Spider-man Homecoming review

So I have had some time to think about whether or not I loved Spider-Man Homecoming or not and while I absolutely loved a lot about it, there were things about it I thought could have been done a lot different.  Beyond this point there are spoilers.  One of the more clever moments in the movie happens at the beginning when we see Peter creating a home video of his mission to Berlin to fight with the avengers in Civil War essentially making a movie inside a movie.  I had a ton of fun watching these scenes mostly because it was clever but primarily because it captures the essence of the wonder of what it might be like to be a teen asked to help out the Avengers on a mission.  Tom Holland does a great job as a hyper teenager with over exuberant need to be more than just a teen.  After the mission Peter is told “we’ll call you if we need you” but instead of treating it like the brush off it is, he uses it as an excuse to hound Happy, Stark’s chauffeur, into letting him in on an Avenger’s mission.  Stark does let Peter keep the suit

The movie takes place after the battle of New York.   A construction team, headed up by Adrian Toomes( The Vulture) is recovering Chitauri weaponry from wreckage sites when Damage Control, Tony Stark’s clean up crew, takes over and steals the job from Adrian but not without retaining some of the technology that they keep to sell to other criminals.

Spidey finds out about this by thwarting a bank robbery that causes a lot of property damage when the technology malfunctions.  

It becomes Peter Parker’s mission to thwart the weapons ring much to the chagrin of Tony Stark.  Eventually, Peter’s desire to do something big creates a situation where he could be more of a harm which causes Tony to take back the Spidey suit saying ” if you’re nothing without the suit, you shouldn’t have it.”

The side plot is Peter’s adolescent crush with Liz who we later find out is part of the twist in the movie.  I didn’t love the character of Liz Toomes.  It would have been a great plot point but we have seen the “I can’t be happy because I’m Spidey plot line in previous movies and I wanted him to get the girl.  There is another woman in the movie but to reveal her identity would ruin the surprise.

So what was the beef I talked about earlier in this post?  Spidey kicked butt in Civil War.  He was a force to be reckoned with,but for the majority of the movie Stark knocks Parker down a few pegs.  It seemed a bit heavy handed and at times excessive.  Especially since the movie’s hero spends much of the movie being made to look like a fool to propel a plot line about whether or not Parker will get back up when he gets knocked.  That part of the movie seemed a bit contrived.

However, the rest of the movie was really fun.  Keaton did a great job as a disgruntled blue color worker trying to stick it to the Man.  Some of the scenes in the movie painted The Vulture as a truly terrifying villain.

Peter’s best friend in the movie, Ned, might be one of the best things about the movie.  He’s the perfect blend of smart, dorky, voice of reason for Parker.

I enjoyed this movie very much but it changes one or two things in the Canon that I don’t think can be changed ( it has to do with Aunt May)

The music in the movie is good including an orchestral version of the original cartoon theme song in the beginning of the film.  I can’t say this was the best Marvel movie of the bunch but it’s up at the top.  Grade: B

┬áReview of Marvel Studio’s Ant Man

Some Spoilers but not enough to ruin the movie….

So…people who have read my reviews of past Marvel movies know that I don’t sugar coat how I feel about them.  I have some pretty high standards when it comes to these movies.  Most have been pretty good but there have been some huge flops too( Iron Man 3 and Fantastic four, both of them, and Spider-man 3 which was a disaster).

On a scale of 1-10 this one lands about an 8.  First off, I think it’s important to recognize that even though Ant Man has played a huge part in the Marvel Comic book universe, what most people know of the character comes from Hank Pym.  Hank is in this movie but he is not Ant-Man.  He has retired and has turned over the reins to Scott Lang.  Michael Douglas did a great job playing Hank.

Paul Rudd does a commendable job as a hero with a checkered past who is trying to redeem himself in the eyes of his ex-wife so he can spend time with his daughter.  The movie spends a very short amount of time setting up that he was a thief who is trying to go legit.  Of course he gets sucked back in but for a mostly noble cause.

The movie did a pretty great job with the Origin stories of each of the characters.  Enough emotion was put into the movie that you have a very clear picture of the motivations of each character.

Evangeline Lily was also enjoyable as Hank’s daughter and plays the strained relationship very well. 

As far as the humor is concerned, there were very few times where the jokes didn’t hit.  There are a lot of jokes in the movie and some very funny moments that worked really, really well.  But I also thought there were moments that elicited giggles where it was clear the writers wanted big laughs.  I was a little disappointed that the humor wasn’t a bit more consistent.

The special effects are great.  However, because it’s a movie about a guy who has command over ants, you have to give yourself a minute to get over the absurdity of that statement.  For the most part, you get to the point where it all seems pretty cool.  But if I’m honest, I found myself asking the question about its cheesiness a lot.  As I mentioned I thought most of it was very cool.  One way that the writer helped that along was by giving us an entomology lesson on what different kinds of ants can do.  

