A Spider-Fan’s Spider-Man Homecoming Rant


Lifelong Spider-Fan that I am, Civil War’s Spidey appearance easily became one of the movie’s highlight’s for me. Just seeing him quip at the heroes on both sides and showcasing his not-inconsiderable strength is a treat enough, and now we get a new Spider-Man movie? After the ambitious-yet-messy The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the prospect of a(nother) reboot is both salivating and cause to worry.

 

Fortunately, after watching Spider-Man Homecoming, those worries are now long-gone. The tone director Jon Watts went for is a newbie Spidey who still needs to learn a lot about the job, resulting in an occasionally stupid and klutzy hero not unlike Batman: Earth One. It’s frustrating at times, but through this we get to learn along with Spidey about how to be a hero. Most of you will be refreshed in knowing that Uncle Ben isn’t shown dying in this one, saving him from the Thomas and Martha Wayne curse of dying in every reboot.


My biggest worry going in, that the movie would turn into Iron Man and His Amazing Friend, fortunately went unrealized. Tony Stark’s screentime is limited, but he adds to the movie by providing a ‘hurdle’ for Peter to surpass in the journey to become a hero.

The Swingtime Club


The cast is great all-around, with the Midtown High kids lending the movie a very teen-movie feel to the school sequences. Jacob Batalon’s Ned is Ganke in all but name, playing off really well with Tom Holland’s Peter as believeable best friends. Being so used to the jock Flash, Tony Revolori’s ‘cyberbully’ Flash is still an asshole, albeit a different kind. For those familiar with the anime/manga Doraemon, this Flash is less Giant, more Suneo. Still, he’s the guy you’ll love to hate. Zendaya’s Michelle is the movie’s Allison Reynolds, a mysterious loner with a sharp tongue who provides more than a few gags. Laura Harrier’s Liz, while she’s not the most memorable of the bunch, still plays well with the other kids. May is still the loving aunt we all know and love, though she’s much more spirited this time around and has fun interactions with Pete and Ned. Happy Hogan unexpectedly ends up being a potential showstealer in his role as Peter’s ever-exasperated minder.

He’s gotta be good. He’s been a Birdman before


In terms of bad guy quality, Homecoming is one of MCU’s best. Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes is far from the one-dimensional disposable MCU villain that we’ve unfortunately seen all too often, and is one of the movie’s highlights. Michael Mando, who some of you might know as Far Cry 3’s Vaas almost steals the show in his limited screentime as another Spider-Rogue, and I hope he’ll be given more to do in the future. Donald Glover is entertaining as hell in his role as another player in the Spider-mythology, especially his one standout scene. And most shocking of all, the Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine as Herman Schultz) is somewhat more competent compared to the punchline he’s been made of in recent comics.

Setting this movie in a high school setting puts emphasis on the duality between Peter Parker and Spider-Man, showing his struggles in juggling between social life, school, and Spidering in a new light. This duality and Peter proving himself to be the hero that he could be is a major, timeless theme that’s true to the core of Spider-Man.

An Amazing Fantasy indeed


Spider-Fans with eagle eyes will have a field day with the amount of easter eggs and homages to classic moments and even some iconic shots of the Wallcrawler from his extensive comics history. While I wouldn’t say that Homecoming is 100% comics-accurate, it honors the spirit of Spider-Man in its sort-of reinvention, like another update on the Spider-myth a la Ultimate Spider-Man, with more than a few influences from classic teen movies and modern superhero movie sensibilities.

While it is by no means a perfect movie with some bits feeling a little draggy and a little anticlimactic though unconventional final act, Spider-Man Homecoming is still an amazing movie that spectacularly heralds the arrival of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to the MCU, hopefully being the first in a web of great movies in the future.

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A Strange Trip-Doctor Strange Review

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In an increasingly expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange chooses to explore an uncharted territory in the mystic side of Marvel’s titanic franchise.

The result from this is an entertaining trip (in more ways than one) into worlds and wonders without end, that might just open an equally infinite amount of doors to potential properties for future exploration.

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He couldn’t HANDle this

The clear winning feature of Scott Derrickson’s foray into the MCU is its visuals. From Inception-on-steroids style folding buildings to just pure psychedelic imagery that’d make Steve Ditko himself proud, Strange’s visuals are nothing we’ve ever seen before. This lends itself into its action scenes, giving us fights that are literally off the wall–No, these fights don’t even /need/ walls. If I saw this in IMAX, my head would probably still be spinning as I write this.


