Movie Review- Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It is co=produced by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios and released by Sony Pictures.  It is the second reboot of the Spiderman franchise which started 16 years ago with Tobey McGuire.  It is a collaboration between Sony Pictures (which wns the movie rights to Spider-Man) and Marvel Studios (which is owned by Disney.)  It stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favereau, Robert Downey Jr and Marissa Tomei

The movie opens up with a salvage crew, rum by Adrian Tooms (Keaton) collecting alien tech in the aftermath of the the climatic events of The Avengers.  When they are forced to halt operations  by a government organisation called Damage Control, Toombs and his crew find themselves out of work and broke.  Using some of the tech that they previously acquired, they decide to keep collecting the tech and make money developing and selling weapons.

Fast forward eight(!) years and we meet Peter Parker, fresh from events in Captain America: Civil War.  Using the new suit from Tony Stark, he patrols Queens, New York, stopping low level crime while waiting for the call to join the Avengers.  Meanwhile, he has to deal with school, friends like Ned Leeds, classmates and his over-protective (and uncharacteristically attractive) Aunt May (Marissa Tomei).

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Spider-Man (Tom Holland) pulls it together.

In the usual Spidey fashion, things start to turns south.  Tooms gang has been selling advanced weapons to street gangs and criminals.  Once Spider-Man interferes with a buy, he gets noticed by Tooms , who has got a powerful flying jetpack which makes him look like a vulture (so, lets call him Vulture).  Spidey fights the Vulture and comes up short, prompting a warning from Tony Start to let the adult heroes handle it.  But he persists and ends up failing and losing Stark’s trust and the suit.  But the Vulture is still out there and Spider-Man has to try to stop him, using only his powers, his wits and his home-made suit.

Spider-Man was a nice surprise addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he appeared in the last Captain America movie.  Fans wanted to see the character in the proper movie universe, so the announcement of a partnership between Sony and Disney/Marvel Studios was met positively, though there was concerns.  People did not want another origin story and we already has a Spidey reboot in 2011.  I am sure some were surprised when it was announced that Tom Holland would take the role from Andrew Garfield.

But Holland fills the role nicely.  He is sufficiently geeky like Peter in the early comics but not as much as Tobey Maguire..  He is wiry and not too buff, but he looks the part.  His Spider-Man acts much like any 15 year-old with superpowers and an overly developed sense of responsibility would act.  He seems to have fun in the role and embodies the character nicely.

The rest of the cast is good too.  Peter’s friends at school, Ned, Liz and Michelle, act like movie school kids act and provide some lighter, down to earth scenes for Peter.  Flash Thompson is changed from a athletic sometime bully to a spoiled rich kid who looks down on Peter.  There is also the adults, with Happy Hogan acting like aa uninterested intermediary between Peter and Tony Stark, who is trying to encourage peter to be better than him.  Then, there is Marrisa Tomei’s Aunt May, which is the most attractive portrayal of Peters doting aunt EVER.  She acts as Peter’s grounding rod, reminding him to act like a normal teenager, blissfully unaware of his double life.  But the film does not hide the fact that she is attractive, with several characters, including Tony Stark, commenting on it.  But let’s be honest:  who wouldn’t stay for breakfast if she’d make you wheat cakes?

Sorry.  Old joke.

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Your Aunt’s hot, Peter. Keep her away from mad scientist with robotic tentacle arms.

But the standout character is The Vulture.  Keaton plays him as a blue collar person.  He works hard for his success and hates it when the rich and powerful steal opportunities from him.  His actions may not be relatable but his motives are:  it’s family.  That gives him a certain likability as a villain.

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Michael Keaton: From Batman to Birdman to Vulture

Overall, this was a good movie.  I am not a big fan of Spider-Man in his high-school days, but this was a good adaptation of it.  The filmmakers were smart enough to realize we did not need a origin rehash so soon after the last one.  The smaller scale of this adventure, as compared to the other MCU movies is good too.  It sets up this new version nicely and hopefully will lead to more movies in this franchise.  Just avoid anything like the dancing Peter from Spider-Man 3.

