Movie Review – Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts

For a little while there, it looked like this movie might be made by Sony and take place outside of the MCU. Thankfully Marvel and Sony talked, and so we get this Spider-Man and one more appearance in another property before they go back to the negotiating table again. Marvel cleverly weaves Spider-Man even deeper into the MCU lore with this picture almost as a failsafe to keep the IP integrated. I think you’ll agree there has never been such a cameo-heavy MCU film to date, and it’s almost to the point of frustration. So many characters show up for a scene but then don’t feel integrated into the overall story.

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts

Spider-Man is a character who has many phases in his life, unlike Batman and Superman, who are static in their development for the most part. Right now Superman is married with a son in the comic books, yet I anticipate the time will come where the reset button is hit, and that is erased. While many a Robin has come and gone and developed in their unique ways, Batman is never changing, always returning to his starting position. When looking over Peter Parker’s life, there are the high school years, the college years, the married years; the shivers clone saga and eventual reset, the successful businessman phase. Parker is dynamic and grows yet for the movie-going public nothing quite beats high school Spider-Man. He is reflective of our foibles and awkwardness, forced to choose between a normal life and one as a hero.

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Spider-Man Films Ranked

Since May 2002 there have been seven Spider-Man films released in theaters, not to mention his appearances in Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame. He’s been the star of dozens of animated television series and the star of multiple comic book titles since 1962. With the latest film hitting theaters, I thought I would give the movies my rankings.

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Written by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley, Jon Watts & Christopher Ford, and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts


Peter Parker is riding the high from helping out Iron Man during the events of Captain America: Civil War. With his new Stark designed Spidey suit, he patrols Queens every afternoon after school and awaits the call for his next mission with the Avengers. However, he quickly learns that the primary focus of Tony Stark is for Peter to continue with his education and stay safe. Meanwhile, former salvage worker Adrian Toomes and his crew have had their livelihood taken from them by the newly formed Department of Damage Control, feds who come in and take over the recovery of tech from Avengers-related battles. Seeing that they are living in a new world, Toomes leads his men to steal and harvest this tech as weapons for ordinary criminals. Toomes himself wears a pair of vulture wings that allow him to swoop in and hijack shipments of technology. Peter and Toomes’ paths begin crossing, and our teenage hero has balance life as a high school student with the impending danger of these new weapons.

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Comics 101: Spider-Man

Young Peter Parker, high school science whiz, is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains the relative strength of a spider, as well as at the ability to scale walls and a “spider-sense”. Using his scientific expertise, he constructs web shooting gauntlets. At first, he uses these powers to make money as an amateur wrestler, but after a judgment he makes causes the death of his Uncle Ben. Living true to the motto of “With great power, comes great responsibility”, Peter becomes Spider-Man, fighting crime while being vilified by his employer, The Daily Bugle. You know the basic origin, so lets get into some of the details, shall we?

Early on, Peter juggled high school, work as a photographer for The Daily Bugle, and Spider-Man. J. Jonah Jameson, the Bugle’s publisher took a particular relish in vilifying the webcrawler. Peter pressures himself to  bring home his share of money for his widowed Aunt May, while she attempts to set him up with the neighbor’s niece, Mary Jane Watson. Not wanting to be set up, Peter avoids this for awhile (multiple years in our time). Some of Spidey’s early villains were The Chameleon, The Vulture, The Sandman, Doctor Octopus, Electro, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter, and of course Green Goblin. Peter also dated Betty Brant, J.J.’s secretary in his senior year of high school, but eventually fell for Gwen Stacy once he got into college. A major turning point in Peter’s life revolved around Gwen, an event that would change him forever.

The Green Goblin had figured out that Spider-Man and Peter Parker were the same person, while Spidey was unaware of who the Goblin was. To hit Spider-Man deep, he kidnapped Gwen and held her captive atop the George Washington Bridge. The two men battled and Gwen plummeted off the bridge. Spidey dives, firing a web to catch her leg, but the jolt of the web’s tug causes Gwen’s neck to jerk back and snap, killing her. Enraged, Spider-Man hunts the Goblin down and in the process of the battle, the villain is impaled on his own glider. During his grieving period, Spider-Man is secretly cloned by one of his professors, and battles himself, as well as is tricked by a clone of Gwen. Peter believes his clone is dead, but the clone lives, taking the name Ben Reilly and leaves NYC for the next few years. Peter finds himself in the arms of Mary Jane Watson and the two become inseparable for a long time.

Aftre graduating from college, Peter becomes involved in a secret war on the moon between Marvel’s top heroes and villains, organized by a being called The Beyonder. While on the moon, Peter ditches his red and blue duds, for a sleek black and white costume which he is unaware is a living organism, a symbiote that enhances Peter’s powers but also increases his rage. Back on Earth, Peter is becoming increasingly violent and gets help from Mr. Fantastic to separate himself from the symbiote. Peter returns to normal, but the symbiote eventually escapes its containment, and finds Eddie Brock. Brock was a reporter for the Daily Bugle who has falsified facts in an effort to break a big story. He gets caught in the lie by Spider-Man, and Brock grows to hate the hero. The symbiote detects this hate and merges with Brock to become Venom. Venom plagues Spider-Man with a cannibalistic brutality, but eventually creates his own nemesis by accident, the even more brutal Carnage.

