Tag Archives: michael keaton

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming is the Spider-Man movie you have been waiting for

Greetings, True Believers! Rest assured– Spider-Man: Homecoming is the Spider-Man movie you have been waiting for.

When we last left our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, he made a small, but memorable, appearance in last summer’s Captain America: Civil War. He stole Cap’s shield, and basically the entire movie, in just a couple of scenes.

Our film opens with a video diary from his point of view of everything that happened in Germany. “a Film by Peter Parker” it says in courier script as he narrates, “Queens, New York. A rough borough, but it’s home.”

“Who are you talking to?” an irate Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) asks from the driver’s seat, as he puts up the privacy divider in the car to stop being pestered by the teen’s questions: “Why do they call you Happy?”

As Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) drops Peter Parker (Tom Holland) off at his Queens apartment, he tells him, “Can’t you be more of a. . .  friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? . . . Just don’t do anything I would do. And definitely don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. There’s a little gray area in there– and that’s where you operate.”

And there is no better summation of how this movie fits in with the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe. Those movies span the globe– the universe, even– and this is a story that is mostly confined to Queens and a single school field trip to Washington, DC. Instead of this being about fighting a galactic menace, he’s focused on the people robbing the ATM in his neighborhood or a stolen bike. The Avengers handle the big stuff. Peter Parker handles the little stuff. Manhattan vs. Queens.

But, oh, he does not like that. At all. Every day he’s texting, asking when the next time they’ll need him is. He spends all of his time trying to prove himself, and when he bites off a little more than he can chew with Adrian Toomes aka the Vulture (Michael Keaton), we actually see what a screw-up he is. No, he isn’t ready for the big time, and that’s perhaps the hardest lesson of adolescence.

But one of the best things they did right in this movie is what they don’t do. There’s no origin story of being bitten by a radioactive spider. No Uncle Ben. And while I kind of wanted to see Spidey being motivated by his great power and great responsibility, this just isn’t that story. This is the teenager who wants to grow up too fast. It’s the MCU colliding with John Hughes. The simple fact that there are two very obvious homages to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (one right after the other in case you didn’t get the first one) tells you that’s exactly what they’re going for. And they nail it. I can’t decide if this is a reason I dislike the film or that I like it so much, but it’s that it’s so full of teen angst. And that’s a bold move for a superhero genre movie to stray so far from the formula of what we expect in a reboot.

I only briefly mentioned Keaton before, but he is the real breakout star of this movie. (Insert obligatory Birdman joke). Possibly other than Loki he’s the best MCU villain– because he’s not a bad guy. He starts off a normal guy who gets stepped on and decides to use stolen space technology to provide for his family. Even his name makes sense– the Vulture– because he’s picking the scraps off of whatever fight The Avengers and SHIELD just had. 

But he’s menacing. A scene near the end reminds you just how amazing an actor Keaton is. You can almost see the gears in his head turning as he figures things out. And he also has a sense of honor about what he’s doing. But despite his bluster about being against the 1%– let’s be super real, here. We find out he’s doing just fine financially. Yes, he’s worried about providing for his family, but he provides for them in a pretty upper-middle-class way. There’s something to be said here about the rise of the Trump voter and the fear of loss of privilege. . .  but I’ll save that diatribe until more people have had a chance to see the movie and can discuss this in more depth with spoilers.

This is not to say the film is flawless. Again, the emphasis on teen angst was certainly intended, but I would’ve liked to see the other side of the character. And as many comedic moments as there are in the film, none were quite as memorable as some of the Joss Whedon or James Gunn moments from The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy, or even the most recent Thor: Ragnarok trailer. And a final nighttime action sequence set against the black sky on top of a dark stealth aircraft made the action harder to see and follow. See this in the best theater with the best contrast you possibly can.

This is the Spider-Man movie we’ve all wanted to see. And it’s a great reminder that Marvel Studios understands their characters better than anyone else out there. This should be a wakeup call to Fox or anyone else who has a languishing piece of the Marvel intellectual property– please let Marvel Studios co-produce your next Fantastic Four movie. They might make it not suck. Because Spider-Man: Homecoming does anything but that.

4 out of 5 stars

 

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march trilogy featuredTomorrow is new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below!

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Gizmodo – Rep. John Lewis’ Graphic Novel Skyrockets After Trump Twitter Storm – Good.

Comics Alliance – Michael Keaton’s Batsuit and George Reeves’ Superman Suit Going to Auction – We’re checking our couch for change to bid.

The Beat – A year of free comics: Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story – This is absolutely one to check out.

 

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Talking Comics – The Few #1

The Beat – Frontier #14

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love_is_love-4It’s new comic book day! What are folks looking to get? What are you looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

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Newsarama – Deep Inside The Comics Business Of 1980s & 1990s With Paul Levitz – This is pretty cool.

The Beat – A year of free comics: Sam Alden’s Atmospheric Horror – As long as they keep sharing these, we’ll keep signal boosting.

CBR – Michael Keaton Explains Why He Left the Batman Franchise – Still the best live action Batman.

ICv2 – ‘Deadpool’ Outdrew ‘Batman v. Superman’ – It was also one of the most profitable films of the year…

The Beat – Did IMDB leak details from Spider-Man’s PS4 exclusive game? – Who’ getting this game?

