Skidmarks on My Heart

Last night, we abandoned The Mist in the midst of episode 4. I wanted to like it, but the characters weren’t likable or relatable; and the mist itself is completely different from what Stephen King wrote in the original novella and what was translated to the screen for the original film. I can understand the need to reboot  a concept once it’s gotten overplayed and tired, but I don’t think The Mist was either of those; I don’t think the movie was seen by all that many people (it may not have been a flop, but it wasn’t an enormous runaway success, either). I’ve seen some theories (maybe even from the producers/writers?) that the show is actually a sequel to the film, years later; there are references occasionally that intimate ‘this has happened before in local legend[‘, or some such. In either case, the show isn’t working, and about halfway through last night’s episode I was done with it once and for all.

It’s a pity, because I had high hopes for the show. I didn’t care for Haven, either, which was (very) loosely based on The Colorado Kid. That show ran for several seasons, so it obviously had an audience; I just wasn’t a part of it. (I also didn’t get very far into Under the Dome.)

I slept very deeply last night and very late this morning, which was actually kind  of lovely. My muscles aren’t aching and tired, and neither are my joints; I am going to stretch again this morning in a moment or two; perhaps when I finish this entry. Later this evening we are going over to our friend Susan’s to watch the season premiere of Game of Thrones and eat pizza; we used to watch True Blood with Susan (we all agreed on Pam as our favorite character, and it was fun watching with her).

As I mentioned yesterday, we went to see Spiderman Homecoming last night. The time of the show we wanted at our usual place, the AMC Palace 20 in Elmwood, wasn’t convenient, so we tried out the Palace at Clearview Mall. I wasn’t overly impressed with this theater, so I doubt we’ll go back there again–except for convenience. (The Elmwood location is really quite nice.) So, what did I think of the movie?

I’ve watched two or three of the original Spiderman films with Tobey Maguire, which were okay; pleasant entertainments and a nice way to whittle away some time. I’ve not seen the second iteration with Andrew Garfield; the reviews weren’t great and it was never convenient for me to watch them, nor was I particularly interested in carving out the time to watch them (I might now, honestly, simply for the sake of comparison).  I decided I wanted to see this version–despite an original lack of interest–because Tom Holland, the young man playing Spiderman this time out, won me over with his stellar performance of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” on Lip Sync Battle:

How could I not see the movie after watching that?

As I’ve said before, I was a DC kid growing up and didn’t really read much Marvel until I got back into comics in the 1980’s; and the Spiderman books quickly became my favorite Marvel books, and one of my top favorite superheroes. I loved the character of Peter Parker, the brainy nerd who accidentally becomes super-powered; who comes from a poor background and struggles in his private life while not truly getting the superhero cred he deserves, either–which was such a huge departure from the DC mentality, and one that I really liked. (All of Marvel’s superheroes have their detractors and aren’t universally loved in their universe; probably the most astute and brilliant thing Stan lee did with the superhero genre.) But ultimately, Peter was a nice guy who understood ‘that with great power comes great responsibility.’ And I was never able to put my finger on what it was that made me not love the original films as much as I loved the character.

Now that I’ve seen Spiderman Homecoming, I can tell you exactly what it was: Toby Maguire didn’t quite embody that Spiderman ideal; the geeky, smart, nerdy unpopular kid who is actually a hero in disguise. Tom Holland, though, has nailed the role perfectly. He’s likable and you root for him; the crushing disappointments of how he misses out on the things that are important to the private person while trying to become the hero he feels he should be. It was also a stroke of genius to not only not make this an origin movie (he already has his powers, obviously, since his cameo appearance in one of The Avengers movies), but to take Spiderman back to his mid-teens. I didn’t read the original comics (I wasn’t old enough to read when Spiderman first was published, obviously) but I’ve always believed Peter got his powers when he was a teenager; and by taking him back to his teens means Holland can play the role for at least another twenty years, if not longer (of course, he might lose interest, the series could run out of steam, any number of things could happen in the meantime), and it will be fun to watch Spiderman/Peter grow up and evolve into the great hero he’s meant to become. The key to Peter is he is a good guy, who always wants to do the right thing but sometimes fails, and feels those failures deeply; Holland nails that youthful earnestness perfectly in what is undoubtedly a star-making role. I thought that several times while watching the movie: This kid is going to be a major star.

One of the film’s other strengths is its diversity; there are many characters who could have easily been cast with white actors but instead the roles were given to a multi-ethnic cast, seamlessly integrated into their roles so beautifully that I didn’t really notice it until after the movie was over; on the way out to the parking lot I realized there were a lot of people of color in this film, and it worked beautifully.

Maybe because people of color are fully integrated into the society in general?

Pay attention to this, film makers. THIS is how you do it.

The weakest–to me–part of the movie is the mentoring relationship with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man/Tony Stark; I’ve been a fan of Downey since I first saw him in Weird Science thirty or so years ago (he was the best thing in that execrable Less Than Zero movie, along with the brilliant Bangles cover of ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’) and I am glad he finally has the blockbuster star career I always thought he should have, but I’m not really a fan of the Iron Man movies; his presence in the movie also made me wonder, every single time Spiderman was in trouble, if Iron Man was going to show up and help him. Michael Keaton was terrific as the villain; and Marisa Tomei wasn’t given enough to do as Aunt Mae (just called Mae in this iteration; it was a bit of a shock to have a younger, much hotter Aunt Mae). I wasn’t really sure why Zendaya was in the movie, either–although she was terrific, and the “a-ha!” moment late in the film made me really, really happy; again, well-done, Marvel Films, well done.

I’ve seen commentary that the movie sort of was a nod to the John Hughes films of the 1980s; there was some of that, and the 80’s music helped with that sense (you can NEVER go wrong with the Ramones, period). The other young actors were stellar, as well; Jacob Batalon as Peter’s best friend Ned steals every scene he is in.

However, one warning: if you suffer from vertigo/fear of heights, do not see this movie in 3-D.  As one of those who suffers from that, the realism of two action sequences–one involving the Washington Monument and the other an airplace–was so intense that I literally got not only nauseous and dizzy but severely anxious and had to look away from the screen or close my eyes at times; the Washington Monument scene is so realistic it’s like you are literally on top of it; you can only imagine how someone who is terrified of heights the way I am reacted to that scene; it was quite traumatizing for me.

In conclusion, I absolutely loved this movie, and can’t wait for the next Spiderman film. I highly recommend it.

And now, I need to get some writing and cleaning done. Here’s a gratuitous beefcake shot of Tom Holland:

Tom-holland-shirtless-spiderman

 

 

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