I think the only big gripe I had about the movie is that it took too long for us to meet Yellowjacket and once we meet him there is not enough of him in the movie.  The fight scene at the end was great and there are some awesome visuals that are both very funny and great to watch.  That and I would have enjoyed seeing more of Michael Pena who steals every scene he’s in.

This was a very fun movie.  Would I have liked it to be a bit better?  A little.  I enjoyed this movie a lot more than Age of Ultron.  There are some areas in the movie that could have used some polishing but not enough to keep me from enjoying it.  Oh, and stay through the credits.  There are two scenes and one of them teases another movie franchise.  Grade: B

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron Review( Spoilers)

There will be spoilers 
As a person who reads comic books, I have certain expectations with the movies that there is going to be some semblance of purpose of latching on to the true origin story of the characters portrayed in the comics.  This really only met some of those expectations.    I also have a certain expectation that when a Marvel movie has the same title as a major Marvel comic book event that there are some similarities between the two.  That expectation was not remotely reached.

In the comic book Ultron is an A.I. that was created by Hank Pym. For those of you not familiar with the term, A.I. means artificial intelligence.  In the movie Ultron is an idea that Tony Stark and Bruce Banner have for creating an A.I. that will be a defense system so that the Avengers are no longer needed.  The problem?  They have not figured out how to give it life.  Until now.  

Enter Loki’s scepter.  Baron Von Strucker is using it to experiment on humans.  The Avengers are sent to recover it.  They experience resistance in the form of Scarlet Witch and quicksilver, two differently abled humans that have been experimented on.

They recover the scepter and they find that The power in the gem located at the top of the scepter contains an AI that, Tony Stark posits, could be used to jump start Ultron.  He has 3 days to make it work before Thor brings the scepter back to Asgard.

Stark finishes Ultron without telling the rest of team but it backfires when Ultron attacks J.A.R.V.I.S and the Avengers.  He escapes the Avengers base with the scepter and he goes back to the hydra base where Von Strucker was and begins to create an army and upgrades himself with Vibranium he stole from Wakanda.  One of his soldiers is Vision and he imbeds his creation with the Infinity gem found in the scepter.  He creates Vision to destroy the avengers( that is the correct origin story part) but Vision would rather help the Avengers because he doesn’t believe the world needs to be destroyed.  The mere fact that the AI was created causes a rift in the team and Ultron uses that disent to drive a further wedge in the team.  In what I thought was a hokey plot line, the Avengers determine that if they try to fight Ultron separately they will lose but if the fight as a team they can beat Ultron.

There are other plot lines in the movie and some of them were effective but others were not.  The movie spent time on making the characters more human than Super hero.  While it was good to get Hawkeye and Black Widow’s back story, I found myself wondering if those back stories were good or if they interrupted the pacing of the movie.  I thought it was good to show that the characters have lives beyond the Avengers but a movie that showcases the team kind of buries the need to know much more

One plot line I thought was awful was the Natasha Romanov/ Bruce Banner love interest plot line.  Apparently, the two have fallen in love and we are supposed to just accept that it happened.  We have seen no hint of it in any other of the other movies and, as a result, I was left with the question: “When did that happen?” We don’t get much of any answer.

Perhaps, in my opinion, the biggest mistake that Whedon made in this movie was not giving us any scenes in any other movies where Stark is working on Ultron.  Instead, Ultron is introduced to movie-goers as “You know that thing I’ve been working on?”.  There is no background given except one small conversation.

They should have picked someone else to play Ultron,  There are a handful of actors that are instantly recognizable when you listen to them or watch them.  James Spader is one of them.  The cadence of his voice is the same in everything.  As a result I was jarred out of the fantasy of the movie.  I kept waiting for Ultron to turn around dressed like Red Reddington from The Blacklist.

As much as there were things I didn’t like about the movie, there were also things I really liked.  The Hulkbuster Iron Man Vs. Hulk fight was almost worth the price of admission.  It was very cool to watch and had a very humorous ending.  In addition, it was not too far outside the canon of the characters.

They also absolutely got Vision right.  Paul Bettany did a great job portraying The artificial life form.  I am really hoping to see more of him in the future.

I also thought Elizabeth Olsen did a great job as Scarlet Witch.  She is absolutely a bad ass.  

I talked to my friends about the movie and they liked it more than I did.  It seemed to me that Whedon was trying too hard to fit too much into the movie.  It also seemed that he was tired of the movie because it didn’t have the same urgency and vibrancy of the first movie

Did I like the movie?  Yes.  Did I love it?  No.  I’m giving this movie a very weak grade of B