Well before the wide release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, early preview reviews started rolling out and proclaiming the film to be fantastic. I was a little worried that much of the hype was overblown; that the reviewers were overlooking the movie’s flaws just because they were happy to have Spider-Man as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Granted, I had no reason to feel this way having not seen the movie, but that’s just the anxiety in me. After seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming, however, I realize just how silly this notion was.
For starters, Homecoming doesn’t get bogged down in an origin story. One of movie-goers’ biggest complaints is that the first film in every super hero series is an origin. Most often, it’s necessary to establish where the character comes from. Sometimes, a movie is directed well enough that the audience doesn’t realize they’re watching an origin. For Spider-Man: Homecoming, there’s a quick scene recapping Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) experiences in Berlin prior to his debut in Captain America: Civil War and how Tony Stark (do I even need to put “Robert Downey Jr.” here?) gave him his suit but that’s it. They make references to the spider that bit him but we never see it happen. Thankfully Marvel and Sony understood that audiences know how Peter became Spider-Man.
As a character, Spider-Man has always been about dichotomy, and Homecoming recognized that. Peter Parker is the timid, nerdy, powerless kid but he’s also the strong super hero who can do amazing things. In the movie, though, we see this power divide almost everywhere. Spider-Man wants t do more and help people on a grander scale but Tony Stark limits his abilities and keeps him grounded. Adrian Toomes, the villainous Vulture played by Michael Keaton, is a hard-working, blue-collar salvage worker whose life is threatened when a powerful government organization comes in and claims authority over his jobsite. We can understand his fear and need to do whatever he has to in order to provide for his family. (This was also a nice way to tie Homecoming into the MCU and the events that transpired in Avengers.)
Spider-Man: Homecoming also places a lot of focus on Spidey’s supporting characters. Peter’s best friend, Ned (played by Jacob Batalon, who looks more like Ganke than Ned Leeds but I digress), gets almost as much screen time as Peter himself. School bully Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) shows up often and is much more than a one-note trick than previous portrayed in the other movies. Even a character like Michelle has an abundance of screen time, but that’s to be expected when they put someone like Zendaya in that role.
All of this works to make Spider-Man: Homecoming feel like a true Spider-Man movie. Spider-Man has always been about the people around him. Seventy plus years of comics show us that Spider-Man became the hero he is because of his affection for his friends, and even his tormentors. Previous cinematic versions of Spidey never really got that ideal, or at least never expressed it as well as Homecoming did.
One of my biggest complaints about Homecoming is the way it handled Peter Parker. As the quiet, nerdy kid, Peter either gets picked on or ignored. He lives with his elderly Aunt May, who no doubt maintains her household while living on a fixed income. Peter feels that financial crisis and decides to help carry the burden. However, in Homecoming, Peter isn’t like that. Sure, he gets picked on by Flash Thompson, but overall he has a few close friendships. His peers find value in his intelligence and every time they’re disappointed by him it’s through his own actions. Even Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is younger and prettier than her other incarnations (which the movie doesn’t hesitate to joke about), which allows her to continue to provide for herself and her teenage nephew. Peter’s life in Homecoming isn’t that bad.
Being Spider-Man, however, sure as hell seems like it. Homecoming manages to show audiences just how much it sucks to be Spider-Man. He gets yelled at by the public for making mistakes. His actions cause massive damage to the neighborhood he lives in. He puts his life on the line to take down a threat when no one else will listen to him. Why?
Clearly because “with great power comes great responsibility.” The beauty of Spider-Man: Homecoming is that we have a Spider-Man who understands Uncle Ben’s powerful message without having to beat audiences over the head with the phrase. Not once are those words uttered, but we see how much Peter values them. This all goes back to the lack of an origin story. Spider-Man knows when it’s time to do the right thing; whether it’s from the life lesson he learned off-screen from his Uncle Ben or from being mentored by Iron Man himself is irrelevant. It’s a notion that’s inherent in this version of Spider-Man.
There’s lots of things to enjoy about Spider-Man: Homecoming; all of the excellent performances of the cast, most notably by Holland and Keaton, the return of Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan in a true supporting role, and all of the small throwbacks and references the filmmakers added. Overall, what I liked about Homecoming is that this is the closest a movie version of Spider-Man has ever gotten to its comic book roots. The young Peter Parker/Spider-Man has a lot to learn, not just about being a hero but about life in general. They’re not fast forwarding through his growth but allowing audiences to experience it first-hand, which is the most exciting part of the story.
