Is there No Way Home, Spiderman?

What happens when an IP tries to imitate its past? The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes inspiration from the past and the future.

Phase four has driven us towards the multiverse with hiccups and missteps. Loki did it one way, Doctor Strange another. Ultimately there should be an internal logic that makes sense throughout the films. You could get into that, but it would defeat the purpose of entertainment.

So who is your favourite Live-Action Spiderman? Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire told a different story. One where every swing of the wall-crawler across New York City was the first of its kind on a large screen. Exciting, impactful and full of emotion. But after a few days of reading other people’s opinions on Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes and whatnot, I feel like people have this incredible recency bias that compels them to rate the latest adventure as the best. I feel like over time, as we move away from this initial hype, it will come down as a very derivative movie relying heavily on what came before. I mean, think about it. In terms of Peter’s story, he is often secondary to other characters on screen doing the cool stuff. First, J. Jonah Jameson reveals his identity to the world, then MIT decides to not take them in for their undergraduate programme. Then Doctor Strange casts the spell that breaks reality. Then Aunt May convinces Peter to try to cure the previous generations villains. Then previous Spider-Men take all the applause as they appear in a muddled way due to nostalgia, then Willem Dafoe stops Peter from trying to save MJ which gives Andrew Garfield some closure. The point is, what incredible thing did Tom Holland’s Peter Parker do? Nothing but be a passive protagonist.

It did feel like a fan made this film. It broke box office records, but I think it will not stay in the lexicon for any of its current moments. All the cheer and excitement was to see the previous two SpiderMen come back to dawn their costumes. Another point of frustration is that they underplay so many of the seemingly unbelievable events with a silly joke. No one would behave like that if an actual person from another universe visited.
Perhaps they don’t believe in their verisimilitude. The MCU-Sony Spiderman films have not been my favourites. That’s because I have felt the first iterations to be good enough and definitive. For example, if you admire a word, dream about how you’d feel if you too had tiny spikes in your hand that make you crawl on walls, then someone would come and say that look, that thing you loved is now something else, something new, you’d feel weirded out as well. Cinema greats like Martin Scorcese and others who have raised concerns about Marvel movies do have a point when they say that these kinds of films are not cinema. They feel like theme park rides where they don’t seem to have any relatable consequences as any threat could be CGI’d away instantly.

Their stakes don’t seem high enough for the main characters, even though the world around them is folding onto itself in the mirror dimension. With a great past comes a mediocre imitative present but a hopeful future.

Luca – Pixar Works Emotions Like An Equation

What is a sea monster? I mean, what could someone who lives underwater be a metaphor for? Luca and Alberto mention their dreams multiple times about owning a Vespa and travelling the world together. They just want to be free, or perhaps they just don’t wanna be tied down.

Luca is a sea monster who lives underwater. He does some daily chores like feeding the fish and staying out of sight of the humans. He is told the world above is a dangerous place. Yet, he is inquisitive. He just wants to glimpse the potential of a different world. Different from the daily. Different from the mundane. He finds another soul like his own, Alberto, who waits for his father to show up. But by the looks of things, he won’t show up anytime soon. Both the boys instantly hit it off. They dream alike, so they experiment with their newfound freedom together. Alberto introduces the inner critical voice that cautions them to test their limits, as Bruno. And that they must silence Bruno to do whatever it is that they want to do. 

And then we meet Guilia. And one cannot help feel the tickle of delight at the thought of another trio like Harry, Ron and Hermione interacting. Their story is delightful. And at every stage, it grows in a precisely calculated manner. It develops as if carved carefully after understanding the rules of storytelling. Perfectly times and beautifully drawn hence realised in picturesque scenes. Perhaps one flaw is the one-dimensional bully who is the obvious bad boy too old to participate in the Portorosso Cup Race. He muscles his way around the community of scared boys. And targets them to follow his plans due to fear of being punched otherwise. Besides that, there’s so much to love about Pixar’s Luca, including the always spectacular animation, charming voice cast and melodic music. 

Director Enrico Casarosa, Before joining Pixar, Casarosa worked as a storyboard artist at Blue Sky Studios on Ice Age. In 2002, Casarosa joined Pixar, where he worked as a story artist on CarsRatatouilleUp and Cars 2. It’s great to see his growth as a true artist and then allowed to helm a story from his native land. 

Venom – Why Tom Hardy?

I mean, that’s my central argument. Why cast a great physical actor like Tom Hardy for this film?

