With well over a decade under the belt of the world’s favorite wall crawler in cinema, what direction does Marvel take him next? With the casting of Tom Holland and confirmed rumors by Marvel, we do know they will be following a young high school Peter Parker through his struggles and his transition into one of the worlds greatest heroes.
But, before you can assume where you are going, you should look back at where you came from. Let’s take a look back at how Spider-Man set the table for comic book movies in cinema.
Spider-Man was released May 3rd 2002. It Starred Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco and Willem Dafoe. This movie was one that set the table for modern day hero movies. Directed by Sam Raimi and coupled with an amazing score by Danny Elfman, Spider-Man soared into theaters. It followed closely to the comics and the story of Peter Parker as an awkward nerdy teenager bitten by a genetically altered super spider, while dealing with his insecurities and balancing great power with great responsibility. With an $821 million world wide gross, Spider-Man proved that this was the new path of cinema.
Spider-Man 2 was released June 30th 2004. It pitted Peter Parker against his idol and Spidey against one of his deadliest foes, Doctor Octopus. Following close to the same formula as its predecessor, we followed a slightly more confident Spider-Man trying to balance his life as one of the worlds greatest heroes and his fear of what being that hero may cost him as Peter Parker.
Though critics bashed Spider-Man 3, it has a worldwide gross over $890 million. I believe most of its criticism came via the lack of back story for one of the worlds most beloved spidey villains, Venom. Fans also believed Topher Grace was a poor choice for the role. Spider-Man 3 was released May 4th 2007 and explored the dark side of having great power and vengeance in your heart.
The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2
The Amazing Spider-Man was released July 3rd 2012. It was an attempt to re-boot the Spidey franchise without straying too far from the source content. Director Marc Webb decided that he would skimp on some details, assuming the audience wouldn’t want to revisit Peter’s brief stint in wresting or showing in detail how Spidey sense looked through the eyes of Parker.
In his second attempt, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Director Marc Webb attempted to improve upon where he fell short in his 2012 Spidey debut, by bringing in a A list cast that included Jamie Foxx, Emma Stone, paul Giamatti, Dane DeHaan. He also decided to take the movie over the top with bigger explosions and more over the top action, while having Spider-Man realize his true strength. Webb seemed to abandoned his idea of the darker more down to earth Spider-Man and venture back closer to source material. Even going as far as to make his suite lighter and more like the original.
Tom Holland’s New Ultimate Spider-Man Haircut
Which brings us to the present. Of course we know very little about the exact direction Jon Watts will be taking our new Spider-Man. But let’s talk about what we do know. We know we will get our first glimpse of Spidey in Captain America Civil War, we know that Tom Holland will be playing a young high school aged Peter Parker. He will be as conflicted as ever and learning to deal with his new found powers. His costume will we be closer to the origins of Spider-Man.
What we don’t know about this incarnation is how he will fit into the already well established Avengers universe on screen. It’s the only variable that could make this Spidey significantly different from previous versions on screen.
Opinion | No Way Home Can’t Actually Be Nominated For Best Picture, Can It?
Yes, I realize that my previous opinion column was also all about superhero movies, but given that we are heading into awards season, the idea of a Best Picture push for Spider-Man: No Way Home seems asinine. I cannot be the only one that feels this way, but after seeing tweets in support of Sony’s For Your Consideration campaign, it sure feels like it.
Let me preface by saying that I loved No Way Home. Not the 1996 Tim Roth movie, which was filmed in my neighborhood in Staten Island, but the latest MCU flick. I should also say that it has felt as if Marvel has tried to lose me as a consumer; Black Widow was horrendous, Shang-Chi fumbled the ball in the third act, and Eternals was hot trash trying to disguise as something it wasn’t: artistic. Had my sister not gone with me to see it, I would have walked out. And the MCU shows have yet to grasp me, I saw WandaVision and was on board until the last episode, got about 10 minutes into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, saw the first episode of Loki, and skipped any of the other shows that came and went.
But who doesn’t love Spider-Man? I even gave No Way Home a B+ in my review, which is higher than I expected going in. Was it the nostalgia? Probably; I can’t act like No Way Home had the smartest plot or anything like that, but it brought back a child-like joy that has been missing in other MCU movies. At the end of the day, there’s a reason Sony can reboot the character every five years, and that’s because Peter Parker is a universally-relatable character. Tom Holland’s iteration has been good, but I’ve always been critical of the young actor outside of his MCU work. I’m sorry, but Cherry is anything but sweet and I don’t even want to try and guess what Chaos Walking was. The Devil All The Time was a promising start to his post-MCU career, but projects like the aforementioned Cherry and Chaos Walking leave such a bad taste in your mouth but I digress. Maybe Uncharted can be his franchise outside of the MCU, but that is yet to be seen.