San Diego Comic Con is just about a month away and there’s a ton of stuff that we’re excited to see come out of the show, like the big announcements from all of the major movie and TV studios and comic book big (and little) shots. However, one of the major draws to the West Coast mecca for geek culture is the exclusive toys that are available at the show.
Over the last couple of weeks, Funko, the purveyor of fine Pop! vinyls, has announced their lineup of SDCC exclusive figures. We have compiled everything right here for you so you can decide before you go which ones you can’t live without (or salivate over the exclusives you’ll need to hunt down on eBay if you can’t make it to San Diego).
Marvel’s best and brightest heroes are stepping to the head of the class for a series of special variant covers! Marvel is pleased to announce 5 special STEAM Variants coming to some of your favorite Marvel titles this November!
“Our characters have been exciting fans for ages,” says David Gabriel, SVP Sales & Marketing, Marvel Comics. “With our new STEAM Variants, we plan to continue to motivate our fans to explore their passions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math and present these disciplines through some of our favorite young heroes who are doing just that – following their dreams and preparing for the challenges that await them ahead.”
Marvel is excited to reveal the following STEAM Variants by some of Marvel’s great cover artists:
- S (science) – MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR #13 by Joyce Chin
- T (technology) – SPIDER-MAN #10 by Pasqual Ferry
- E (engineering)— INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 by Mike McKone
- A (art) — CHAMPIONS #2 by Pascal Campion
- M (math) – GWENPOOL #8 by Will Sliney
Through Marvel’s STEAM Variants, this campaign plans to ignite the spark of creativity and innovation that fuels and empowers the very heroes that have helped inspire generations around the world.
This November, join Marvel at your local comic shop as we continue to inspire champions of education, seekers of enlightenment, and the next generation of visionaries with Marvel’s STEAM Variants.
This week, Andrew Garfield caused comics fans to literally (LITERALLY) explode when he asked a simple question to EW: What if Spidey was gay?
The actual full quote: “And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It’s hardly even groundbreaking!…So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”
Good question, Andrew Garfield. Why can’t Peter Parker be gay? Well, I’ll tell you why.
Because after this article hit EW.com, the comments immediately started crying out against the idea. Because you “don’t change an established character like that,” or something. Because it’s promoting AN AGENDA to make Spider-man gay. Which agenda? I’m guessing the one that insists that gay people are a lot like straight people and don’t deserve the shit they get socially and legally and when it comes to the media.
It’s also because when Marvel ran an innocent image of Hulking and Wiccan from Children’s Crusade, showing the openly gay teens about to share an intimate moment, the Facebook comments blew up claiming Marvel was, once again, promoting an agenda. Or worse, corrupting youth by showing them gay superheroes and encouraging them to emulate them. Or something. Bonus points to all of the people claiming they were only going to buy DC comics in the future because DC wasn’t “shoving gays down their throats.” Here’s a tip for those people: start your new-found devotion to DC by reading Batwoman.
In short, Andrew Garfield, the answer is simple: there is no good reason that Spider-man CAN’T be gay.
Because all of these arguments are bullshit. “Purity” of the character? So, characters who were created in a different generation should never evolve and grow with the times? You want Superman to act and talk and look exactly how he did in Action #1?
No, you don’t. You probably love Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns which took a new look at the character. Or Extremis which changed the status quo for Tony Stark. And if you don’t want a gay Spider-man but are okay with the ending of Man of Steel, I hate you. Your call for “purity” of the character is bullshit.
As for “agendas,” what you mean by that is “doing things for the sake of selling comics.” Because this is a recent thing designed to destroy comics for straight men who love comics, because it’s only because of the feminists and the gays that this could happen. It’s not like Dick Grayson was introduced as Robin in order to sell comics. Or Jean Grey returning from the dead. Again.
