Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming, rated PG-13
*** ½  

Spider-Man Homecoming is an action-packed, humor-filled Marvel film with a new Spider-Man that is enjoyable.
After two films in which Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge, Silence) played Spider-Man, we were introduced to the high-school age Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Tony Stark/Iron Man, played by two-time Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder, Chaplin), had recruited him to help stop Captain America. This film picks up eight months after the action in that film.
Peter Parker is a 15-year old high school student from Queens. In addition to fighting minor crime in his neighborhood, he’s dealing with the usual high school issues. His best friend is the likeable Ned (Jacob Batalon), and he has a crush on Liz (Laura Harrier), a senior who is the captain of the High School Academic Decathlon. Peter lives with his Aunt May, played by Oscar winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny), from whom he hides his after-school Spider-Man activities. He tells her, and others, that he has an internship for Stark Industries.
The young Parker is a somewhat awkward superhero in training, and wears a suit that his mentor and father-figure Tony Stark has designed for him. He is in the process of figuring out his powers. He waits for a call from Happy Hogan, (Jon Lavreau, Chef), who plays Stark’s assistant, to take on the type of criminals that the Avengers do battle with.
The villain in the film is Adrian Toomes, played by Oscar nominated Michael Keaton (Birdman). Toomes is a disgruntled city contractor, who decides to sell stolen alien weapons on the black market. As a villain, he goes by the name of Vulture, and wears a costume with large wings. Peter encounters him and tells Tony Stark about him and is told not to get involved with the Vulture, but to concentrate on smaller crimes in his neighborhood. In other words, he is to be your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. But Peter doesn’t follow that direction.
The film is directed by Jon Watts, who also writes the film with five others (Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers). The film has an estimated budget of $175 million budget.
I enjoyed the humor in the film and thought Holland was excellent as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Downey Jr. was good in a small role and Keaton was good as the film’s villain.
The film has less violence than the usual Marvel film as it focuses just as much on Parker’s high school life as it does on him as a super hero. There is also a twist in the film that I didn’t see coming. In addition, the film includes some good music, both original score and other songs.
Unfortunately, the film includes some adult language that is completely unnecessary, in addition to some abuses of God’s name. Scenes that took place at the Washington Monument and on the Staten Island Ferry were excellent. I also enjoyed Spider-Man getting to know all of the features of the suit that Stark had made for him.
And of course, being a Marvel film, don’t forget to sit all the way through the ending credits.


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Movie Review ~ Captain America: Civil War

Captain America  Civil WarCaptain America:  Civil War, rated PG-13
****

The film is directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: The First Avenger).  We saw this film in IMAX 3-D in a packed theater with an enthusiastic audience who reacted to each amazing scene they saw (watch for the scene with Captain America and the helicopter, or a great stunt with a motorcycle, for example). In fact, even before the film started, some shouted out “Team Cap!” to be responded with “Iron Man!” And the audience was not disappointed.

The latest Marvel film is a long one at 2 hours and 26 minutes. It is rated PG-13 for the standard super hero violence, some adult language (and unfortunately the abuse of God’s name). We really enjoyed the humor in the film. Some films get distracted with the fighting and violence (think of the recent Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), but this one never lost track of the story.

As the film opens, we see some of the Avengers – Captain America (Chris Evans), the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) – in Lagos, Nigeria trying to stop the theft of biological weapons. Unfortunately, a casualty of their heroic actions is the death of several innocent people. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and now the Avengers are told by Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), that 117 nations will soon be approving the Sokovia Accords, and all the Avengers will need to sign it. The agreement will provide oversight for the superheroes; they will no longer be able to enter into situations worldwide without approval. Many of the Avengers, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sign the Accords, but a few, notably Captain America, do not.

As King T’Chaka (John Kani) addresses the representatives before the Accords vote, a bomb goes off. Many are injured and some are killed, including King T’Chaka. We see his son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) kneeling over his father’s dead body. Soon news reports flash a photo that show the bomber as being Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who was at one time Captain America’s best friend. As the manhunt begins for the Winter Soldier, Captain America seeks to protect him, putting him on the opposite side of his Avenger friends that signed the Accord, notably Iron Man.  That sets up the Avengers “Civil War” – betrayal is a key theme in this film along with standing your ground to do the right thing. Team Iron Man consists of Iron Man, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), Black Widow, War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Spiderman (Tom Holland), while Team Captain America consists of Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Ant Man (Paul Rudd).

Not all of the Avengers are in the film (notably absent were Thor and the Hulk), but many are, in addition to some new characters (Black Panther and Spiderman, for example.) The strong cast also includes Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, and Alfre Woodard.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable film with excellent stunts, computer animations, and screenplay.  As with all Marvel superhero films, don’t get up when the film ends, but stay through all the credits to see two brief previews for future Avenger films.