With a star-studded cast, almost everyone shines in their own way. Benedict Cumberbatch, no stranger to arrogant and insufferable characters, plays the admittedly clichéd character arc well with a dry wit and a fair bit of magical ineptitude. Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One is a more affable, more ‘human’ take of the traditional old master stereotype, and one more easy to be emotionally invested into. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo is one of the movie’s standouts, turning the traditionally villainous character into the ‘straight man’ in the Strange-Mordo double act and a worthy foil to Strange, while building on his eventual rise of darkness well. Mads Mikkelsen is, to be blunt, sadly an origin story victim in his role as Kaecillius, in another example of Marvel squandering great actors in forgettable villain roles. With a little more development, Kaecillius would’ve been the perfect Anti-Strange but alas, it was not to be. Benedict Wong’s…Wong differs from the tea-serving manservant of Strange in the comics into more of Strange’s take no shit peer im a way, and provides a healthy helping of humor in most of his scenes. Rachel McAdams’ Christine ‘Not-Night Nurse’ Palmer, does well as the muggle caught up in magic and provides a good enough anchor for Strange, but sadly she wasn’t quite memorable enough.

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Just a typical tea ceremony in Kamar-Taj

As with most origin stories, Doctor Strange suffers from a case of Originitis, with its almost wholly predictable plot that hits all the beats of your usual Superhero Origin. That’s not to say the script isn’t anything to write home about, though. The movie still manages to distill and simplify the concept of Marvel magic into an almost-science, leaving not many questions as to how it works. The film seems to also take a few cues from Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s excellent Doctor Strange: The Oath, with several notable scenes and characters echoing the book. Michael Giacchino’s scoring also works really well for the movie, sounding very much different from past Marvel movies with its use of strings that’s slightly reminiscent to JRPGs or just RPGs in general.


Easter egg hunters will have a field day with this. Just about almost every entity Strange has ever invoked in the comics, with a few notable exceptions, were namedropped in the film, even other cosmic entities. And with some of the secondary characters’ relations to major players in the Marvel universe, one can’t help but wonder how these more famous relatives will figure into the MCU next.

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Aperture’s branching out

While the plot is nothing special, by merit of its eye-popping visuals and amazing scoring, Doctor Strange is another very solid addition to the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or could we be expanding beyond universes?

Opinion: The Trailer Civil War (or Lack Thereof)

DISCLAIMER: What I’m about to write here is an opinion and in no way do I mean to call out specific people and/or instances on this. This is purely an observation and my thoughts on a situation that I find just a little bit annoying. If you do feel called out and/or offended, maybe it’s you who I have in mind. You’re no telepath, you have no way of knowing, right?

Lately, I felt that a part (not all, mind) of the Marvel fandom has slowly devolved into spoiled children, going on and on and on and on and bloody on about wanting the Civil War trailer. At first, the jokes about the trailer never coming were slightly funny, but a few weeks later, it just gets on my nerves every damn time it’s brought up. Today, the straw seems to have broken the camel’s back harder than Bane broke Batman when a certain influential social media account tweeted Marvel repeatedly about wanting the trailer. And then I thought, ‘here comes the legions of people following suit and asking Marvel for the trailer, YET AGAIN’.

If you’re just going to sit there and keep tweeting Marvel to release the trailer, please, don’t. If they have a trailer cut and ready to release, they /will/. In the meantime, why not check out the other great things Marvel has to offer? Agents of SHIELD is doing great what with the twists and turns of this Inhuman problem, and Jessica Jones drops in two weeks. If that’s not enough, keep in mind that TV and movies aren’t the only things Marvel is doing. All-New All-Different Marvel is now in full swing with new books coming out every other week, and is well worth checking out. If you’re a gamer, I hear Marvel Heroes is nice this time of year and the mobile fare (especially Future Fight with Elsa Bloodstone) is always a viable and cheaper alternative. There’s a LOT to keep you occupied while you wait for the trailer to drop. Hell, if you haven’t read the original Civil War event and want to know what to look for, why not check out the comic event that inspired it? And the Secret Wars Civil War tie-in is a whole lot of fun, too. While you’re at it, read Nextwave and clamor for a movie of THAT instead. I’ll love you if you do.

Marvel movies and the MCU isn’t the end-all, be-all Marvel. There are a LOT of things to explore and to enjoy. Broaden your horizons and dive deeper into the great works Marvel’s put out for the last 50+ years, you’ll thank me for it. This applies to both Marvel and DC, really. What we have being offered on films and TV isn’t all there is to these companies. They have decades and decades of history and amazing (some not-so-amazing, some downright pieces of bantha poodoo, but the point still stands) work that’s just there, ready to be enjoyed.

Tl;dr: For the love of God-Emperor Doom, the One-Above-All, the Panther God, and Fin Fang Foom’s titanic purple underpants, stop whining about the Civil War trailer not coming out. You’re making all of us look bad.

Note: Again, I reiterate that this post is not made to offend anyone, I’m just stating my views on the matter at hand. I do accept civilised discussion, so if you’d beg to differ or submit another perspective, contact me through whichever channels you prefer, as long as you keep it civilised. Stupidity begets stupidity, and rudeness begets rudeness.