February 2019
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The Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

DIRECTOR: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Wong, Dave Bautista, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Pom Klementieff, Danai Gurira, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Winston Duke, Letitia Wright, Benicio Del Toro, Gwyneth Paltrow, William Hurt, Peter Dinklage, Bradley Cooper (voice), Vin Diesel (voice)


After a decade’s worth of movies (starting with 2008’s Iron Man which kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe), we’re finally coming to the long-gestating endgame which will purportedly serve as the end of an era at least for some of the MCU’s crowded cast of characters, but while continuing Marvel’s pattern of trying to outdo itself with each consecutive all-star team-up offering by throwing the kitchen sink and an ever bigger cast of characters at the screen in ever more outsized ways, the long-hyped Infinity War feels like half a movie.  This might be an inevitability given this “endgame” will be concluded in the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4 still twelve months away, but it leaves a feeling that’s a little hollow, flashy spectacle, splashy special effects, and battles large and small everywhere you look, but lacking a certain impact. Continue reading

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)


CAST: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori


When it comes to probably their most popular and best-known superhero, after the disappointment of 2007’s Spider-Man 3 and the 2012-2014 reboot misfire, Sony and Marvel are hoping the third time’s the charm.  The title refers both to the high school homecoming dance that takes place in the movie, and is also a bit of a sly in-joke referring to Marvel Studios finally gaining access to Spider-Man’s film rights via a deal with Sony, allowing Spider-Man to finally join the Marvel Cinematic Universe; this is the sixth Spider-Man movie, but the first in which he’s had the chance to interact with other superheroes.  Even while Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and others were enjoying the cinematic limelight, both individually and together, Marvel’s most iconic superhero was missing from the crowd.  Getting Spider-Man back into the fold was a major ace in the hole, and now, after his debut with his glorified (and awkwardly shoehorned) cameo in last year’s Captain America: Civil Warthe latest onscreen incarnation of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is swinging into theaters in his own solo outing and the first of what Marvel hopes to be a successful new franchise with more longevity than Sony’s last attempt at a reboot.  Homecoming is already opening strong and receiving glowing critical reception, but while it’s entertaining and enjoyable, like too many of the MCU’s solo outings that feel like side pit stops apart from the larger Avengers continuing narrative (also including 2015’s Ant-Man and 2016’s Doctor Strange), there’s something a bit underwhelming about the whole affair.  Homecoming is a lot more watchable than Spider-Man 3, but feels lightweight and low stakes and lacks either the large-scale action or emotional depth of Spider-Man 2. Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)



Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field


The road to this reboot was a twisty-turny one.  Originally, despite the general opinion of Spider-Man 3 as a disappointment, Sony intended to forge onward with a fourth installment with director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire still attached.  But due to reasons including Raimi’s clashes with the studio during the making of Spider-Man 3 (he did not want to include the villain Venom in the film, who was essentially forced on him by producer Avi Arad), Maguire’s hefty salary requests, and possibly other behind-the-scenes issues we’ll never know about, Sony eventually completely dropped Raimi, Maguire, and company and decided to start fresh with another Spider-Man movie that, like Batman Begins, had nothing to do with those that came before.  Many, including myself, were highly skeptical of the news of a reboot again showing us Spidey’s origin story, considering we’d seen it in theaters a mere decade ago, and I still haven’t 100% made up my mind whether the reboot has justified its existence, but viewed on its own, it’s an entertaining (if not quite “amazing”) addition to the masked webslinger’s onscreen adventues. Continue reading

Everything Old Is New Again, Or Is It? Spider-Man Rebooted

As anyone who cares is likely to know by now, Sony has announced that its highly-profitable Spider-Man film series is to be completely rebooted, with a completely new Spider-Man movie unrelated to the previous Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire trilogy sheduled for release in 2012.  Continue reading

Spider-Man 3 (2007)



Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, James Cromwell, Theresa Russell, Dylan Baker, Bill Nunn, Bruce Campbell, Cliff Robertson, Willem Dafoe


With the third installment in Sam Raimi’s hugely popular Spider-Man series, one gets the sense that the franchise has either started to outstay its welcome, or needs to change some things for a possible fourth episode. Continue reading

Spider-Man 2 (2004)



Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons, Bill Nunn, Donna Murphy, Dylan Baker, Cliff Robertson, Willem Dafoe


I can see no reason why fans of the first Spider-Man should not enjoy the second. Continue reading