Get over yourselves. Here is a fact: COMICS ARE A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE. THEY ARE A BUSINESS. THE POINT OF THE COMICS INDUSTRY IS TO SELL COMICS. I mean, this doesn’t necessarily apply to indie comics, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about DC and Marvel and they want to fucking sell you things to make money off of you. This is not punk rock, this is not about keeping the message in the subculture, this is fucking comics. And here’s a fact you have to deal with as well: gay people buy comics. So do women. And they deserve to see themselves represented not just as minor characters or sidekicks.
So, what if Spider-man was gay? What if, straight male comics fans, you identified with a gay character? What if you could understand him and relate to him just the same as a gay or bi or bicurious character as you can when he’s written as straight?
What if identifying with a gay character means you might be gay?
What if you start thinking that you’re a little further along the Kinsey scale than you previously thought?
What if you realize you’re not totally turned off by the idea of kissing another guy, though maybe you’re not gonna go out looking for a chance to do so?
What if you’re asked to challenge your culturally and socially ingrained sense of masculinity and sexuality and it means you have to re-examine yourself and a lot of beliefs or stereotypes you didn’t even know affected you?
Now, lemme ask you again: Why can’t Spider-man be gay?
Ashly is an IHO Geek staff writer who wants you to keep things civil in the comments but isn’t necessarily holding her breath. She can also be found on Twitter (where she is more than willing to use the “block” function) @newageamazon
Here’s where I stand.
Spider-Man is cool, but not my favorite super hero. To me, it’s like, “Oh neat, there’s Spider-man. That’s cool, I guess.” I’ve always felt he was a big whiner. And he is always whining about problems he created. That said, I enjoyed the first two Sam Raimi movies. I wasn’t like, “Woah, I <3 Spider-Man!” or anything after I watched them, but I thought they were good. Kirsten Dunst annoyed me, but it was good. The third movie was more of the same except Venom sucked and Sandman looked awesome. Suffice to say, I was just lukewarm about the new Spider-Man, but it had promise.
Emma Stone was gonna be in it and Andrew Garfield too. But then a CG Lizard? And it felt so soon off of the heels of the last Spider-Man movie. Did we really need a reboot already?
Emma Stone is really frickin’ cute, but that doesn’t mean she can act. It also doesn’t mean she is a bad actress either. Andrew Garfield was really good in The Social Network, but he was a side character and I wasn’t sure how much appeal he has outside of that movie. Marc Webb was directing and really has only directed a Green Day concert, a No Doubt concert, and an indie film (500 Days of Summer) that was getting some buzz. MIXED FEELINGS!
So I finally got into the theatre, sat down and put on some 3-D glasses, and went, “Okay, Spider-Man… Wow me“. The end result? Read on mes amis, read on.
Let’s start with the 3-D. It was good, but nothing you haven’t seen before. So if you don’t want to pay extra for it, you will still get the same viewing experience.
The movie started and like normal, Peter Parker is all like, “I take pictures of stuff and occasionally get picked on at school, despite me being witty and fairly handsome.” But, this movie immediately gets a high-five for not boring me to death with a lot of Peter Parker high school drama. There is just enough there to set up the scene and then BAM! Peter Parker has become Spider-Man before you know it. The Raimi movies dragged a little bit and dealt with Spider-Man: High School Edition too much for my taste. Marc Webb really stream-lined the whole thing, since everyone already knows the Spider-Man story. It gets to the good stuff quickly.
Oh cool, Martin Sheen plays Uncle Ben. Good choice! Nuff’ said.
Andrew Garfield ending up being a great choice for Peter Parker, in my opinion. He is a skilled actor and adds a believability to the part. It’s strange though… Spider-Man always seems very “quippy”, so to say, in the comics. Very charismatic. But Garfield’s take on it is a little more mature. He’s very calm and sarcastic, but it never feels like he is hopped up on sugar like how I picture Spider-Man in my head. I like it, I think. There’s a strange sexuality to his version of Peter Parker. He is supposed to be geeky, but he comes off as more of a “bad boy”. Still… once again… I like it, I think.
Spider-Man in the actual suit is done well and it never feels like you are watching a CG Spider-man swing everywhere like in the Raimi films. The web-slingy thing-a-ma-bobbers are pretty cool, but it never explains how they can shoot infinitely forward without losing height or velocity (the movie hangs a lantern on this when two “nerds” walk by discussing this very thing). It does however explain how they are so strong (synthetic Oscorp technology).