Venom is another SuperHero movie by Sony just because they own many of the Spiderman characters from Marvel. I do believe that most movies are made because they can. And in the present climate, every studio wants to be on top of the franchise game.

I remember admiring films, even really loving them. But not many of them recently have been that good or memorable. Maybe it’s me, looking from a perspective where I look through like an x-ray. I focus on the mechanics of the film rather than the emotional impressions it has. It seems to me that Tom Hardy was told this would be different. Maybe a character study. So he does give Eddie Brock a more physical presence with the subtle things he does with his shoulders. Keeping them high when Eddie Brock starts off as a superstar reporter and then this interview with a pseudo-Elon Musk like character completely turns his life upside down. That makes them limp and does enact his anxiety and panicky episodes physically.

Eddie already knows part of the rumours that surround Carlton Drake aka Riot, played by Riz Ahmed in a very exaggerated sort of way. So nothing is really a mystery in this film as the plot evolves. We can see from the first few minutes where this is going to end. And this predictability is a hindering factor.

Another argument is regarding the third act. I could not distinguish the CGI fighting in this film from flashes that came through from Black Panther. The models and lighting in the final boss fight looked so shiny and fake that I was like what is this shit? So those moments really made me want to throw up. I had such a negative response to those scenes that’s all of what I remember from the film.

Also, in comics or video games, Venom always only engaging with Spiderman in front of him to terrorize. This is specifically based in San Fransisco to stay away from Spiderman. It seeks to give Venom an arc as a protagonist while we’d rather see him get down and deceitful. The problem is that it made a total worldwide gross of $856.1 million. What’s hopeful though is that Andy Serkis is going to be directing Venom 2 with Tom Hardy returning. It will feature Woody Harelson as Carnage. Hopefully, this allows the next film to be a bit more emotionally arousing.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — In a Bad Mood

I didn’t even remember that Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst and Elijah Wood were also in this movie until I saw it again. But that’s not anyone remembers anyway. They remember the orange sweatshirt and that hair colour changing from orange to blue. What’s the shade she mentions in the train scene again? I wanted to see someone suffer, to be honest. And Jim Carrey is one of my favourite actors really, so he was the one I chose. I hadn’t seen it in a long long time so it was time to revisit it with fresh mean eyes. I don’t know why but a lot of film endings have been disappointing me recently. I can’t quite put a finger on what is it exactly. They have not been what I’ve wanted them to be. Some are maybe incomplete story arcs like Infinity War, those really piss me off. There are not supposed to be cliffhangers in a theatrical presentation. It’s not a weekly fucking soap opera. I strongly feel that movies need to have the balls to end a thought, have clarity about the destinies of its characters as a film ends even if you may go on to tell more stories in sequels but end one adventure with a satisfactory resolution. Emotional catharsis is what we look for when we invest two hours in a feature presentation, not two fucking post-credit scenes to advertise come back after a year or two to know what really happened or how it really ends. I can understand that it’s probably not a popular opinion but I don’t give a fuck. Not tonight at least.

Joel is shy, awkward and closed out. Clementine being the eccentric, impulsive orange-haired girl chooses a man like Joel because she likes the fact that he doesn’t approach her. That’s sweet and happens more often than many films like to depict. The atmosphere is cold as fuck. There is snow everywhere and people wear layers upon layers of grey overcoats which one would never consider as a setting for a romantic movie. But this is about a concept which is ‘Would you go about getting the memories of a failed relationship erased simply if you could?’ It’s a good idea which is well executed in terms of exposition by actually showing details about characters in non-linear memories. I believe most people with failed relationships would have wanted that at some point. Only if I could get back to a time when I didn’t know that person at all. Or the second best thing would be to erase them from your memory in a way that’s complete and that would help you move on in life. Of course, an impulsive girl like Clementine would go for it the instant it crosses her mind. And Of course, someone introspective and thoughtful like Joel would have second thoughts midway and would try his best to hide her in parts of his brain that no one else can access.