What Holland was missing in his Spider-Man movies was some growth. The “Iron Boy” conversation has been talked about ad nauseam, but the criticism was fair. What happened to the “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” that stuck to street-level crime? Thankfully, No Way Home seemingly opens the door for that to come to fruition in the inevitable next trilogy. To his credit, Holland showed his ability to actually act emotionally for the first time outside of The Devil All The Time in No Way Home. Not that Holland’s acting in a scene with a major loss and the subsequent scene should get him Oscar gold, but it was a great step in the right direction. This is where the conversation about No Way Home and Oscars gets messy. Yes, Holland was great in the scene, but are those two scenes really good enough to bump Andrew Garfield, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, or Nicolas Cage (who should be nominated for Pig) out of the Best Actor race? I guess the campaign isn’t pushing Holland too heavily, but it felt needed to touch on.
But with all of that being said, does No Way Home even belong in the Best Picture conversation? Look, it was probably one of the best movie-going experiences of my life, even the press screening was eating it up, but favorite films and the best films need to have some separation. No Way Home is great, but it shouldn’t take away the shine from films that feel on the brink like tick, tick… BOOM!, CODA, or Drive My Car for goodness’ sake. All three of those pack just as, if not more emotion than No Way Home did with its one major death.
And on the subject of the emotional beats of No Way Home, do you really care if that character dies if you haven’t seen the previous two movies? Let alone all of the nostalgic gimmicks the film pulls out of its web. Do we really expect that Oscar voters are going to sit through the Raimi trilogy and the two Amazing Spider-Man movies just so they can understand why Alfred Molina is hilariously de-aged in No Way Home? Or why (seemingly) every other joke is a wink directly at the camera? That’s a laughable proposition.
We can all agree that Holland is great in No Way Home, but the whole movie is full of good performances. Marisa Tomei and Willem Dafoe are both great, especially the latter, but why can’t we just nominate Dafoe for the right movies such as The Lighthouse or Nightmare Alley? It’s the Pacino situation all over again, and it would be even worse given that Dafoe never gives an “I’m too fucking old” monologue as Pacino did in his Oscar-winning performance in Scent of a Woman. Jokes aside, Dafoe deserves an Oscar sooner than later, but No Way Home feels like the wrong movie at the right time.
“But what about the box office?” Well, it feels like a no-brainer that No Way Home did gangbusters at the box office. Is the ascent to the top six all-time domestically and top ten worldwide impressive given its time in theaters? Absolutely. That accomplishment cannot be taken away from it. But are we just going to act like Far From Home didn’t gross a billion dollars? Add in the leaks and levels of speculation going into No Way Home. Yes, the likely journey to the top five in terms of highest-grossing movies worldwide is impressive, but this isn’t the “little indie that could.”
I’m not an Oscar voter, but at the end of the day, there are more than ten films that feel more worthy of one of the ten Best Picture slots. Oscar-darlings like Belfast and King Richard may be divisive among critics, but it could be argued that both films told important stories that outweigh that of No Way Home. The Power of the Dog may seem like a “pretentious critic” movie, with the pacing of a snail, but it’s another film that handles heavy themes like toxic masculinity in a poetic way. If I had a ballot, as of now, the ten films that would fill my Best Picture category would be (in alphabetical order): Belfast, Bergman Island, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, The Power of the Dog, and The Worst Person in the World.
None of this is to take away from No Way Home‘s accomplishments or what it has done for theaters. When I was at Scream last night people were still flooding into the IMAX theater to see No Way Home. It’s a wonderful thing, but I also think that we are getting ahead of ourselves to think it should be worthy of Best Picture contention because, at the end of the day, it’s taking away attention from smaller, intimate movies that tell stories with equal emotion and are not contingent on knowledge of eight other movies. Don’t these tentpole movies already take enough attention away from the mid-to-small budget movies at theaters?
Marvel Reveals for Disney + Day
Marvel Studios’ 2021 Disney + Day Special is now streaming.
Happy Disney + Day!, the streaming service celebrated its second anniversary by giving fans like myself a look at new upcoming titles and that includes some right out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney are putting a lot of investments into the future of its streaming service and that certainly enables the MCU to expand with a grand total of twelve new titles, some previously announced, ones with new looks and logos and even a few surprises.
Luckily I kept track of all the announcements for Disney + Day, so if you’ve missed anything you’r more than welcome to visit my twitter thread dedicated to this day full of news, images and clips straight from the House of House.
The first Marvel announcement of the day was definitely a nostalgic one as the beloved 1997 animated X-Men series is making a comeback as X-MEN ’97 will arrive on the service in 2023
The animated series from Marvel Studios explores new stories in the iconic 90s timeline of the original series. Written by Executive Producer Beau DeMayo.
Viewers then got a first look at Oscar Issac in Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight where he plays the titular character.
