This is basically where we are.
If you haven’t seen a film on the Thursday preview night, chances are every online publisher is going to share spoilers by Friday Evening. I get it. It’s the Nature of the Beast. It makes for news, and there are people out there who either don’t mind being spoiled or need to know what they’re seeing going into a film. It’s partially why sites like Movie Pooper, and Does The Dog Die are popular. I usually try not to say anything about a movie on Twitter because of this. Everyone deserves to feel that sense of awe and surprise when the lights come down in their cinema.
These are as spoiler free as I can make them. I may write something else to focus on my thoughts with spoilers down the road.
If you managed to stay off the Internet and avoid any spoilers to Spider-Man: No Way Home (outside of the trailers themselves), then you are in for some grand fun that is almost on the level of Avengers: Endgame. I’ve been to the theatres a few times during the pandemic. Perhaps because it was an After-Midnight showing, but the audience was fantastic. The film comes full circle, with an adventure that celebrates Spider-Man’s guest appearance in the MCU for Disney/Marvel, while still building on the character for Sony’s purposes in the future. As a Trilogy, Jon Watts and the team deserve a round of applause for sticking the landing so very well here. The third film in a series is never easy, and even Sam Raimi found that out with Spider-Man 3. By the time the movie was done, I was soaking up the applause like Colin Robinson in What We Do In the Shadows.
The film picks up right at the last end credit from Spider-Man: Far From Home with Quentin Beck’s Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) proclaiming to the world (through J. Jonah Jameson, played by J.K. Simmons as usual) that Spider-Man was in control of the Stark Drones and that he is really Peter Parker. Normally, my first thought here would be to own it – like Stark did. However, with murders tied in, it’s a bad rap for our webbed hero and anyone associated with him. Peter decides to make things right by visiting Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch, Power of the Dog) to make everyone forget that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. This gets botched and pulls through some villains that our Peter (Tom Holland) isn’t quite ready for.
As you’ve seen in the posters and trailers, Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina, Spider-Man 2), and Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man) along with a few others are pulled from their universe into Peter’s. When Peter discovers their fates in their own universes, he makes an attempt to save them, which puts him at odds with Doctor Strange. Can Peter find a way to change their futures, and clear his name in the process?
Of course, the gang’s all here. Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Marisa Tomei, and Jon Favreau are all on hand for this third one. Everyone has something to offer, with Zendaya, Batalon, and Tomei carrying the most weight. The only awkward character in the whole bunch is Favreau’s Happy Hogan, who is regulated into kind of a silly comic relief here. I don’t know. I just remember Happy being a bit more capable than they way they have him this time around.
From a writing standpoint, it’s somewhat innovative. If we didn’t already have the 2019’s Academy Award winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, I’d say No Way Home was walking into uncharted territory. The film makes up for this by allowing our Peter to choose differently, compared to what we historically know about Spider-Man and these villains. I honestly enjoyed that angle and thought it helped to drive home the whole “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility” motto that defines Spider-Man.
Musically, Michael Giacchino weaves his own form of magic here. Pulling themes both from Doctor Strange and what he’s done with the previous films, there are a number of great sequences. When all is said and done, the score for this film may very well rival Shirley Walker’s Batman: Mask of the Phantasm score for me.
At the time of this writing, it sounds like NYC is headed for another lockdown. I’m hoping that’s not the case. If this is the last movie I get to see in a theatre for a while, I’m thankful for it. Spider-Man: No Way Home completes a great handoff from Disney/Marvel to Sony. The character did what he needed for Disney/Marvel’s MCU, and Sony still holds the movie rights to the character for where they want to take him. I’m hopeful for Spider-Man’s cinematic future.
Our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man’s going to be okay.
The new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home opens with a warning from Tom Holland. Do not watch this trailer if you have not seen Avengers: Endgame and you want to avoid spoilers. It should also go without saying that, if you are avoiding Endgame spoilers, do not read any further on this post.
Judging from the trailer, Spider-Man: Far From Home finds Peter Parker mourning the loss of his mentor, Tony Stark. Looking to get away from the pressures of crime fighting and saving the world and also wanting to pursue his crush on Zendaya’s MJ, Peter joins his classmates on a trip to Europe. Were all of Peter’s classmates from Spider-Man: Homecoming wiped out by the Snap? According to Avengers: Endgame, bringing everyone back did not change anything that happened over the previous five years. Peter got lucky that MJ apparently wasn’t around to graduate high school and move away while he was non-existent.
Peter may want to escape from it all but Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury has other ideas. Judging from the trailer, it appears that Peter has replaced Tony with three new mentors, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau, making the transition over from the Iron Man films), and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio. Of course, anyone who is familiar with Mysterio’s history knows that Peter should be careful about trusting him.
The trailer also introduces the concept of the Multiverse. With all the questions that Endgame raised about time travel and alternate realities, the Multiverse is surely going to be an important factor moving forward. For instance, it may explain how there’s both a Loki TV show and a Black Widow movie in production when both of those characters were apparently very dead at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
Spider-Man: Far From Home opens on July 2nd.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was the Spider-Man that fans have been waiting for. It was able to balance the character of Peter Parker and his alter-ego of Spider-Man. Where the Sam Raimi version was able to make the former stand-out at the cost of the Spider-Man alter, the Marc Webb version swapped the two dynamics. Webb’s version had a great Spider-Man but had a Peter Parker whose moral compass was a bit skewed.
