In Praise of Marisa Tomei

I recently saw “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and while a lot of the movie is very good, my first comment walking out of the theater was, “Man, I wish Aunt May [Marisa Tomei] was in it more.” And it’s not the only time that Tomei has had a (small) part in a movie, done a lot with it, and left the audience wanting more. In fact, let’s take a look at her IMDB page. You may be like me and forget in just how many roles she’s been really excellent.

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Spider-Man falls into Marvel’s Web of Heroes

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I was really excited at the news that Captain America 3 was going to be loosely based on the Civil War storyline, given that I like the idea of these larger-than-life superheroes getting into conflict. I thought Captain America 2 was fantastic, especially for its ability to be a taut spy thriller. (It’s the most “Three Days of the Condor” of a movie that Marvel has ever made.) The idea that Captain America 3 will involve Iron Man and Captain America disagreeing about domestic registration of superheroes (and potentially come to blows over this disagreement) makes me psyched – it’s the friction of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, but with stakes other than “We have to save the world by capturing this MacGuffin.”

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So today’s news, that Spider-Man is officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, warms my heart. I love Spidey. Even the terrible movies (Sam Raimi’s third, the second Marc Webb effort from last summer) have always had some redeeming qualities (Topher Grace’s Venom or Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy, for instance). And the good one’s (especially 2004’s “Spider-Man 2”) transitioned the character from the comics¬†to the¬†screen in a way I didn’t think would be possible. So I am thrilled at the chance for Spidey to rub shoulders with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and maybe even Groot.

I’m also very happy that this means Sony may abandon plans for the Sinister Six movies they had discussed. We didn’t need six stand-alone movies about Spider-Man taking on various villians. We didn’t need an Aunt May spin-off. We didn’t need any more than the five Spider-Man movies that we’ve already gotten. And we certainly don’t need to see Peter witness Uncle Ben’s death for a third time (on screen). No, a Spider-Man who’s been doing his job (fighting crime, swinging on webs, doing whatever a spider can, etc.) rather than another iteration of the petulant and angst-ridden Peter Parker would be a nice change of a pace: a fully-formed, adult Spider-Man, capable of trading barbs with the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While I do feel bad for Andrew Garfield (I think he did an admirable job given the sub-par scripts he was handed), some fresh blood in a franchise that, as of last summer, had lost serious momentum is a cause for celebration. Although, Marvel, I do hope that you heed the words of Uncle Ben: with great power comes great responsibility. You have stoked fans’ hopes: please don’t disappoint.

Now if only Marvel could also get back the rights to Wolverine…

The Winter of My Content

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Just over two months ago, I lamented the fact that 2014 was shaping up to be a poor year for movie quality. In fact, 2014 was churning out much stronger drama on television than at the movies. But, as Rustin Cohle noted, without time, nothing grows, nothing changes.

And time changed the entertainment landscape. Gone were “True Detective,” “Masters of Sex,” “The Leftovers,” and “Mad Men.” In their place? “Saved by the Bell: The Unauthorized Story” and a plethora of fall TV offerings that looked mediocre at best. And the best drama? Back to where we expected it: the big screen. Continue reading

Summer Movies I Want to See

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In exactly eight days, I’ll be sitting in a movie theater watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With that, it’ll in (in my mind) officially be summer movie season. (Not sure the weather in NYC will agree with my categorization of “summer,” but that’s a discussion for a different blog). You’ll note this is pretty sequel-heavy, but that’s the industry today.

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