Spider-Man: Far From Home Review: A Perfect Parody of a Marvel Film

 

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Credit: Marvel Studios

Spider-Man: Far From Home is the greatest prank of director Jon Watts’ career. To hammer (far from) home what I’m trying to say, there’s a scene in this movie where Peter Parker strips for a Slav dressed in latex, and when he and Svetlana get caught by a fellow classmate who takes their picture, Peter orders an orbital drone strike on his peer via a pair of magical reading glasses.

I can’t make this shit up.

This movie, unlike the original Phase 1 MCU movies, doesn’t even try to pretend it exists in the real world. Far From Home resides solely in a universe comprised of jokes, slightly sloppy CGI (which the film actually gives a reason for, in another great meta-twist by Watts as he continues to mock Marvel flicks), cartoonish villains, teenage awkwardness, and all the other makings of a stellar Disney Channel Original Movie (TM). It’s a hoot. G-Force better move over because we have a new world-class international spy thriller from the house of the mouse.

It’s clear the days of Iron Man 1‘s subtle, nuanced semi-realism are far, far (from home) behind us, and this movie officially puts the nail in that coffin. While other MCU franchises like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy heavily hinted at Marvel’s long-term trajectory, this Spidey film locks it in for good–right in time for Phase 4, also known as the phase a lot of fans aren’t planning on seeing or investing in now that the Infinity Saga has wrapped. Fare thee well, Holland, the squeakiest spider-boy/full-time Stark acolyte we ever knew. And adieu, Feige; thanks for everything up to 2012.

Also, snapshot reviews of other recent movies!

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — the effects are cheaper and lazier than the first two films (so many crappy Photoshop blood-splats), and the movie is way more of a plotless cartoon than previous installments (both of which I sort of liked). Booo. Also, stuntmen literally lie on the ground awkwardly squirming and waiting for Keanu Reeves to “kill” them, and it really sucks the tension out of a lot of the action.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters — the story is cleverly topical, feel-good, and though every single Goddamn character speaks exclusively in exposition and certain plot devices are beyond ridiculous (a young girl sneaks a giant boombox out of an inexplicably incompetently guarded terrorist base all by herself), the movie, on the whole, is fun. The camerawork and shot composition are drop-dead gorgeous, the majesty of the monsters is more or less maintained from Godzilla (2014), and the whole thing is a visual treat. Also, the sound design of the monsters is excellent.

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter for more hot-off-the-press (or mildly warm-off-the-press) movie coverage.

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Team Sonic Racing Review/End of the Weekly Cycle

Well, I managed it for a few months, but at this point, it’s time for me to come to terms with the fact that the weekly posting schedule ain’t happening. Alas. Besides, there’s not enough worthwhile news for me to keep up a good output of parody articles like the Batwoman one. The world is simultaneously too cringe inducing and, yet, not cringe-inducing enough!

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As I cope with these shocking revelations, enjoy this fantastic review of Team Sonic Racing, which happens to closely align with my views on the game. Hell, the reviewer even mentioned the Babylon Rogues. Funny, I thought I was the only one who remembered them.

Anywho, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter for more hot-off-the-press blogging and game coverage.

The CW Is Ready to Save Television with Batwoman

The first Batwoman teaser dropped yesterday.

I saw it.

I’m shook.

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Right off the bat, just looking at the casting decisions within the first thirty seconds of the trailer, I’m confident the CW has finally learned what it means to have a truly representative cast. Sure, we’re still stuck with a single grumpy, milquetoast white male, but beyond that, all I see are strong women in real positions of power. There’s a female police offer. A female public speaker. A female news reporter. A female villain. All of whom are racially diverse, might I add. The ratio of women to men is an unprecedented 4:1. Compared to the CW’s usual roster of stale, white-male-dominated television such as Arrow and The Flash, this is a welcome breath of fresh air.

And though I gush about the supporting cast, I wouldn’t dare forget to mention Ruby Rose, the star of the show. Everything about her simply screams “punk rock.” She’s unapologetic. She’s sassy. And, oh, she’s a lesbian. Not one of the quiet ones Hollywood usually uses to “subtly inject nuance” into a story, either, which is just mansplaining for “we don’t support on-screen LGBTQ depictions.” No, Ruby is loud and proud about who she is, and the trailer makes sure you know it by portraying multiple scenes of steamy girl-on-girl action.

And don’t get me started on Ruby’s dialogue. “So I have this thing with rules,” she says, as she blatantly defies the rules. And then she tells off a man who informs her Batman’s suit is literal perfection, responding that it can only be perfect once it fits a woman. One could spitefully, bitterly argue both this line and her closing line about “not letting a man take credit for a woman’s work” are both a bit empty, given that her caped crusader career hinges on her adoption of technology pioneered by the man himself, Bruce Wayne. But that argument is invalid unless the showrunners themselves go somewhere with it, because unless they decide that’s a take worth exploring, the other Batwoman fans and I don’t have to listen to it, or you, pissed off white guy reading this article. Because you are a toxic, entitled, fake “fan,” just like all those who hate on Disney’s Star Wars and Game of Thrones season 8. You’re jealous of seeing a woman succeed. And here’s the thing: We can see that motive in your words, clear as day. You’re not fooling us, no matter how many times you claim your criticisms are “legitimate.”