Peter and Mary Jane get married, but their happiness is short lived when Ben Reilly, his clone returns to his life. It turns out there were a few clones made, including Kaine, a violent version of Peter who uses his sticky wallcrawler hands to tear the skin off people’s faces. Spider-Man battles his evil clone and eventually Ben takes up the identity of the Scarlet Spider. The Scarlet Spider’s career is cut short when he is suddenly and brutally killed by the original Green Goblin, returned from the dead. As a way to strike at the core of Peter, The Goblin aka Norman Osborn causes Mary Jane to believe she miscarries, while he actually kidnaps the child to raise as his own. Life continued down this bleak path, with M.J. and Peter separating, Aunt May taking ill many times, and Peter struggling to maintain his personal life. The Kingpin learns of Spider-Man true identity while imprisoned and hired a hitman to take Parker out. Instead the bullet hits Aunt May and Peter searches for help from heroes like Doctor Strange and Iron Man.

Mephisto, Marvel’s version of the Devil, appeared to Peter and MJ with a deal. Aunt May would be saved if Peter allowed his life with MJ and the memories of it to be taken. Peter refused to make such a deal, but MJ agreed to it, knowing Peter would be heartbroken if Aunt May died. In a flash, their marriage was gone, Peter was a high school chemistry teacher, still photographing for The Daily Bugle and MJ had left New York years ago. J. Jonah Jameson has won the election to become the mayor of New York City, while Norman Osborn achieved the highest level of power in American defense.

All of Spidey’s enemies have evolved over the years as well, most tragically The Lizard, who was Peter’s mentor Dr. Curt Conners, has submitted to his mutation and devolved permanently into a mindless reptilian creature. Most recently, Peter has been hunted by the vengeful Kravinoff family, the heirs of Kraven the Hunter. They have killed and tortured characters whose powers are related to spiders (Spider-Woman, Arana, Madame Web) to lure Peter into a trap. He was even reunited with Kaine, his surviving clone along the way. It culminated in the ressurrection of the dead Kraven and a massive battle with Spider-Man. In the end the Kravinoffs failed and were driven out of NYC. Kaine sacrificed himself to save Spidey and the adolescent Arana became Spider-Girl.

Spider-Man: The Reboot

It was recently announced that instead of Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire returning to the Spider-Man franchise for a fourth picture, Sony Pictures went with the idea of rebooting the series. This was seen as a possible response to Spider-Man 3‘s performance, though it made over $366k domestic. In reality, the decision was a business strategy. Raimi and Maguire could rightful claim a raise in salary based on the performance of the first three films, which would preclude that a fourth would net the studio another boatload of cash. Instead of having to raise salaries, Sony opted to go for a group of emerging actors and filmmakers to bank on, all of whom would naturally not have the big pay day Raimi and Maguire would deserve.

While it seems quite soon to implement a reboot of the franchise (the first film was released in 2002), this is where we are. Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) has been officially signed to helm the new picture which will find Peter Parker a teen again and suffering the persecution of school bullies presumably. It sounds like whomever is picked for the titular role will actually be close to the character’s age which will be interesting to see. Maguire was 27 when he was cast in the first film so he was quite a bit older than the adolescent Parker. The current rumors circulating point to Logan Lerman, star of the upcoming Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. Lerman is 18 so he’ll be the age equivalent of Parker and he’s not new to acting so he has some definite talent. Lerman has had major roles in The Patriot, The Butterfly Effect, 3:10 to Yuma, Gamer, and the WB drama Jack & Bobby. The fanboy side of me when it came to film died years ago so I see this an opportunity to see a different interpretation of the character, and honestly Spider-Man 3 was dreadful so another Raimi outing was not something I was looking forward to. My only demand is that J.K. Simmons be retained as J.Jonah Jameson, it was the role the man was born for.
I’m very intrigued about who the villain for the reboot will be. I personally think Doctor Octopus and Sandman was realized perfectly in comparison to their comic book personae, and I have always felt that Green Goblin never lived up to his comic book potential. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Goblin again and it could always be a case of a Heath Ledger/Joker surprise, wherein a new actor shows up and really gives us a version of the character that nails it. If they are looking at villains not yet on screen Kraven the Hunter might be an interesting pick. Mysterio is unused but I have never gotten why that character wasn’t killed off years ago. I have a feeling the franchise will probably use The Lizard or Electro. Both are the result of scientific accidents so they can be neatly threaded in with Parker’s origins.
While I hope they skip over it, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing Parker get bitten by a radioactive spider and discovering his spider-like abilities. I do wonder if they will go organic webshooters or decide to emphasize Parker’s scientific prowess and have him build the wrist gauntlets. That said, I think a pretty tight plot would tie The Lizard aka Curt Conners origins to Parker’s. Both involve animal DNA melding with human and resulting in bizarre hybrids. Parker’s class could take a field trip to Conners’ lab or university lab and the accident could effect both men. Not sure what direction they will take the franchise in, but I am excited to see what new elements they bring to the character.