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Tag Archives: Spider-Man

Spider-Man: Homecoming (Film Review)

Until I get ‘New to Comics’ back online, I’m going to be posting some stuff for that site on here if it’s particularly relevant or if I want to share it as soon as possible. So today, here’s my review of the sixteenth entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming

RELEASED: 7th July 2016
DIRECTED BY: Jon Watts
WRITTEN BY: John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Jonathan Goldstein, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers & Jon Watts
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige & Amy Pascal
STARRING: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Logan Marshall-Green, Bokeem Woodbine, Michael Chernus, Donald Glover & Robert Downey Jr.

REVIEW: The main problem with Spider-Man: Homecoming is that the casual viewer may falsely believe that Sony was wholly responsible for making this film, what with their company names being plastered all over the opening and closing credits. Which, frankly, is a shame, because this film was made by Marvel Studios, and financed by Sony; and it would truly be a terrible thing if Sony got the credit for what is, to date, one of Marvel Studios’ best films.

In terms of story, the film is surprising on several levels. Firstly, it’s generally understood that the more writers you pump into a film, the messier it gets. That, paired with the fact that the whole storyline is seemingly stuffed into the above trailer, could give cause for concern. But having seen the movie, I can assure you that you don’t need to worry about either of those factors.

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Posted by on July 14, 2017 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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The Marvelous Spider-Man

I had originally planned to write a post about my writing future and a series of reviews that I had planned to do, starting with a review of The Interview.

But then I did my regular morning internet rounds and discovered something beautiful.

Marvel got Spider-Man back.

For those of you who don’t waste as much of their time on these trivial little details as I do, although Marvel obviously has always owned Spider-Man, in a bid to start up their film franchises, they dished the cinematic rights of each character to various studios. Characters like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Blade, Daredevil, Ghost Rider and others now had a shot of having movies made.

Unfortunately for Marvel, they eventually realized they were better at making these films than anyone else, but by this point they couldn’t technically make films of any of their major characters. Hence the sudden spiking popularity of the Avengers. Now some might argue the Avengers have always been big names at Marvel. But really, unless you read the comics and  watch the cartoons, you probably didn’t have much of a clue pre-2008. I remember making a status about the death of Captain America in 2007, and all I got in response were queries of ‘Who’s Captain America?’. That response would obviously be met with some ridicule now.

Anyway, another brief bit of back-story. Sony’s been in the shitter. You may have noticed.

Not only that, but their Spider-Man franchise has not been doing nearly as well as they had hoped. We were almost forced into a Spider-Man cinematic universe, which I honestly believe may have tipped the scales towards the death of comic book movies. The characters of the Spider-Man lore are rich and varied. But lets be honest. No one gives a shit. There are tons of more interesting Marvel characters who would make better movie stars.

So they made a deal, and although they still ‘own’ Spider-Man, they’re willing to share. Fantastic.

So here are some of the places I suspect/would like to see the wall-crawler show up:

Civil_War_Vol_1_2_Wraparound

The first and perhaps most likely place is the upcoming Civil War. It was originally announced that the Black Panther would emulate Spider-Man’s role in the next Captain America flick, but seeing as he’s getting his own movie in the not too distance future and [possible spoilers] is suspected to have an appearance in Age of Ultron, I very much doubt Chadwick Boseman would scootch aside a little to give the web-slinger some space. And what with Spider-Man’s next installment having already taken the place of Black Panther, I’d say that situation is not unlikely.

This would be perhaps the best place because it would affirm Spider-Man’s position in the new Marvel Movieverse, post-Civil War, and make it believable that he could have perhaps been around but out of sight since the start of the first Avengers.

Plus, objectifying a young teen superhero to make their point would make Iron Man and Captain America’s struggle much more poignant and morally grey.

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One of the best original team-ups from Marvel has got to be Spider-Man and Daredevil. Street-savvy heroes who operate in completely different ways. One is mostly dark and brooding, the other quipping and aloof. Both love the thrill of superhero-ing. Now, Daredevil is soon to be getting his own show, that looks pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. But for the time being, he’s probably going to remain Netflix only.