Jon Watt’s Spider-Man and Peter Parker were a nice balance. It helped that the character was now free (to a degree) to play in the huge cinematic sandbox that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Last we saw Spider-Man and Peter Parker, he was dusted just like half the living things in the universe following the Thanos Snap. The question that gets brought up whenever Spider-man: Far From Home, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming, gets talked about is does this film take away from the emotional sucker punch that was Avengers: Infinity War and it’s upcoming sequel, Avengers: Endgame.
From this teaser trailer and it’s international version has shown, the question still remains as both teasers mention nothing about the Avengers and keeps the timeline of the film vague enough to make one wonder if this sequel happens before Avengers: Infinity War.
I guess fans will find out on July 5, 2019 when the film is released worldwide.
….and here’s the International Teaser trailer
It was 56 years ago today that The Amazing Spider-Man made his first appearance in the 15th issue of Amazing Fantasy. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker developed super power but it was not until his uncle was murdered that Parker learned what it meant to be a hero.
With great power comes great responsibility and, as these four shots from four films demonstrate, movie stardom! Over the years, Nicholas Hammond, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland have all played America’s favorite web-spinning super hero.
In honor of Spider-Man’s birthday, here they are
4 Shots From 4 Films
Clown, a gory horror film, sucks.
I can’t say that I was particularly surprised to discover that it sucked but still, I was hoping that it would be better than it turned out to be. That’s largely because the film itself has a fairly compelling backstory. In 2010, director Jon Watts and his co-writer, Christopher D. Ford, uploaded a fake trailer for Clown to YouTube, in which they stated that the film would be produced by Eli Roth. Roth saw the trailer and was so impressed that he actually did decide to produce the film.
Filming began in 2010 and the film spent a while playing the festival circuit, where it got the type of vaguely respectable reviews that are usually given to low-budget horror films made by amateur filmmakers that no one is ever expecting to hear from again. In 2012, Dimension Films and FilmNation Entertainment acquired the rights to distribute Clown. What followed was an agonizing wait as Clown was basically released in almost every other country in the world. except for the USA. In fact, it wouldn’t be until 2016 that Clown would get an American release. During that time, Jon Watts received deserved acclaim for directing Cop Car and he was hired by Marvel to direct Spider-Man: Homecoming.
As an admirer of Watts’s subsequent films, I was really interested in seeing Clown. So, yesterday afternoon, I sat down and I watched Clown on Netflix.
Clown is the story of a stupid guy named Kent McCoy (Andy Powers) who tries to save his son’s birthday party by dressing up like a clown. What Kent doesn’t know is that the clown makeup is cursed and that, by putting it on, he’s now allowed himself to be possessed by a demon that feeds on children! What a dumbass! Kent tries to wash the makeup off his face but it won’t come off. He tries to take off his rainbow wig, just to discover that it’s now permanently attached to scalp. His wife uses a screw driver to try to pop off the red nose but, instead, she just rips his real nose to pieces. (The family dog eats the red nose and promptly becomes possessed.) Kent keeps telling everyone that he’s been possessed by a demon but no one believes him. Everyone just thinks that he’s a weirdo in clown makeup.
It sounds more interesting than it is. For all the promise in the idea of a possessed clown, Clown doesn’t do much with it. Clown is 90 minutes long but it only has enough plot for 30 minutes. The remaining hour is basically made up of characters repeating what we already know. We watch as Kent learns that the clown makeup is cursed. Then, we have to follow his wife as she does her own research and discovers that the clown makeup is cursed. Then, Peter Stomare shows up and starts explaining to everyone that the clown makeup is cursed. By this point, I was yelling at the screen, “I KNOW THIS ALREADY!”
Throughout the film, there are hints of the Jon Watts’s talent but, for the most part, they remain merely that. There’s an effective scene that takes place in a jungle gym at Chuck-E-Cheese’s and occasionally, there will be a line of dialogue or a movement of the camera that actually lives up to the plot’s subversive potential. However, especially when compared to Cop Car and Spider-Man, Clown is an abysmally paced film. It’s also terribly acted with Andy Powers neither sympathetic nor compelling as the possessed man in clown makeup. Not even a reliable character actor like Peter Stomare can bring much to the material.
The general rule of most horror films is that, no matter what the threat, dogs and children usually survive. The film not only breaks that rule but it breaks it multiple times. In fact, there’s so much blood spilled in the film that I actually found myself getting depressed watching it. Lacking both a satiric edge and any real interest in subverting the horror genre, Clown instead comes across as being unnecessarily mean-spirited. It’s just not much fun to watch.
When it comes to killer clowns, stick with Pennywise.
Long before Jon Watts directed Spider-Man: Homecoming, he directed another film about some unlikely super heroes. The video for Swedish House Mafia’s Save The World shows us that the world is a dangerous place but it also encourages us to fear not. The dogs are here!