Moon Knight is a new globetrotting action-adventure series featuring a complex vigilante who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. The multiple identities who live inside him find themselves thrust into a deadly war of the gods against the backdrop of modern and ancient Egypt. Moon Knight is directed by Mohamed Diab and is coming to Disney+ in 2022.
She-Hulk also appeared in Marvel’s upcoming sizzle reel. It stars Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who specialises in superhuman-oriented cases.
She-Hulk will welcome a host of Marvel characters to the series, including the Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo, and the Abomination, played by Tim Roth. The new comedy series coming to Disney+ in 2022 is written by Executive Producer Jessica Gao and directed by Executive Producer Kat Coiro and Anu Valia.
The series also got a brand new logo.
Finally the last bit of footage came from the first look at Ms.Marvel.
Ms. Marvel introduces viewers to Kamala, a 16-year old Pakistani American from Jersey City. An aspiring artist, an avid gamer, and a voracious fan-fiction scribe, she is a huge fan of the Avengers — and one in particular, Captain Marvel. But Kamala has always struggled to find her place in the world — that is until she gets super powers like the heroes she’s always looked up to. Iman Vellani stars as Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel. Episodes are directed by Executive Producers Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah, Meera Menon, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
WHAT IF? SEASON 2MARVEL
It was also announced that the animated series Marvel’s What If…? is set to receive a second season. The second season of the fan-favorite animated series. After enlisting the Guardians of the Multiverse to stop Infinity Ultron, The Watcher returns in Season 2 of What If…? to meet new heroes and explore more strange new worlds in the MCU’s ever-expanding Multiverse. Directed by Executive Producer Bryan Andrews and written by Executive Producer AC Bradley.
Another surprise announcement was a series that is a spin-off of Hawkeye, which hasn’t even aired yet. It was revealed that Marvel Studios’ Echo will be coming soon to the platform.
The series stars Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, a character who will be introduced in Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye.
SPIDER-MAN: FRESHMAN YEARMARVEL
It was announced that viewers will also get a new look at Peter Parker in Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: Freshman Year.
The animated series follows Peter Parker on his way to becoming Spider-Man in the MCU, with a journey unlike we’ve ever seen and a style that celebrates the character’s early comic book roots. Written by Executive Producer Jeff Trammel.
I AM GROOTMARVEL
Disney + have released shorts from other franchises that focus on adorable characters aimed at younger viewers, so now the MCU is getting in on the action with our favourite guardian Groot. The series of shorts follows Baby Groot’s glory days growing up, and getting into trouble, among the stars. Directed by Executive Producer Kirsten Lepore.
Ironheart was previously announced but thanks to Disney + Day we’ve got a brand new logo.
The series stars Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams , a genius inventor who creates the most advanced suit of armor since Iron Man.
AGATHA: HOUSE OF HARKNESSMARVEL
Now we finally get to my favourite of the Marvel announcements which is that Emmy-nominee Kathryn Hahn will reprise her role as Agatha Harkness for a brand new Disney+ series.
Agatha: House of Harkness will reveal more about the character first introduced in Marvel Studios’ WandaVision. Jac Schaefer, who served as head writer and executive producer on WandaVision, returns for Agatha: House of Harkness. Be sure to hide all dogs named Sparky.
Marvel Zombies come alive after making their debut in the fifth episode of Marvel’s What If…?. The animated series from Marvel Studios reimagines the Marvel Universe as a new generation of heroes battle against an ever-spreading zombie scourge. Directed by Executive Producer Bryan Andrews and written by Executive Producer Zeb Wells
And lastly Secret Invasion which looks to be a cosmic espionage team up. absolutely loving the new logo Skrull design as it shifts between the original and new, teasing that everyone isn’t who you think they are.
The series stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull Talos—characters who first met in Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel. The crossover comic event series showcases a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls who have been infiltrating Earth for years. To end the sizzle reel we get a first look at Samuel L. Jackson returning as Nick Fury and with a new look.
Sex Education Season 3- Review
This review doesn’t contain any plot spoilers but if you want to go in totally blind, don’t read more than the first and last paragraphs!
Yesterday, Netflix dropped the trailer for the third season of its hit show Sex Education. The raunchy TV show first premiered in pandemic-less 2019, and after COVID disrupted the filming of the third season, Season 3 is finally here. And it soars. Netflix gives us more of the same in the best way possible. Check out the new trailer below.
The opening scene of the newest series sets the tone we are familiar with at Moordale; a sex-filled romp full of comedy, intimacy, and a great soundtrack! And that’s about right. The newest season is more of everything we love about Netflix’s one-of-a-kind show picks up with a time-jump, Jean is heavily pregnant (and still hasn’t told Jakob), the summer is over and it’s back to school for our impressive ensemble with the worry of university looming over everyone. After being heartbroken by Maeve ignoring his voicemail confessing his love for her, Asa Butterfield’s Otis is secretly having casual sex with one of the most popular girls in school.