Now imagine if Marvel and Netflix made another deal? A Spider-Man/Daredevil team-up movie. It would be a way of Netflix transferring their characters from big to small screen, and for Marvel to perhaps avoid the Spider-Man/Superhero over-saturation of the market.

They team-up, the fight, they reunite to battle someone like Mysterio, whilst Daredevil teaches Spider-Man how to make the streets his own, and Spidey teaches Daredevil to have a little fun. The perfect Superhero buddy cop film.

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Everyone wants to see Spider-Man join the Avengers. But if we’re honest, the Avengers have a good thing going. They’re bringing in new and interesting heroes, and they’ve already got Robert Downey Jr. hogging the limelight. They don’t need whoever is next cast as Spider-Man to do the same.

So a spin-off, much in the same vain as the aforementioned Netflix/Marvel idea. Let’s say the Avengers get taken out of the picture for a movie, but the world still needs saving. Who do you call? Looking at the above cover, you could already make a basic roster straight off the bat. Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Doctor Strange are all set to join the movie-verse in the near future. Perhaps just sub Ronin and Spider-Woman for Hawkeye and Black Widow as a means linking it to the main film and you’re golden. Just a shame Marvel can’t bag Wolverine as well, but then that could allow for someone like Black Panther to take his place. Give and interesting contrast between the street-wise thug that is Luke Cage and the majestic prince known as Black Panther. Talk about diversity.

Punisher 

 

As I’ve said, Wolverine can’t be used. Unfortunately, after Daredevil, he’d be my next choice alongside the Fantastic Four or the X-Men. But alas, it is not to be. So instead, why not throw in someone like Wolverine, who has had a similar relationship with the wall-crawler.

Picture this: Spider-Man returns for his next big screen outing, where he is plagued by the menace of the Chameleon. Framed for murder or theft, Spider-Man attracts the attention of The Punisher, who has made it his mission to end crime on the streets of New York City. The two fight, the Punisher proves admirably adept, and Spider-Man struggles with the morality of the Punisher’s methods as the pair bring the villain to justice.

3173470-thunderbolts+#115+-+page+1But then again, who says Spider-Man has to feature at all? Say Spider-Man shows up in one of the aforementioned franchises, then Marvel could use it to springboard another property of theirs; The Thunderbolts. Yes, at this stage, it would look just like they were copying Suicide Squad, but the Thunderbolts would already be mostly established villains and have super-powers. Bring in someone new as Norman Osborn, his identity still in-tact, as the Thunderbolts new Director. Perhaps start the film with flashbacks to Spider-Man’s conflict with the Venom suit, introducing him as well. Follow through with Baron Zemo from Civil War in the place of Swordsman. Whack in Bullseye from his inevitable appearance in Daredevil. Then maybe finish off with assorted villains from Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man or heck, even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

To be honest, Marvel could just throw any random villains in, and I doubt people would complain. Not everyone can have their own solo film to start them off.

Anyway, can you tell I’m excited? I’ll be back tomorrow with a couple of reviews for you. Squee.

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Comic Books, Film & TV

 

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Amazing.

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Let’s talk about Peter Parker. Don’t know the guy? Does whatever a spider can. He’s Spider-Man.

Supposedly, it’s a pretty good time to be a Spider-fan. A new series and a new film. It’s great stuff.

Or so it should be. I pre-ordered my copy of the new Amazing Spider-Man #1 months ago, and although I didn’t end up getting the cover I spent weeks searching for (the Marcos Martin variant), the one I did get my hands on was better than expected (the Pop Mhan variant).

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Pretty nice right? And its visual appeal only get’s better when it’s actually held in your hands. And then you open it.

Don’t get me wrong, Amazing Spider-Man #1 was a good read, just like I loved the Amazing Spider-Man 2, it was a really entertaining movie. But after all the hype, I feel like they both could have been a little better. With over a year of the so-called ‘Superior Spider-Man’ swinging about, I couldn’t wait to get Peter Parker back in the drivers seat. I enjoyed the antics of Otto Octavius, but I’m a fan of Spider-Man for a reason. And to me, Peter Parker is the only real Spider-Man. Kaine? He’s pretty cool. Ben Reilly? Alright I guess. Miles Morales? Not too shabby. But none of them have anything on Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

And so, when I opened my new comic book and sat down to read, or when I got comfy in the cinema, twice, and the title credits rolled, I prepared myself to be wowed. And in both instances, to an extent, I was left fairly satisfied. But now that I think about it, in hindsight, I realised that in both cases, I wasn’t truly wowed by either story. In the comic book, the main story was alright, but it was the back-up teaser-tales that seemed more interesting, and whilst the film was visually spectacular, some things just seemed unnecessary.

