Spider-Man: Homecoming Review

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www.hypergeeky.comMarvel Studios brought home a big prize back in 2015 when they announced they had partnered with Sony Pictures to bring Spider-Man into the MCU. The Internet broke, and hope was renewed that Marvel could one day bring back other franchises sold off to other studios during a time of financial crisis.

As celebration turned into speculation, Marvel explained they weren’t going to explore Spider-Man’s origin story and that his introduction would come in Captain America: Civil War. The cameo was stellar, and the hype for Homecoming (the title, not so much) went through the roof.

The single best decision for the movie was the exclusion of an origin story — which would have made it the third retelling in 15 years. Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives ready to go, and he’s a bit more evolved than any previous version’s first single-movie appearance.

First, he’s got Iron Man upgrades — a nigh-indestructible suit and high-tech webshooters. Second, his resume’s stacked. Toby Maguire ended his first movie after taking on the Green Goblin. When the opening credits roll on Tom Holland’s Homecoming, he’s already fought one-half of the Avengers.

Which is sort of how Homecoming starts — a quick recap of the events in home-movie form shows Peter Parker getting his new suit and waiting for Tony Stark’s “Underoos!” signal at the airport where the Avengers implode. Parker, at this point, is a 15-year-old whose exuberance seems a little misplaced given he’s about to throw down against half of the world’s greatest heroes.

Thankfully, nothing too crazy happens to Parker, and Stark brings him home. Parker’s given a fine line of responsibility by his new mentor — “Don’t do anything I would do, and definitely don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. There’s a little gray area in there, and that’s where you operate.” Parker gets to keep his suit, and his tenure as the neighbor-hood friendly Spider-Man officially begins, though he frequently laments that he’d rather hang out with the Avengers.

While Homecoming doesn’t go through the motions of another origin story, it’s still very much a walkthrough of Spider-Man’s first steps as a superhero sponsored by Stark. When best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) hacks into the suit and removes the babysteps protocol, Spider-Man gets all of the cheat codes starting with an AI, similar to Iron Man’s J.A.R.V.I.S. A host of settings that allow him to change his voice, shoot a few hundred different combinations of webbing, and control a flying drone round out the mix, and Spider-Man uses them to full effect in taking on an underground arms dealer who’s made a business of selling overpowered Chitauri weapons.

It’s a Spider-Man built for the technology age, and it’s a solid film — though it has some glaring drawbacks.

First, the movie really made me feel my age — as a 37-year-old, I am not exactly the movie’s demographic. Set in high school with all that entails, Parker has to navigate between his duties as an academic, his crush on the senior Liz (Laura Harrier), and dodging bullies like Flash (Tony Revolori).

And while we’re working under the assumption that Uncle Ben ultimately left Peter with the words, “With great power comes great responsibility,” the movie maintains a fine balance in that gray area that unfortunately doesn’t give us much emotion to draw from — no real big highs and no sorrowful lows. Though Tomei imbues Aunt May with a little anxiety that gives us a consequence of what happened on that fateful night, we never really see Peter dealing with the death of his uncle or the aftermath of it. It’s as if this movie takes place just after Parker’s been absolved of all guilt and regret regarding Ben’s death. While we get to see him stretch his wings, we never feel that closeness because we weren’t in those emotional trenches with him. We get all the joy but none of the pain, which is perhaps why every Batman ever (it seems like it, anyway) mentions the Wayne deaths. It is the why, and Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t really include that.

His foil, Michael Keaton’s villainous turn as a bomber-jacket wearing jetpack pilot Adrian Toomes, never gets an official name in the movie — though he’s basically the MCU’s Vulture. A former 99-percenter, Toomes turns his back on the law, resorting to illegal arms trade with harvested Chitauri and alien technology in order to keep his company and its employees working. The conflict between Spider-Man and Toomes ends with a tremendous impact on Parker’s personal life, but before we can really get into deep water, we’re brought back to the shallow end.

