2017 Summer Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Spider-Man (Tom Holland) swings into action in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the latest in the MCU. (Source: Den of Geek!)

Who doesn’t love Spider-Man? The friendly neighborhood superhero who swings into action to stop crime in New York City? He’s one of the wittiest superheroes in the Marvel comics. He made his theatrical debut in 2002, starring Tobey Maguire, and has rebooted ten years later, starring Andrew Garfield. Spider-Man is rebooted yet again so he can show the Marvel Cinematic Universe whose boss.

He might have been brought in at the last minute. But—he exceeded everyone’s expectations in Captain America: Civil War. What worked was the authenticity of Spider-Man being played by an actual teenager. Tom Holland—who was 19 at the time—got the character right on the money.

It’s hard not to look forward to seeing him on the verge of becoming an Avenger. Spider-Man: Homecoming proves MCU is stepping up its A-game.

After Civil War, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns to living with his aunt May (Marisa Tomei) at his home in Queens. He goes to a private high school, where he is one of the smartest kids there. Not to mention being on the academic decathlon. However, school is getting rough, particularly with his frequent encounters with his bully Flash (Tony Revolori).

While Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is moving the Avengers Headquarters upstate, they remain his mentor. Things get worse when Spider-Man must face against Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), or the Vulture, who has plans of his own to take over the Stark’s business.

There is plenty to like here. One of the best action set pieces in the movie takes place on the Staten Island Ferry where Spider-Man saves the people on board after a weapon malfunctions. One problem, however, is that the ferry doesn’t allow cars after the 9/11 attacks.

Holland is the definitive Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He gets every one-liner and every web-slinging action pitch perfect! Keaton’s Vulture feels more like a real person than the previous Spider-Man villains. In terms of the MCU, he joins the ranks of Loki and Zemo as one of the best villains. But—in terms of the Spider-Man movies, he’s not quite as menacing as Alfred Molina’s portrayal of Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2. John Batalon steals the show as Ned, Peter’s awkwardly funny best friend. It’s hard not to get a laugh out of him.

2017 has been full of surprises thus far. Spider-Man: Homecoming is another great addition to the MCU, and easily one of the best high school movies of all-time.

3.5/4

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Movie Review: Birdman

Michael Keaton gives the performance of a lifetime in "Birdman"

Michael Keaton gives the performance of a lifetime in “Birdman”

Nominated for 9 Oscars including Best Picture, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) reminds us why movies are made. People want to see something new, something rather out of the ordinary, and something that will be talked about for many years. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, Gravity) make a technically ambitious movie using various film and editing techniques to make it look like it’s shot in one continuous take (similar to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope). Michael Keaton is brilliant as Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor who used to play an iconic superhero called “Birdman” trying to make it big on Broadway by writing, directing and starring in a play based on a short story by Raymond Carver. Days leading up to opening day, he fights for his career, ego, and most importantly, himself. The scene where he holds a grudge on a New York Times theatre critic who is going to give his play a negative review before opening day proves that his performance might win the Oscar. Leading an all-star cast including Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Zach Galafianakis, this is a movie that is funny, satirical, strange, philosophical, and moving.

4/4