Donald Glover

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Review #78

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spider_man_poster2.jpgCue the jingle.

Spider-Man: Homecoming, directed by Jon Watts, is the sixteenth (Jesus Christ) film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the third goddamn reincarnation of the web-slinger in recent history. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine — distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.

The previous Spider-Man films have had this steady decline of caring within me throughout them. The three Raimi movies I watched in my childhood and will forever be my favorites-yes, even Spider-Man 3 come at me-of the genre; I watched The Amazing Spider-Man once I never cared for it nor that franchise since; and now we have reboot #3, a Spider-Man movie for the modern times.

But, as usual, I try to go into any movie with an open mind. It’a only fair. So how does our newest superhero fare?

Not very great.

Talk about a movie that’s unappealing. No, not that exact word. “Mind switch-off-ing”, there we go. Everything about this movie feels tested and almost manufactured; there’s no soul to it. It’s not a terrible movie by any stretch of the imagination, it just feels like “another movie in the MCU”. It doesn’t shine enough to be really remarkable, which is a shame because you can see there is some potential.

The lack of attracting characters is only magnified when you realize that this is a coming-of-age-film. The interactions between Holland’s Peter Parker and Batalon’s Ned don’t feel like two characters actually talking; it just feels like actors acting out their parts. They’re absolutely trying their best, I’ll give them that, but it just didn’t work for me. I think the main reason for this is the goddamn constant cutting. Holland says a line; cut. Batalon says a quip; cut. When you want to show a character mature and grow in some way, perhaps being spoken to by a mentor figure, can you not cut every single four syllables because you’re scared the audience might lose interest? Get it together, people.

Speaking of the cast, they’re alright. I believe the flaws of the film lay more on the technical aspects of it more than the contents. I could actually get behind Tom Holland as Peter, and the side characters, in better means, would be at least more interesting. Tony Revolori is in this movie, for example, and he’s Flash Thompson. But throughout the movie you don’t think of him as Flash, you think of him as the freaking bell boy from The Grand Budapest Hotel. The movie doesn’t give its actors good material to work with.

And Marissa Tomei as Aunt May was just weird to me. This is completely personal preference, but there’s an innate wrong-ness to me in seeing people being sexually attracted to her. No fault of the actress, she’s actually pretty good, just feels strange to me.

Whatever else I’m gonna say is pretty much just the same thing; the people they have in this movie are actually pretty competent, it’s just the execution that kills any excitement, so I’m cutting this review short. In conclusion, this movie is 2 hours of bland “okay”. I’m going back to my Raimi and J.K. Simmons.

spider_man_poster2.jpg

The Martian – Review #47

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Why didn’t they use ‘Stayin’ Alive’?

The MartianThe Martian, directed by Sir Ridley Scott, is the film adaptation of the best-selling book from Andy Weir. Mark Watney is part of a 6 man crew of the Ares III, a manned Mars mission. When a freak storm occurs, they are forced to abort the mission and go back to their ship, the Hermes. However, when Mark is hit by flying debris, he is presumed dead and left behind. He is of course, not dead and finds himself stranded on the Red Planet. And so, with limited supplies, he must find a way to communicate with NASA, grow more food, and in general a way to escape from Mars.

As I’ve said, the movie is based on the novel of the same name from Andy Weir. The book is not your usual standard sci-fi fare. Aliens are nowhere in sight. This is hard, down-to-earth science. Usually something like ‘if I x reacts with y it’ll make z, but I don’t want z, so I’ll heat x and let that react with y, which in turn will make a. But to heat x, I’ll need to bla bla bla…’ gets looked over in sci-fi, or at least not went into detail. The novel, however, relishes in that science explanation. We want to know how to heat x. That type of story-telling of course can be considered boring to some people, and while I can see why, I personally am a sucker for these things. I deliberately bought the book and read it within a month to prep myself for the movie. And as I was reading it, I was kinda skeptical about how the film would turn out. Sciency-talk movies don’t really have a wide appeal, and to make that interesting for 2 and a half hours? Props to the screenwriter Drew Goddard and Ridley Scott for making 2 and a half hours worth of science engaging as all hell.

It’s a shame that I couldn’t watch this in IMAX, because oh my god Mars is so beautiful to look at. Sweeping shots of the desolate planet and just the overall…red of it makes it so eye-warming. And when it’s not flying around Mars, the camera is hand-held, getting down and dirty with Mark Watney and the people at NASA trying to help him. Ridley Scott really has a great eye for visuals. But then,what did you expect from the guy who made Alien?

The cast is impeccable. Matt Damon is a great Mark Watney, being able to be humorous and sarcastic, but still know when to shut up and think. The people in NASA who try to bring Watney, from Jeff Daniels to Donald ‘Childish Gambino’ Glover are all great, the crew of the Ares III, played by Jessica Chastain, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hennie, while having less screen time than Watney or the NASA people, still do a good job. I have no problems with the cast at all.

If I have anything bad to say about The Martian, it’s that I wished there was more sciency-talk. What I got was a more than substantial amount, and I’m very happy with I have, but I just want more. Even if it extends the movie to Satantango length, I would still watch it. Besides that, I have no negativity about The Martian to say.

Overall, The Martian is a masterpiece in science fiction, even-though the fiction isn’t as far-fetched as other movies. Definite recommendation, and a must watch on IMAX. Also, according to my fellow friends, one of Ridley Scott’s best in quite a while.