Parker’s motivation for being a superhero is a fantasy. Back when I was a kid, we all played that game — what superpowers would you want and why? Parker gets superhuman strength and agility along with Stark technology, and he runs with it like any teenager would. There is joy in seeing this as a Spider-Man fan, but it isn’t until the second half of the movie that he becomes a more familiar version of the webslinger that we know and love — flawed, conflicted, and filled with true purpose.

I could write a few paragraphs on it, but what better to describe the essence of Spider-Man than his television theme song which goes something like this:

“Spider-Man, Spider-Man. Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Wealth and fame, he’s ignored. Action is his reward.”

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Alien: Covenant Review

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www.hypergeeky.comNever has an Alien movie felt so rote — so … familiar.

Looking back, each film in the series had something new or original to offer, even if the overall package was hit or miss.

The first two films are considered classics — rightly so and each for varying reasons. The first film, Alien, was a gripping horror movie that gave science fiction movies a new angle. Its sequel, James Cameron’s Aliens, went the more-is-better route, giving audiences a war movie pitting human forces against an overwhelming and superior company of predators.

Subsequent movies weren’t as well-received — Alien 3 went through numerous rewrites, and the final result felt like a letdown in contrast to what could have been. Alien: Resurrection went far into the future with a cloned Ripley and an interesting cast of characters, but it lacked the spirit of previous films.

And the prequel Prometheus tried to expand the lore while exploring religious and moral plot points. Many felt it was too convoluted and messy, while others critiqued it for silly characters who just couldn’t keep themselves from dying.

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Secret Empire #1 Review

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www.hypergeeky.comThe Cap’s out of the bag, and modern history in the Marvel Universe is as it — ahem — should be.

Not that fans are happy with the development. It was one thing to turn Captain America into a Hydra agent. It was another to reveal that the entirety of Marvel Comics history was a lie and that Steve Rogers — along with Hydra — were the true winners of World War II.

Secret Empire #1 takes place about a year after the Captain set off a chain of events that would put Hydra back in control. History books have been fixed, Big Brother is even bigger, and anyone exhibiting any forms of superpowers must register with the government.

Many of Earth’s mightiest heroes are still in space, locked out by a global shield. Those on Earth unwilling to accept the new way of things have either been imprisoned or have been forced into hiding, hoping to maintain some safety from the Dreadnoughts, Hydra’s Sentinel-like robots.

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Secret Empire #0 Review

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www.hypergeeky.comAfter the most recent Secret Wars event rewrote Marvel’s comic continuity, the company dropped a major bombshell when it brought Steve Rogers back into mix as Captain America.

For the past several years, Rogers took on a more administrative role after a confrontation with the Iron Nail left his Super-Soldier Serum inert. Working as the Avengers’ mission control leader, Rogers new role capitalized on his tactical prowess while his appointed successor Sam Wilson took on the mantle of Captain America.

With the new continuity firmly planted, Marvel saw fit to return Rogers to his original role and gave him back his superpowers. The company launched another Captain America title, and the first issue set off a huge clamor when it was revealed that Rogers in this current continuity was actually a Hydra agent. In case anyone thought it was some sort of cheap trick or double-screw flash plot twist meant to last a story arc or two, Marvel explained that Kobik — the living Cosmic Cube — had rewritten Rogers’ origin along with many other aspects of the new continuity. 

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Logan Review

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www.hypergeeky.comInteresting how this all came about. 

While the X-Men movies have basically been Wolverine-centric, it was X-Men Origins: Wolverine that featured the first onscreen appearance of the Merc With a Mouth — Deadpool — who eventually got his own solo movie that made a strong case for R-rated comic-book flicks. 

Studios have traditionally shied away from restricting comic-book movies to adults because of financial reasons — toys, merchandise, and a larger audience filled with teens and children. 

Which is, by James Mangold’s admission, why The Wolverine ended so badly — Logan fights a robot samurai and loses his claws, which somehow grow back.

Hrm.

Anyways, for what it’s worth, The Wolverine was better than Origins — though that’s not saying much. Origins was incredibly bad, and if I had to sit through it, I’d want the leaked version stripped of its special effects for educational reasons. 

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