Normally, I’m not really a dog person but I make an exception for the dogs in this video. To be honest, cats probably wouldn’t make very good superheroes. For one thing, all the villains would have to do would be schedule their nefarious schemes for whenever Supercat is taking a nap. Add to that, cats are pretty self-centered. That’s one reason why I love them but, at the same time, it’s doubtful they’d go out of their way to save a bunch of strangers.
It’s been rumored that the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer will appear in front of Rogue One: Star Wars Story. It’s logical considering Sony has let Spider-Man to play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sandbox which also happens to share spot in the Walt Disney Empire with Lucasfilm. Yet, we don’t have to wait for next week’s Rogue One to see this trailer. Like all superhero blockbuster films the trailers themselves get their premiere on-line (after a live premiere on Jimmy Kimmel Live) and this is no different with the first official trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
So, without further ado, here’s not one, but two trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Domestic: this one definitely focuses more on the high school aspect of Spider-Man’s life.
International: this one a bit more action-packed with a focus on Spider-Man’s heroics and more time showcasing the villains.
Director Jon Watts is having quite a career right now! Last year, Cop Car was released to considerable acclaim and, as a result, he was hired to direct the upcoming MCU blockbuster Spider-Man: Homecoming!
Here in America, Cop Car was pretty much sold as being Watts’s first film. However, that wasn’t really the case. Before Watts directed Cop Car, he made a movie called Clown. Clown was executive produced by Eli Roth and, though it did play in Europe in 2014, it was never released in the U.S.
Now that Watts is about the become the next big thing, Dimension Films is going to give Clown a limited release in June.
Apparently, Clown is about a man who dresses up like a clown for his son’s birthday party and then discovers that he can’t take off the big red nose. The clown makeup is apparently demonic and it ends up possessing him.
And apparently, it’s not a comedy.
Anyway, here’s the trailer! Again, while watching this preview, consider that Clown is apparently not supposed to be a comedy…
Cop Car opens with two young boys, Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hays Wellford) walking through a field. Over the course of the film, we really don’t learn that much about either Travis or Harrison. They speak in the tones and accent of childhood and the trailer park. They’re just two ordinary kids, who appear to be bored out of their mind and who can blame them because it appears that they live out in the middle of nowhere.
And then, suddenly, their boredom ends.
They comes across a deserted cop car sitting in the middle of the wilderness. After a successive number of dares, they end up inside of the car. And then, they discover that the keys are still in the car as well. Soon, Harrison and Travis are taking turns driving the car, roaring down the highway, nearly running an irate motorist (Camryn Manheim) off the road and basically having a great time.
What the kids don’t know is that the cop car belonged to Sheriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon), a grim-faced lawman who isn’t going to allow two little kids to make a fool out of him. Even while Harrison and Travis are playing around in the car, Kretzer is pursuing them. Along the way, Kretzer is reduced to stealing a truck, gets stopped for speeding, and basically sacrifices any ounce of personal dignity that he may have. Along the way, cars crash and cows are nearly run over.
And it all sounds like the making of a comedy, doesn’t it? Just from reading the plot description, you might be justified in thinking that Cop Car is a white trash version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Well, make no mistake. Cop Car has its funny moments but it is definitely not a comedy. Sheriff Kretzer may occasionally be a bit of a bumbling adversary but he is no Principal Rooney. Instead, Kretzer is a vicious and effective killer.
The reason Kretzer was away from his car is that he was busy burying a body in the woods. And what the kids don’t realize, at first, is that there’s another body in the trunk of the car. Kretzer is determined to get back his cop car and he’s willing to kill the boys to do it. Even worse, Kretzer’s badge and uniform give him both the ability and the authority to do so.
There’s one particularly effective scene where Harrison and Travis playing with the weapons that Kretzer left in the car is juxtaposed with Kretzer pouring a baggie of cocaine into a toilet. But, at the same time, I almost wish that the whole drug dealing subplot had been left out of the film. When we first meet Kretzer, he’s scary precisely because his motives are unknowable. He’s an authoritarian with a badge, and a bad mustache. The more specific the film gets about Kretzer’s motivations, the less interesting he becomes. Imagine if Kretzer has simply been an unstoppable force of wounded machismo, motivated by nothing more than his belief that his law is the only law that matters. By making Kretzer a criminal as well as a cop, Cop Car dilutes its otherwise strong critique of the pro-authoritarian strain that currently runs through American culture.
As a thriller and chase film, Cop Car works pretty well, though the first half is significantly better than the second. (The second half gets a little bogged down with the man in the trunk.) Director Jon Watts keeps the film moving at a good pace and he shows that he knows how to generate suspense. There’s a lengthy and narratively risky scene where Kretzer repeatedly tries and fails to pick a lock but the scene pays off in the end and Watts deserves some credit for having faith in the patience of his audience.
But really, Cop Car works largely because Kevin Bacon has become a national treasure. It’s always fun to watch him throw himself into playing off-center roles like Sheriff Kretzer. Bacon is smart enough to play up Kretzer’s stupidity without ever downplaying his dangerous and cunning nature. It’s a great performance in a pretty good film.