Movies+Beer; SPIDER-MAN Far From Home

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James finally gets to venture from the place where he’s recovering from surgery to watch the highly anticipated Spider-Man: Far From Home! Joined by long-time partner in crime Brian, they discuss the movie at the legendary Sean O’Casey’s pub over lunchie-munchies…among other things…

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Uncle NecRo Watches: VENOM

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UNCLE NECRO WATCHES
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I finally found time to take in the Venom movie, the one that stars Tom Hardy and definitely not that kid from That 70s Show. How does it hold up? I’m joined by my long-suffering movie watchin’ buddy Brian from the Will Code For Beer podcast, so listen in as we discuss not only the movie, but the several other bunny trails we wander down at Sean O’Casye’s…

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Movie Review: The AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

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amazing spider-manColumbia Pictures
2012
PG-13

“You know, in the future, if you’re going to steal cars, don’t dress like a car thief, man.”

For the longest time, I avoided watching The Amazing Spider-Man. I didn’t want to watch a movie that I felt was completely unnecessary. It had only been ten years since the first Spider-Man film tickled my fanboy sensibilities, and to me this whole rebooting nonsense was getting ridiculous. And thus, true to my curmudgeonly ways, I held off watching The Amazing Spider-Man for a couple of years. Until now, of course. The fanboy curiosity got the best of me, finally, coincidentally when it had been on DVD long enough to be rented for cheep. Fancy that.

First things first–The Amazing Spider-Man came about not from a strong desire to reboot the franchise (though, given Spider-Man 3, I wouldn’t have been that surprised if that was the case); seems Sony was more than willing to do a Spider-Man 4 with Sam Raimi, but his schedule was a bit busy, and Sony was in danger of having the rights revert back to Marvel in the intern, so they had to go forward without Raimi; but, instead of doing SM4 without him, they opted to do an entirely new take with another director. So…okay, understandable. Personally, I think Spider-Man belongs back home at Marvel Studios, but that’s not the point.

Also, kind of wanted to point out that I’m not out to compare The Amazing Spider-Man with the 2002 adjective-less Spider-Man. I shall be reviewing this on its own merits. So, with that in mind, how did The Amazing Spider-Man fare? Did the movie do live action justice to one of my all-time favorite comic book characters? Or is this the worst thing to happen since One More Day?

The Amazing Spider-Man is your basic origin story for the character, and anyone familiar with the comics know it well: Geekity-nerd Peter Parker, unpopular with his high school comrades, but popular with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, gets bitten by an experimented-on spider while at a science lab, and suddenly finds himself going through puberty…er, I mean, gaining the proportional speed and agility of spider, and using that power to be a jerk to his loved ones (are we sure his isn’t puberty, here?). His Uncle Ben dies at the hands of the thief Peter could have stopped but didn’t (see: “jerk”), and thus becomes the Luchador-esque crime fighter known as Spider-Man. Just in time, too, because his scientist mentor has taken a formula to regrow his arm, which it has…along with turning the rest of him into a lizard person. And in the process of trying to take down the Lizard, his crush’s police chief father gets caught in the crossfire, all the while learning the hard way that with great something-something comes great something-or-other. I haven’t worked that part out yet…

I found Amazing Spider-Man…well, not terrible. Not unwatchable. There was a lot of action, a lot of things going on, we get yet another variation of the origin story and such. Andrew Garfield did okay as Peter Parker; however, writing this after watching Spider-Man: Homecoming, I can’t help but compare him to what I now consider the definitive big screen Peter Parker…and he ranks a bit below Tobey Maguire still. I did enjoy the incorporation of The Lizard as the antagonist this go-around; overall, though, it seemed a bit more flash and a not much more than that. It was entertaining, and that was that. Worth a rental, I would say.

Movie Review: SPIDER-MAN Homecoming

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spiderman_homecomingSony / Marvel
2017
PG-13

“Can’t you just be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?”

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.

So, here we are. Fifteen years since the very first Spider-Man movie made us believe it could be done. Since then, there’s been two sequels, a reboot, and another sequel. Now, everyone’s favorite web-slinger is back home with Marvel, and we have a third reboot. Did we need another redux? Have you seen Amazing Spider-Man 2? I haven’t yet, I was just asking. I hear it’s not good. I digress.

So, as I mentioned, Marvel Studios, through a deal they brokered with Sony (who has held the rights to Spider-Man for quite a while), they were able to play with their own toy again. And after a well-received cameo in Captain America: Civil War, I couldn’t wait for the full-length stand-alone movie to see how bad they could screw things up.

You may have picked up that I’m a tad cynical about these Spider-Man movies. Since Spider-Man 3 ten years prior, my wide-eyed fanboy love had felt jaded that anything after Spider-Man 2 would be disappointing at best. There was a glimmer of hope with the introduction of him in Civil War; but, would a side character rol translate into a feature-length movie? Could Marvel make Spider-Man…well, amazing again?

Well, they did a good job trying.

Don’t misread that–Spider-Man: Homecoming is a very good Spider-Man movie. Easily my second-favorite to date, right behind Spider-Man 2.

There’s a lot to like about Homecoming: Tom Holland is probably the best teenage Peter Parker / Spider-Man going, as he convinced me that he could be bullied and picked upon in his civilian garb. The chemistry between the main characters was fantastic, especially between Pete and his best friend / “Chair Guy” Ned. And Michael Keaton as The Vulture was inspired, as he took what I consider to be one of the more goofier Silver Age villains in Spider-Man’s rogue gallery and made him into something genuinely chilling. The script was well-written, witty and smart, and had me laughing out loud more than just a handful of times. The action scenes were very well done as well, culminating in a final battle scene that had me holding my breath. Good job there, movie. And yet, with all of that going for this thing, I do have to point out what I found to be kind of, sort of not good about it. Minor quibbles, maybe, but they have to be said.

Also, I should point out that I’m probably going to be letting lose with some spoilers ahead, so if you’re one of those who haven’t seen this yet…go see it first. Also, welcome back from whatever isolated cave you emerged from. Anyway…

Spider-Man: Homecoming didn’t feel like a full-on Spider-Man movie. The second half did, certainly. But for the first half or so, this felt more like a teen show on the Disney Channel. Which, okay, I understand that Marvel is owned by Disney, and this is a teenaged Peter Parker, interacting with his teenage chums in high school. But for a handful of Spidey scenes, the first half was more of a sloggy, sudsy teen soap. A very well made and engaging teen soap, but a teen soap nonetheless. Freaks And Geeks, if you will. I would wager to say that it wasn’t until Peter got his high-tech Stark suit taken away from him, that this truly became a Spider-Man movie. The moment that Peter steps up to the hero plate despite not having all the nifty gizmos and gadgets, you didn’t have to say “With great power comes great responsibility”, it was demonstrated by the actions perfectly.

I could continue on like this for pages, but I’d rather just urge you to watch Spider-Man: Homecoming for yourselves. It’s a rather good take on Spider-Man, and kudos for finally getting back home to Marvel. Here’s to many more.

Wait…”Homecoming”…back home at Marvel…I think there was more to that title than just that Homecoming dance in the movie…mind blown…