Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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.

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Captain America: Civil War – Trailer Analysis and Screencaps

Captain America: Civil War

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!

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New Trailer for Captain America: Civil War!

A new trailer for Captain America: Civil War dropped today, conveniently at the same time advance tickets went on sale (seriously?!? The movie is still 2 months away! I don’t think most people need to hurry up and buy tickets just yet.), and you can check it out below. Hopefully I’ll have a more in depth breakdown of the trailer ready tomorrow morning, complete with screenshots, but for now take a look and let me know what you think. There’s definitely more action this time around, and a bigger focus on the central conflict between Team Captain America and Team Iron Man. We get a longer look at some new characters, and even a quick peek at one important newcomer. Give it a go, and then drop me a line in the comments telling me what you think!

Trailer Tuesday: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.

I was a little ambivalent about the first Amazing Spider-Man movie.  I thought it did a pretty good job of setting its own tone, in order to distinguish itself from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy that had only recently ended.  Director Mark Webb gave it an indie feel, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone really helped sell the idea of this new Spider-Man.  I was less interested in the conspiracy background involving Peter Parker’s parents, which I thought was distracting and just a little too much for the movie.  Overall, it was not bad but certainly not great.

Suffice to say, I’m still undecided as to whether or not I want to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in theaters.  And I’m not sure whether this first trailer has made me any more likely to see it.  Take a look below, and read on for my thoughts:

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What’s your favorite comic book superhero film?

In my review of Man of Steel, I talked a bit about the modern phases of comic book superhero movies that began with 1978’s Superman.  I’ve enjoyed some of these phases more than others (I’m not a fan of Nolan’s style), but they’ve all produced good films and bad.  So I thought I’d come up with a list from best to worst of the comic book superhero movies of the modern era.  I kept the list limited to my arbitrarily chosen “major” superheroes, so you won’t see things like Blade or Hellboy on the list (though I love Hellboy).  I’m also not including more indie comic book films, like The Rocketeer or Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, both of which I love.  I tried to just use the films people were most likely to have seen.  (Note: Green Lantern is not included because I actually never saw it.)

Lists are great for discussion, so let me know what you think!  (In other words… BRING IT ON!!! I can’t wait to hear people challenging where I have the Batman Begins saga or Man of Steel.)  If there’s anything obvious that I left off, let me know.  And then vote below as to what is your favorite comic book superhero movie (you can fill in your own choices).  Continue reading

Review: Man of Steel

(This was movie #1 of my 4 movie marathon day.)

The superhero movie as we know it was born in 1978 with Superman, starring Christopher Reeve.  The posters claimed “You’ll believe a man can fly” and we were given a movie that seems very dated by today’s standards.  Reeve, clad in spandex, soared on wires in front of a blue screen in many ways seems silly to modern audiences.  Clark Kent was the squeaky-clean all-American, still standing up for “truth, justice and the American way” 40 years after his introduction in the comics.  It was undeniably goofy, but timeless in a way.  It gave us a modern yet dated world, where reporters dressed like they were in the 1930s yet boarded helicopters from the roof of the Daily Planet.

Of course, superhero films have gone through many incarnations since then. Continue reading

Not Exactly a Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

Much as was the case with The Cabin in the Woods, I missed The Amazing Spider-Man when it was released in theaters last year.  There are a bunch of possible reasons for this, but the most obvious was that it just felt too soon to reboot the Spider-Man story.  Sam Raimi’s trilogy had only ended 5 years ago, and the first movie was only 5 years before that, and I just felt that if they weren’t continuing the story that they’d be better off leaving Spider-Man alone for a while.  However, over the weekend I watched it (thanks to a free weekend of HBO) and I generally enjoyed it.  While it’s too far removed from the film’s release to give it a full review (though I’d generally give it a B+), I thought I’d do another “Not Exactly a Review” filled with my disorganized thoughts.

I’ve always believed that films should be appreciated on their own merits, and that it’s unfair to judge a film either positively based on the reflected glow of other films (The Dark Knight Rises benefitting from the praise for The Dark Knight) or negatively simply because it is being compared to something universally loved.  However, it is fair, and in this case unavoidable, to compare this film with the Raimi trilogy, given the close time frame and wide appeal of the previous films.  The Amazing Spider-Man tries to blaze its own trail, succeeding in some ways and failing in others. Continue reading