The fights are very fun to watch, and utilize all of Spider-Man’s abilities. They really went out-of-the-way to showcase how diverse Spider-Man’s fighting tactics can be.
On to Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. She nailed it, plain and simple. She’s cute, smart, and an endearing character. One of my favorite moments of the film is the inevitable kiss. The Amazing Spider-Man tackled this with class, and also did what movies are supposed to do… show instead of telling. Gwen Stacy never has to be told Peter Parker is Spider-man. Through a clever scene, it is simply shown instead. This is also done with Aunt May. She never has to be told that Peter is Spider-man. She just gradually comes to a realization as the movie progresses.
Dennis Leary does a decent job as Gwen Stacy’s father/Police captain although he feels like he is phoning it in here and there.
Rhys Ifans plays the Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors. The only other movie you would probably know him from is Harry Potter (Luna Lovegood’s father). He does a good job although I never quite bought his torment of missing a limb, but he still did his part. It should be noted his make-up was well done, with his flesh in varying degrees of scaly textures.
Now the CG lizard, which I was most concerned about…. well, it’s hit or miss, but I’d say 85% of the time it looked good. There are a couple times where he looks clearly CG, but it never really hurt the experience for me. They also managed to give the Lizard a few sneaky horror moments where he pops out of certain places. I liked it.
These are all the characters that really matter, and is probably one of the movies strong points. It focused on just a few main characters instead of spreading itself too thin.
The plot is straight-forward. Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man, falls in love with Gwen Stacy, Dr. Connors becomes the lizard and wants to make others into lizard people, and Spider-man attempts to stop him. But it was well executed, and that’s what mattered. It hits all the right notes and hints at some mysterious things for sequels.
The cinematography is nice, with a beautiful blend of dark blues and an overall darkly lit movie (although the tone of the movie is never depressing). There isn’t a lot of cameras following Spider-Man swinging through the city like in the Raimi films (although there are a few moments during key dramatic scenes), but instead the camera chooses to stay very tight and focused on close up Spider-man action.
Over all, the excellent direction of Marc Webb and the fine acting of Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy make this movie what it needs to be. The lizard is a fun enemy with a summer blockbuster feel to him, although I doubt we will be seeing much too more of him in sequels.
I give The Amazing Spider-man an 8 out of 10 for being fun, exciting, and well executed. If you love Spider-Man you will enjoy this film, and if you are on the fence you will enjoy it too. I now have faith in this reboot and I am excited to see them tackle what we all want to see in a sequel…. Venom or Carnage.
P.S. – Green Goblin is hinted at for next movie.
Who knew that this week would include so many new and amazing trailers?
Most people were asleep for the first look at The Amazing Spider-Man reboot late last night and have no idea what they missed. Suit, good. Webshooters, good. Smart Pete, good. And the promo shots must’ve been misleading, because he doesn’t look overly “hipster” at all – not a super nerd, just an everyday kid. Andrew Garfield finally convinces me that he will make a fantastic Spidey, just solely based off the smartass comments. Tobey was always a little too deer in headlights for me, while Andrew starts to flesh out Peter Parker and bring some much needed life to the character. And, as goes without saying, Emma Stone is lovely as always. Maybe a tad bit too breath-y, but those are the lines they chose to show. I like where this is going, but I’m hoping I don’t girlcrush too hard on Emma, knowing Gwen Stacy’s ultimate fate.
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Finally getting the exposure it deserves, the Hunger Games second trailer hit the Super Bowl crowd yesterday. Fans of the franchise will note the inclusion of Katniss’ iconic yellow dress but will probably nerdrage over the Mockingjay origin, and Lenny Kravitz yet again delivers as Cinna without saying a single word. The only issue I have with this trailer and the one before it is that I don’t think it succintly sums up what the actual Games are for new viewers, so they will go into the theater expecting something different.
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Another hit with the Sunday crowd was The Avengers spot. Most of the trailer was footage we had already seen and though there was some nice new banter between Loki and Tony Stark and a couple of Hulk smashes, I didn’t feel that it really pulled me in and delivered in any way. Overall, this trailer could’ve given us way more and I am a little disappointed by it.
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With a surprising win this weekend, my trailer of choice is the underdog, The Amazing Spider-Man! See an amazing trailer this weekend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!