What does bother me at the end is that they go back in the real world as if it was a memory by taking the same shots as the beginning of the film where Joel skips his usual train to work and makes an impulsive decision to take a train to someplace new. They meet in the same way and this time they hear the worst comments about each other through tapes they recorded when they chose to undertake the procedure to get the memories erased. And still, despite knowing the eventual outcome where Joel will get bored of the sex and Clementine will start to hate herself for becoming boring chose to say “Okay” to all that. That’s the rubbish romanticism that most people relate to. I mentioned in the title “In a Bad Mood”. What would’ve been a more believable scenario is if Joel chose to go meet the erased Clementine and thank her for the memories despite the fact that it didn’t work out. Because to be honest they weren’t really good for each other if you think about it. They didn’t really respect each other based on the tapes. Romantic love can never work without respect. It’s hopeful ignorant fantasy that we wish we could live but none of us ever do successfully and for long enough to have happy memories.

Recommended track: Everybody’s got to learn sometime.

Logan — Don’t be what they made you

Logan’s shaking feet come out of a rented car from which some thieves are trying to steal the chrome plating on the tires. His beard has gone grey and his body posture is slouched. He throws himself in front of the car because he knows his body can take the bullets but he doesn’t wanna explain holes in the car. He has a limo service which he works on in order to buy medicines which keep Ex Professor Charles Xavier’s mind freezing seizures in control.

Logan has become a caretaker for a cribbing, unapologetic, cranky grandfather-figure in a rusty big iron chamber locked away from the world.

Charles remarks, “You’re waiting for me to die.”

His own eyesight has gone weak. His body feels tired and he keeps an adamantium bullet alongside in case he feels like shooting himself without healing back. A mysterious Mexican nurse wants to pay him 50k dollars in order to help her drive over to North Dakota. There is this little girl as well. Dressed in Denims, playing with a ball bouncing in the compound of a motel. Bad men want to manufacture kids without souls and train them as soldiers for war. But now have to seize this little girl and the rest of the kids who escaped with the help of the nurse.

The films taps into the essence of the best bits of Hugh Jackman’s 17 year old run as the X-Men character. The fact that he is an animal. Always has been. Prefers to work alone because he has trust issues. The people he cares about get in trouble which further reinforces his beliefs that he should be alone. That leads to a fucked up history from which you wanna run away. In the world of Logan, all the X-Men are gone. He is depressed but has the responsibility of taking care of Charles. He feels indebted to him for taking him when he was a nobody and desperately needed some guidance.

“I gave you a family.”, reminds Charles.

“They’re all gone now…”, retorts the depressed Old Man Logan.

He would have fired that bullet a long time ago had Charles been not around. So in essence this film is all about a family that you didn’t get born into but rather chose to be a part of despite the many flaws of people comprising them. While travelling to their destination, they decide to help out a family stuck on the roadside and like all elderly people who embarrass the young ones, Charles happily accepts their invitation to stay in for dinner and then the night itself. Logan’s past comes back to haunt him in the form of the lab made X-25 mutant who is his look alike but 20 years younger. His rage is designed by the bad guys.

He kills everyone in sight but Logan and Laura (his Daughter) escape. His wounds aren’t healing as quickly now and he resists to go anywhere neither can he stop because he continues to run from habit.

The X-Men comic in the film plays the role of the mythological text. Something that the inhabitants adhere to as religion and it is a matter to faith whether or not they should follow its every word or not. That’s where the location of Eden comes from. A safe haven where the new generation of mutants will be safe. Logan doesn’t believe in all this. But upon his rebellious daughters insistence, goes ahead just to prove her that he was right all along.

He is shocked to find that something like Eden even exists. Not in the pristine impossible form that the comic alluded to but something more real, grounded and very practical. The medicine that they use helps them with their powers in small doses but can also be lethal if overdosed with. When he wakes up he wishes to leave but Laura wants him around. He reasons with her and tries to explain that…

“Bad shit happens to people I care about…”, says Logan.

“Then I’ll be fine.” says his sarcastic daughter.

The film hits the right balance between reality and adventure. Decaying souls and bodies with aggregated energetic bursts. Nature and Nurture with the desire to control and manufacture products for capitalistic gains. What the world wants you to be and what you really want to be. For someone who was an outlaw all his life and hardly cared about what anyone thought of him, Logan gives a non constricting piece of advice to his daughter on his deathbed after saving her. Dont be what they made you.

Logan beautifully deconstructs the superhero genre and apart from the slightly repetitive action hits feels fresh and raw like the western ‘Shane’ which also plays in one scene of the film. This form of story has become a classic now. The retired/old war general who is called back for one last mission which involves him because something very personal is at stake. But Logan does it better than most in recent memory. It’s final act is also a testament to it’s strength as it sways away from blue laser beams pointing to the sky and instead keeps everything on the ground and under it infact.