Emma Mackey’s Maeve, having never heard the voicemail after Isaac (George Robinson) deleted it is focusing more on herself and her friendship with Aimee and Isaac after the devastating end of season two which saw Elsie, Maeve’s little sister, being taken into care after Maeve called the police on her mum, which has also led to Maeve being shut out completely by her mum. The two leads of the show spend a lot of the season sharing tension-filled scenes as Otis is upset with Maeve for ignoring his message, and Maeve is upset with Otis, thinking that he hasn’t spoken to her all summer, and you’re just screaming at the TV hoping Otis tells Maeve about the voicemail and when the truth finally does come out, it’s cathartic.
A big change in Season 3 is of course that, after the explosive end to the last season, Mr Groff is no longer the Headmaster at Moordale. He is unemployed and living with his brother, played by Jason Isaacs, and pretending to go to work. This obviously leaves a vacuum in Moordale which is quickly filled by new headteacher; Hope Haddon, played by Jemima Kirke. Kirke is the villain you will love to hate as she brings a totally new and incredibly strict leadership to Moordale. She really is one of the most brilliantly unlikeable villains in a long time. Hope’s main aim is to rebuild the reputation of Moordale after the events of the previous two seasons have left Moordale with the nickname “The Sex School” in the press. Hope goes above and beyond to fix this and makes more than a few enemies along the way. You will love watching and rooting for everything she does to fail!
Sex Education has always been impressive with its inclusion and this season takes a big step with the introduction of Dua Saleh’s Cal, the show’s first (though not only) openly non-binary character and so the writers must deal with what it’s like to be non-binary in school. Saleh’s performance is fantastic in this regard bringing xyr real-life experience as a non-binary person to the role. They have to deal with gendered school uniforms and being told to wear a skirt or stand in the girls’ line outside a lesson (yes, Headmistress Hope really is that contemptible), and while the writing around this sensitive topic can feel a little ham-fisted at times, it’s all well-intentioned and is handled well. Cal is strong and funny and stands up for themself and makes a great, compelling addition to the already impressive and busy cast of the show. Cal begins an unlikely friendship with Head Boy Jackson Marchetti as they both decide to take on the tyrannical new Headmistress.
My biggest issue with Sex Education, though, is Adam Groff (Connor Swindells). Specifically, his relationship with Ncuti Gatwa’s Eric. His performance is great but the ‘homophobic bully turns out to be queer’ trope is overused and harmful. It’s harmful enough on its own, but Sex Education takes it to the next level by having Eric and his bully fall in love. It’s as though Eric has Stockholm syndrome and has fallen for his abuser. And season 3 doubles down on this trope, having the two begin the series in a relationship and much more openly. Adam admits to being “a bit of a puff” in school, but still can’t tell his mother. Adam could have had a great redemption arc across the show if he’d have just realised that homophobia is bad and trying to make amends with those he has hurt rather. I also think exploring Adam’s bisexuality a little more would’ve been beneficial. It’s as though any interest he had in women in seasons 1 and 2 is totally gone here, which was a little disappointing. The writers do their best to redeem Adam and show us that he’s changed, particularly when he’s stuck next to Raheem on a coach trip to France which ends with the show trying to replicate the classic and iconic “it’s my vagina” moment from its first season, but it never quite feels like Adam deserves Eric.
All of the performances this season are brilliant. Ncuti Gatwa’s performance dealing with the complexities of his relationship with Swindells’ Adam is done very well, the two have an intimate personal relationship and Swindell does a wonderful job of opening up as Adam for us more and more each episode. As Eric Effiong, Otis’ best friend, Gatwa balances the comedy and the very serious issues perfectly in a charming performance. In one episode, Eric goes to Nigeria for a family wedding, and it is a fantastic exploration being queer and black in a religious Nigerian family in a country where it is illegal to be gay and Gatwa does it flawlessly. Mimi Keene is given much more to do as Ruby and she becomes much more than the ‘untouchable’ she has been limited to thus far. BAFTA winner Aimee Lee Wood returns as everyone’s favourite Aimee and is back to her usual charming and hilarious self, who now drives, although not very well. Butterfield and Mackey make compelling characters who are growing as people as each episode passes. While sometimes the comedy does seem a little lazier than previously; a lot seems to be relying on toilet humour and fart jokes, Sex Education still knows how to make us laugh. A lot. And I’m elated to report: there is MUCH more of Madam Groff!
So, strap in and get ready to dive into the hilarious and heart-warming world of Sex Education once more with its third season which is a conclusive hit! No show is tackling real social issues as well as this, it handles the most sensitive topics seemingly with ease. It’s a funny, NSFW, unique, inclusive look at love, sex, and being a British teenager.
Make sure to stream Sex Education, exclusively on Netflix from September 17th.
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