Another issue I have is that although a lot seemed to happen, at the same time, not much really happened. In the comic book, Spider-Man swings round mostly in the buff, fights some D-List villains and tries to figure out what has gone on in his life whilst he’s been absent. Each storyline left off from ‘Superior’ is edged forward ever so slightly, but none of them in a significant way until the last page. After claiming he will no longer “work with” Spider-Man to the general public, Peter once again neglects his responsibilities as the head of ‘Parker Industries’ to go web-slinging, so not much progress on that front. The Avengers, whose intellect had been wildly played down in ‘Superior’ are still unsure how to react to him, so not much progress on that front either. And although it could be argued that severing the ties between Parker Industries and Spider-Man could be a big step, really the only progress I was interested in in the whole issue was Anna Maria’s reveal that she knows his secret at the end.

Likewise, in the film, Peter and Gwen’s relationship, whilst moving forward, doesn’t actually progress much further forward from the first film until the last 30/40 minutes when Peter promises to follow Gwen wherever she may go, shortly before she bites the dust. Big things, sure, but the whole on-again-off-again romance up until that point seems pointless at times in my opinion, and I already knew she would die at the end anyway.

And then there’s my favourite part of the films, the villains. Unfortunately, Jamie Fox’s Electro spends half the film bumbling around or incarcerated, Paul Giamatti’s Rhino only shows up for a few minutes to bookend the film, and Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin gets taken out pretty easily (which I suppose makes sense, considering he had been a villain all of ten minutes, but regardless).

All-in-all, I feel like whilst April 30th provided a good helping of Spidey-filled fun, none of it really met my expectations. That’s not to say I’m not excited for what’s next; I have faith in both Dan Slott and Marc Webb to tell a good story. It’s just that after the rather mediocre ending to the Superior Spider-Man #31, I’m still waiting for Spider-Man to once again prove himself to be truly Amazing.

On a side note, that Shazam preview of the Sinister Six? Pretty awesome. It’s the promise of things to come that keeps me interested.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Comic Books

 

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“Emotionally Subnormal”: Comic Book Culture and its Intended Audience

At twenty years old, I’ll admit to being a big fan of comic books. But the stereotype seems to dictate that as you get older, you either put down your comics and become part of society, or you’re sucked into a life-halting abyss and condemned to forever be a man-child who lives in your mothers basement. Fortunately for me, my mother doesn’t have a basement.

But despite my glib claims, I really do take the whole issue to heart. Why should people be panned for doing something they enjoy, just because parts of society deem it childish, and is that really what my future holds (sans-basement)?

The Criticism.

Back in November, writer Alan Moore revealed his view on super-hero comic books. He claimed that they were a product meant for thirteen year old’s back in the 1950s. Of course, many comic book fans didn’t take kindly to this, for the most part because they themselves were well over the age of thirteen, and this man that many of them had revered had just collectively insulted them. Another big problem they had with this was that Alan Moore is the writer of such ‘graphic novels’ as Batman: The Killing Joke, in which Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker, kidnaps and humiliates Police Commissioner Gordon, and shoots and paralyses Batgirl, the Commissioner’s daughter and Batman’s one-time sidekick. It was pretty dark stuff, but is considered a must-read by many fans. However, for all you non-comic fans out there, another of Moore’s works that you’re probably more familiar with is the graphic novel which would go on to become the source material for the 2009 film The Watchmen. Again, it’s dark stuff, and has lead many to question whether Moore intended those works for children and teenagers. But having worked in the industry for decades, Moore knows the inner workings of its system, and is of course entitled to his own opinion.

But I realise that this is also an opinion that many other non-comic readers share. As a collector myself, I can see how people might think the whole thing is a bit childish. It’s an industry that has a predominantly male following, and idolises men and women flying around in tight revealing costumes solving problems in what could be argued to be most brutish way they can think of.