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Peter loves to eat Aunt May’s Wheat cakes

4/5

 

Subscription Box Review- Marvel Collectors Corps Spider-Man Box

I got an surprise email from the fine folks at Smuggler’s Bounty a few week back.  It said that, due to my loyalty and sticking with the sub for over a year, they were going to send me a box from one of the other Funko subscriptions for free.  My first thought was, “Yeah, I like free.” but them it turned to “Oh I hope is isn’t one of the DC boxes I already have.!”  But I lucked out and got one from their other superhero subscription box, the Marvel Collector’s Corp.  I received the Spider-Man box from last August (didn’t think they send me the latest box, anyways), which came last week.  Let us take a look at the contents.

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The mailer box is a brown box with the Marvel Collector Corps logo and the month’s theme clearly labelled on it.  You get a picture of Spider-Man’s mask on top in full colour.  The box is nicer than the DC Legion of Collector’s box in that regard.

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Opening the box, we see the patch and pin for the month.  No surprise the patch has Spidey’s face and the pin is of his spider symbol.  They both look nice and is what we have come to expect from Funko.

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Underneath that flap we get to the rest of the goodies.  First is this comic, a reprint of The Amazing Spider-Man (the latest run, cover dated October 2016, so released in July 16) and is the prologue of the Dead No More story line which they bring back…dead characters.  That happens a lot in Spider-Man books, in particular.  I still think it was cheap for them to bring back Aunt May all those years ago (let her and her wheat cakes rest in peace!)  If you don’t follow Spider-Man or haven’t check in in a while, you may be lost (yes, May married J. Jonah Jameson’s father so he and Pete are step-brothers and Peter’s is like Tony Stark rich) so good luck to you.

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Next is another of Funko’s Pop! Tops.  This grey and blue baseball cap features a Funko-ized Spider-Man logo.  It is adjustable so it should fit up to the most massive of heads.  The underneath of the visor even has a pattern of Marvel and Pop! logos on a red background.

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Next we get a Funko Frabrikations.  These dolls are done in the Pop style with the large heads and small bodies.  The head can rotate and the bottom of the feet are flat so they can stand up unassisted.  They are made pretty sturdy, too.  They are a bit large, so they would tower over your pops.

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Finally we get to the Pop!, which is. surprise surprise, of Spider-Man.  Forgoing the typical Pop! pose, Spidey is posed as he is jumping, ready to spin a web.  He has a clear stand that attacks to his back to keep in up.  He is also a bobble head.

There you have it.  I like all of the Funko boxes that I have got and the Marvel one is just as great.  I am trying to spend less lately, though I probably won’t be getting another sub ( I have a hard enough time letting one of my other subs go!).  But I would wholeheartedly recommend this subscription to Marvel and pop vinyl fans.

The next Marvel Collector Corp box will ship in February 2017.  The new theme will be Super Hero Showdown.  You can subscribe by going to https://www.collectorcorps.com/ .  The deadline is 15 Feb 17.  Subscribers can order any of the previous boxes, but supplies are limited.  I hope you enjoy this review.

PS Vita Review- Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes

(Note: This review is my opinion only and is not a paid review.  All pictures are taken with my PS Vita and/or my PlayStation TV)

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Black Widow from the Avengers

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes is an open world/sandbox action-adventure game developed with Avalanche Studios and published by Disney Interactive.  It is a sequel to the original Disney Infinity game. The game is available on multiple platforms  including PC and iOS devices.  Like the original, it required the purchase of figurines and “Play Sets” to gain more characters and levels.  This review is for the PlayStation Vita version that was released on 9 May 2015.  This game is PlayStation TV compatible.

The Disney Infinity series is similar to games such as Skylanders at it used collectible figurines to add characters to the game.  Using n Infinity base, you would put the character on it to bring them into the game.  The figurine also tracks the characters stats and level and lets you carry it over to newer versions of the game or into other people’s games.

