It’s been a long time since we had a good Spider-Man movie, 13 long years in fact. Since Spider-Man 2 back in 2004, a masterpiece of the superhero genre that still stands up as one of the best of all time, we’ve had several attempts to keep the web-slinger going. Spider-Man 3 was a complete mess, overloaded with villains and led by a far-too-old Tobey Maguire, not to mention the horrific emo dance sequence, while the Amazing Spider-Man pair of films tried too hard to update the series for “modern sensibilities” (whatever that means) and the results were uninspired and extremely dull. I’d come to believe that as long as Sony still held the rights to the wall-crawler, one of my favorite comic book heroes, we’d be doomed to mediocre reboot after mediocre reboot, never again having a Spider-Man movie worthy of the name.
So imagine my surprise when a deal was reached between Sony and Marvel/Disney and Spider-Man wound up being one of the best parts of Captain America: Civil War. And now here we are, with Tom Holland’s first full outing in the famous red and blue spider suit, and the results are pretty impressive. Spider-Man: Homecoming is naturally the best Spider-Man movie in 13 years, although that’s really not saying much. It’s a lot of fun, one of the funniest movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it gets a lot of things right. It’s not perhaps the home run one might be hoping for, but it’s solidly in the top half of MCU films, getting a lot about the character of Peter Parker right, while managing to tie in cleverly with the larger universe of films. Oh, and Tony Stark is in it, getting a little redemption after his last outing in Civil War.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps expanding, seemingly showing no signs of stopping. Each new film brings us new heroes to fight new villains, new locations or planets filled with people to save, and new clashes and conflicts to bring characters together or drive them apart. But while Doctor Strange certainly continues the trend, it broadens the universe in entirely new ways, pushing not only the boundaries of superhero storytelling but of visual craftsmanship. It’s a mind-bending head trip of a film, which attempts to introduce a spiritual aspect to an otherwise science fiction series, all while serving up some of the most creative and exhilarating action sequences in recent memory. Doctor Strange may stick to the tried and true Marvel origin story formula, but it’s a fun ride anchored by a strong cast and impressive effects, and it offers an intriguing glimpse into the potential future of this ever-expanding Universe.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was perhaps my biggest surprise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. While Guardians of the Galaxy came out of nowhere with its unconventional style and Ant-Man managed to impress despite its troubled production, The Winter Soldier blew away all of my expectations. I enjoyed Captain America’s first outing, particularly because of its strong cast, but overall I was underwhelmed by its uninteresting plot. I loved what Joss Whedon did with the character in The Avengers, but I never imagined that The Winter Soldier would be so thrilling. The Russo Brothers brought a very specific cinematic flavor to Captain America, which combined with a witty screenplay, the best action sequences in the MCU, and a willingness to overthrow the establishment to give us a movie that works on many different levels. Following that success, the question of Captain America: Civil War became not “Is it any good?” (because with Marvel’s track record at this point, they have the benefit of the doubt) but “Just how good can it be?” What could the team that brought us The Winter Soldier do with a larger roster of heroes in what could just as easily have been titled Avengers: Civil War? The result is another excellent entry in the Marvel series that, while perhaps not reaching the top tier of what Marvel has to offer, shows that there is still plenty of fuel in Marvel’s tank. Civil War is an exciting, emotional ride with interesting things to say, that is willing to take our heroes in new directions, reshuffling the cards for the next hand that Marvel will deal over the next few years.
Last night Marvel unveiled the first trailer for Doctor Strange as a part of the publicity train for Captain America: Civil War. Due out in November, Doctor Strange will be the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and possibly its strangest yet. The trailer gives just a brief look at the “Sorcerer Supreme”, a former surgeon who lost the ability to do his job after his hands were injured in a car crash. We get some glimpses of the crash and its aftermath as the trailer juxtaposes the pre-crash Strange, a man at the height of his life, with the scruffy shell of a man he became afterwards. But Doctor Strange is really all about that man’s journey to find a new way to help people through the use of magic. Honestly, while I’m very excited for Doctor Strange, I feel like this film is going to be a hard sell as far as the general public is concerned. It’s just so different, far more than Guardians of the Galaxy, and the idea of magic mixing with the world of Iron Man is going to require some convincing. It already looks like it’ll be a trippy film, with visuals that recall the world-bending effects of Inception, a film which I thought was interesting to look at but emotionally hollow (like most of Christopher Nolan’s work). Hopefully Marvel can find a way to make Strange’s story as compelling as those of its other heroes. For now, I’m just happy to see Tilda Swinton get so much screen time and can’t wait to learn more about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character. But what do you think? Take a look at the trailer below and then tell me your thoughts in the comments!
As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, Disney/Marvel debuted a new trailer for Captain America: Civil War yesterday in conjunction with advance tickets going on sale. The first trailer was an atmospheric and moody one, giving us quick peeks at a variety of what’s happening in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with an emphasis on the Steve Rogers/Tony Stark/Bucky Barnes triangle. We got our first look at Black Panther, as well as hints at the ultimate showdown between Captain America and Iron Man. This latest trailer expands on the first one, repeating a few moments but going bigger. It’s much more action-packed, it gives us a larger idea of the film’s plot without too many specifics, and we get to see many more of our favorite heroes. And to top it all off, this trailer also gives us a first look at a new character, although one with whom most viewers are probably familiar. So take a look at the trailer below and then read on for my thoughts and screencaps. Then be sure to let me know what you think in the comments!