But in recent years, with the release of Fox’s X-Men film franchise, DC’s numerous attempts at Batman and Superman films, and Marvel’s ever-expanding Cinematic Universe, comic books are undergoing a renaissance in terms of its following. People are starting to appreciate superheroes a lot more than they used to, but this still isn’t leading to a universal appreciation for the printed source material.

A Failed Renaissance?

And why would they? People go to the cinema to escape their day to day lives and achieve a sense of escapism, not to find another reason to ‘waste’ their money on a product that’s very easily damaged, and provides about 20 minutes of entertainment. It’s like subscribing to a television series, but having to own a hard copy of every episode you watch. Instead, they can pay £8/$14 or so, sit down for an hour or two, and be wowed by the colourful characters speeding across their screen towards an eventual happy ending. And that’s that; they’ve had their money’s worth, and they can go home happy that the hero has won the day.

But what the films don’t convey is just how deep the comic book stories can run. And that’s not a criticism of the film makers, I love super hero movies. Too much perhaps. I look at my DVD collection on the shelves across the room from me, and about a quarter of the ones I keep here at my university housing are comic book adaptations of some sort. But because I’m such a big fan of both mediums, I can see that the differences between the two are staggering. Like all Hollywood films, superhero movies are made to make a profit. That’s why after the occasional risk pays off (2008’s Iron Man), a studio will for the most part stick with what they know. Hence the countless returns to Batman, whose presence in a film is guaranteed to gather an audience, no matter how good or bad the film actually is (1997’s Batman & Robin, I’m looking at you). But if you were to find someone eager enough to frequent their local comic book store, and ask them about a few of their favourite characters, chances are, unless they were simplifying matter’s for you convenience, they would be able to list off a fair few characters who you may only have the vaguest idea about.

Which is why comic book fans everywhere are praising the risk behind the soon-to-be released Guardians of the Galaxy. When I told my house-mate that GotG had been put into production, describing it as a ‘Star Wars-esque superhero flick, featuring a gun-toting, talking raccoon and a tree [played by Vin Diesel]’, he rightly admitted that that sounds like a ridiculous move on Marvel Studios’ part. But having read the source material, I realise that it’s a pretty fun and entertaining read.

Good v. Entertaining.

That’s the way I categorize most of the films I own/have seen, unless of course they’re just bad movies. And obviously, I can apply the same rule to comic books. As I said previously, Guardians of the Galaxy by Abnett and Lanning is a fun comic book. It’s Entertaining.

I mean, sure, it’s a good read as well, but as far as comics go, I would place it on the entertaining side of the spectrum (although just to clarify, good films/comics are obviously entertaining as well, but hopefully you understand my meaning). On the good side of the spectrum sit my favourite story-lines/issues. For instance, a Thor comic in which the title protagonist is heckled for not being around the stop Hurricane Katrina; a Spider-Man issue where reeling from the death of a close friend, the hero is forced to debate whether or not a relentless mass murderer deserves to be saved; a Luke Cage-orientated issue of Avengers, where the Harlem hero is attacked by government agents for refusing to become to submit to a questionable new law; or a Doctor Strange story where the sorcerer’s trusty ‘manservant’ is diagnosed with cancer, the one evil it seems he cannot face. To extend this back into film territory, to a lesser extent I could claim that Iron Man 3 is my favourite Marvel film, because it see’s Tony Stark stripped of his armour, and forced to combat evil whilst stricken with PTSD.

Do those sound interesting to you? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, everyone has different tastes. And that’s the point!

Sure, people could say that comic books are childish, but what’re the chances they’ve actually read that many? Comics, like any other medium, cover a vast array of issues, and they’re not just limited to superheroes. Other acclaimed comics include things like Y: The Last Man (which is awesome) or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (which I have to admit, I haven’t actually read, just watched the film, which is also awesome, and I’m not even that fond of Michael Cera). There’s just so much to chose from, and I think it’s a shame that people are so quick to dismiss all comic’s as something for the ‘Emotionally Subnormal’.

But seriously, watch Scott Pilgrim. It’s awesome.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2014 in Comic Books

 

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