As the Goblin persona tells Norman, “We attack his heart!” So whats the first thing he does? Blow up Aunt May’s house while she’s saying her nightly prayer.

So presumably this grown man in a green armored suit on a hovering glider has been waiting outside her window for a while. How else would he know that she was close to finishing her prayer? No one on the street noticed this? The fact that he blew up the side of her house and no one really comments on the fact that the Goblin would randomly attack this woman. It’s also apparent that his intention was not to kill her but even a healthy person would have a heart attack with the side of their house being blown up.

It’s just that whenever I speak about this movie, this is the one scene I always point out as one that sticks out for being out of place. The first Spider-Man movie is still enjoyable and does work in the context of the film as it does reveal to Spider-Man that the Goblin now knows who he is.