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But let’s not dwell on negativity; this trailer is meant to foster positive vibes. It’s a new era for women, one where they’ll no longer be held back by anatomy or social standing. Batwoman‘s looking to make it known that the CW is going to be standing on the right side of history when the patriarchy finally caves in on itself, and I’m on-board.

One last thing that really psyched me up was the gender-bending of the Mad Hatter. After all, toxic masculinity tropes always ensured the Mad Hatter was as deranged and evil as could be, but swapping in a fresh female face for the role ensures that Batwoman will have a deliciously batshit insane enemy to face off against; one whose reputation doesn’t hinge on unhealthy male characteristics. I’m inclined to believe that after Johnny Depp’s whole “situation” and his failed standard white-guy take on the Mad Hatter in Disney’s recent Alice movies, the CW knew it had to go bold with its take on the character. And nothing says bold like Harley Quinn 2.0.

Those are my thoughts on Batwoman; let me know how you feel about it down in the comments. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter for more hot-off-the-press TV and movie coverage.

How Dare There Be Ads on My Free Blog

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Credit: Some crafty memester on the deep web

I recently became aware that WordPress has been displaying the most unsightly, disgusting ads imaginable on my site. I’m talking the “doctors hate this 1 quick trick” ads with pulsating, moving images of pimples; stuff of that variety. Viagra ads. Ads advertising other ads. You name it.

But as much as the raw imagery of these advertisements appalls me, I’m far more perturbed by the simple fact that they even exist. How dare WordPress have the gall, the unfettered gall, to display promotional content on my site. My site, which is entirely possible due to their free service. My site, which owes its layout and web hosting status thanks to WordPress’ generosity. My site, which would not exist without their multitudinous free offerings.

In short, I’m sorry, non-Wordpress readers, for your having to suffer through some nasty ads. And as for you, WordPress, I hate you. Thank you for your free service.

Avengers: Endgame Review

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MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD:

This review’s definitely not a day late, because I’m setting it to have been posted yesterday. And just like the movie, I don’t care if that’s cheating, because the entire film is made up of time travel tomfoolery like that.

Here’s the scoop: Endgame is just three hours of fun and genuine excitement, and definitely feels like an “event” more than any other movie before it. However, that’s all it is. An event. A trip to the carnival. Heart-stoppingly intense? Yes. Much less of a shitty comedy and more of a proper drama than previous Marvel flicks? Thank God, it is. A fitting conclusion to the MCU as we know it? Give (Captain Marvel) or take, sure.

Minus one cringe-inducing girl-power scene where a crying, weak little Spider-Man hands a plot McGuffin over to the hyper-masculine, stoic, and emotionless Carl Manvers, followed by a funny group shot of the women banding together to accomplish nothing for a hot sec while the guys kick back and let their female counterparts feel good about themselves, the movie was pretty good when it wasn’t defining heroes’ worth by their genitals.

But you already know all of this. You’ve read the reviews. “Fan-service” this and “I love you 3000” that. All the normie takes have already been made. So here’s my brilliant, totally original take: The Russo Bros. are lackluster directors. It’s been this way forever, they just happened to fool me with Winter Soldier. Their scene direction (and its accompanying editing style) is choppy and custom-built for Instagram posts, and I can smell their television roots in every scene.

Their style lacks grandiose. This sad phenomenon is especially visible during action scenes, when the Russo Bros. fail to capitalize on the epic nature of the heroes they’re in charge of.

Take, for example, a bad-ass moment when Pepper Potts teams up with her husband to kill some aliens. Both of them are in Iron Man suits and it looks awesome. Her armor is flared out like a purple phoenix, and Tony’s is doing that badass unibeam attack that deserved to crop up way more often in the MCU. The camera circles around them super-duper fast, showing them doing these epic maneuvers back to back with each other. It’s great. The pacing is electric, the choreography is fluid, everything about that shot is fantastic–except for the fact that it’s over in three seconds (the link to the clip will probably get taken down by YT, but I’m being literal when I say three damn seconds).

That kind of moment deserves, hell, at least ten seconds, just so the audience can process it, digest it, and then revel in it. The issue is, Team Russo (TM) only cares that audiences process it, then they move right along without giving anyone the time to savor it. It feels lazy, like they didn’t want to properly manufacture tension and think out genuine ways to extend the choreography to reach peak potential, so they cut away the second they’ve done just barely enough to “satisfy” the masses.

Think back to the stunning action sequences in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for a moment: every one of those featured a kinetic flow and sense of effortless endurance that puts each and every Endgame action scene to shame. Also think about other superhero films, like those directed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan never shirked away from challenges like the ones mentioned above, which is why his stellar Batman trilogy will be remembered long after this film and the majority of other MCU flicks.

That last line sums up my feelings on this movie: great, but not memorable. The Russo Bros. just aren’t in the business of making films that leave a lasting impression, beyond their utilization of superficial narrative parlor tricks like the ending of Infinity War. As another reviewer stated, this movie is clear-cut pro-forma storytelling. I’m inclined to agree.