Sorcerers Apprentice  Mickey (from the first game) can be used in the Toybox
Sorcerers Apprentice Mickey (from the first game) can be used in the Toybox

Unlike Skylanders, there is no core game.  Instead, there are Playsets, which are centered around certain groups of characters (Avengers, Spider-Man and characters from the Spider-Man Unlimited cartoon and Guardians of the Galaxy.)  Only certain figures will work with those levels, though some cam be added by collection cross-over tokens within the playset.   The Playsets from the first game do not work in this game There are also discs called Toybox Games available which have mini games you can play, though only Marvel characters can play in the Marvel levels.

Black Widow in the Avengers Playset
Black Widow in the Avengers Playset
Hulk can play in the Spiderman playset if you collect his cross-over coins.  Yes, he is driving a car.
Hulk can play in the Spiderman playset if you collect his cross-over coins. Yes, he is driving a car.
Gamora in the Asgard Toy Box
Gamora in the Asgard Toybox Game

The other mode is the Toybox, a sandbox game in which you can build and share your own levels..  Using set pieces unlocked in the game or imported through certain hexagonal power discs, you can create your own level and use any Disney Infinity figure from either game.  You can upload your own levels to the Disney Infinity server or download one of the millions available.  The best part is that if you created a level in the first game or on a different system and uploaded it, you can download it on the PS Vita  (or any) version.

The Toybox offers infinite replay value
The Toybox offers infinite replay value

The PS Vita starter set comes with the game, the Spider-Man Playset, an Infinity Base and a special black-suited Spider-Man  The figurine is the  same as the first – figure, except painted to look like he is sporting the black suit he got in the mid 1980’s.  In the game, he is also dressed in black with no differences to his abilities than the red and blue Spidey.  He even shows up in your Infinity Collection (which tracks what figures you’ve used) as the regular Spider-Man.

The PS Vita Starter Set (minus the game)
The PS Vita Starter Set (minus the game)

Now the Infinity Base for the PS Vita version is unique for two reasons.  First is that there is only room for one figure and play set piece.  This is no surprise as only one person can play it on the Vita at a time.  The second unique thing is that the base is wireless.  Since there is no USB plug on the Vita, the base uses Bluetooth to connect with the handheld.  The base is rechargeable and comes with a USB cable to connect to a computer.

Gameplay-wise, the Vita version is the same as the console ones.  It uses the same figures and playsets as the console version.  The graphics  are not as great as on the PS4, but are fine for the PS Vita (though it is more noticeable playing it on the PS TV.)  Some levels with a large amount of enemies may cause a bit of slow down but  game remains playable.

If I have one problem with this version (and I do) it is that for a game on a portable system, it isn’t very portable.  In order the play the game, you must have the base connected via Bluetooth.  This  can drain your Vita’s power very quickly. especially if you have Wi-Fi on as well.  If you were able to load a character and playset up on the base and them save it on the system, you could turn off the base and take the game like most for the system.  Even if you could only enter the pin from the character pack any play in the ToyBox (like on iOS) you could take the game without the base.  This is not a game that you can take with you easily.

Disney Characters are available too.  Too bad there is no Howard to go with Donald
Disney Characters are available too. Too bad there is no Howard to go with Donald

Overall, the PS Vita version of Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes is just as much fun as the home console version.  I always like to see the Vita get more game as there seems to be less and less at the stores.  Unfortunately I don’t think that the next Infinity game will make it to the Vita, which is sad because STAR WARS!  If you have any of the home console versions already, there is not real reason to buy this one, unless you must have a black-suited Spider-Man.  If the PS Vita is the only system you got, get it.  If you are going somewhere and plan to use your PlayStation TV and some figures and playsets, it would be great.  As a game for a handheld system, though, it is not very portable.

Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes can be bought online in Canada from EB Games for $59.99.  Some physical stores might have copies available.  See your nearest EB Games for details.

3.5/ 5

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