 

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CBR – Love is Love

Newsarama – The Unstoppable Wasp #1

The Beat – Laid Waste, Over Ripe, Semisolid, and The Plunge

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jupiterscircle-vol2-04-coverThe weekend is almost here! What will folks be doing? Anything geeky? Sound off in the comments below!

While you contemplate that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

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Paste Magazine – Michael Keaton To Star In Film Adaptation of American Assassin Graphic Novel – Nice.

The BoomBox – Dr. Dre Is Creating Original Music for Graphic Novel ‘Loaded’ – Very interesting.

ICv2 – B&N Plans ‘Batman v Superman’ Day – Not too surprising. You’d think more would do this.

 

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CBR – Action Comics #50

Talking Comics – The Baker Street Peculiars #1

Batman News – General Mills Batman v Superman #2

CBR – Jupiter’s Circle Vol. 2 #4

Talking Comics – Mockingbird #1

Talking Comics – Shadow Glass #1

SDCC 2015: Michael Keaton to Star in and Produce Imagine Agents at Fox

Imagine Agents TP Cover by Khary RandolphBOOM! Studios is heading into San Diego Comic-Con with a bunch of announcements leading up to the convention. For the first one, the comics publisher has revealed that Michael Keaton will star in and produce a film adaptation at 20th Century Fox of the comic series Imagine Agents, created by Brian Joines.

Written by Joines and illustrated by Bachan, Imagine Agents is the story of two agents who work for clandestine organization I.M.A.G.I.N.E. to keep kids’ imaginary friends under control. Little do they know that an abandoned “friend” from long ago is about to disrupt the status quo and turn everything upside down. The series was published from October 2013 to January 2014, with a collected edition released in December 2014.

BOOM! has a first-look feature film deal at 20th Century Fox that includes first-dollar gross on films based on any of its comics, which the publisher splits with its creators.

BOOM! Studios Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ross Richie will produce the film with Keaton and Anonymous Content’s Michael Sugar. President of Development Stephen Christy will executive produce with Anonymous Content’s Eli Selden. Senior Vice President of Film Adam Yoelin will co-produce in cooperation with Anonymous Content’s Ashley Zalta.

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It’s the day before Christmas. Hope everyone has their presents purchased. If not, head to your local comic shop and get some!

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The State – Popular culture helps change America’s mind on gays, marriage – An interesting article on how pop culture shapes our views (for the better in many cases).

GamePolitics – NYU Game Center Makes All Lectures Freely Available Online – Check it out and get your learning on!

iO9 – Top 10 Harshest Lessons That 2014 Has Taught The Entertainment Industry – Agree? Disagree?

Boing Boing – Unkept Promise: Anti-alcohol comic book from 1949 – Some nice comic history.

CBS – Curses! Foiled Again: Colorado Company Loses Bid For Marvel Superhero Rights  – 3 billionth time a charm?

Spinoff Online – Take a Look at Michael Keaton’s ‘Batman 3′ Batsuit Prototype – I’m digging this suit.

 

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Comic Vine – Injustice: Year Three #13

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It’s a new week of comic goodness. What’s everyone looking forward to? Anyone go to the various conventions this weekend?

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The Mary Sue – Michael Keaton Reminisces About Batman Suit From ’89 Film – Some cool history.

The Plain Dealer – Intergalactic graphic novel performed live at the Palace Theatre – Folks should check this out if they get a chance.

Bleeding Cool – A Modest Proposal For… The Reader-Owned Comic – Other than all of the legal issues surrounding it….

TechCrunch – What Games Are: Generation Gygax – A great reflection on the D&D influence.

Batman Casting Controversy….. in 1989

benaffleckleadThe internets were all in a storm with the rather shocking news that Ben Affleck has been cast to portray Batman/Bruce Wayne in the Batman/Superman sequel to Man of Steel set to hit theaters in 2015. This isn’t the first time the casting of Batman has caused controversy.

24 years ago Michael Keaton was cast for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton‘s version of Batman, which lead to a letter writing campaign that saw 50,000 letters sent to Warner Bros. Letters were those things we had to use to voice displeasure before the internet/Facebook/Twitter. Bob Kane, the man who created Batman, even questioned the casting.

From a New York Times article from 1989 written before the movie’s debut:

Yet even before shooting began at London’s Pinewood Studios last fall, ”Batman” generated more anger than anticipation among the comic book hero’s fans – the hard-core audience for any film such as this. In a massive letter-writing campaign, objections were raised over the studio’s emphasis on this high-concept Batman and the refusal to make a serious square-jawed film out of one of the most popular – and psychologically complex – comic book characters.

The controversy, which erupted in the front pages of The Wall Street Journal and numerous trade publications, focused on the casting of Mr. Keaton, best known as the anarchic prankster in last year’s comedy hit ”Beetlejuice,” as the vengeful vigilante, and the choice of Tim Burton, the ”Beetlejuice” creator and former Disney animator, as the film’s director. The suspicion voiced by hundreds of angry fans was that ”Batman” would be a campy send-up similar to the self-parodying but hugely popular 1960’s television series.

I think we can all agree that turned out pretty well, right?