Month: July 2019

Review | Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home was released in theaters this past week, and so far it has been pretty well-received. Film critics and moviegoers alike have been praising the film regarding everything from its originality and ability to be a stand-alone Spidey flick, to the more-than-decent job it did at playing “cleanup” after we had our hearts torn open (again) from Avengers: Endgame. Currently, it’s sitting at a comfortable 96% fan rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and for the most part I personally agree with the overall consensus.

Also, I should say right now, SPOILERS AHEAD!

Honestly, when I walked out of the theater when the movie was over, I didn’t feel the excitement or joy that I typically feel after seeing an MCU film (especially Spider-Man). I didn’t hate it or dislike it, but I didn’t love it either. I feel like a lot of the reason I had a difficult time attaching myself emotionally to Far From Home was simply due to being a little burned out on the MCU. With Endgame just hitting so many good beats, it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that there was still one more film before the curtains close on Phase 3. However, after giving the film a few days to marinate, I’m beginning to like it more and more. So, let’s dive into a few of the film’s aspects that I thought worked well.

Playing “Cleanup” After Avengers: Endgame

It’s an incredibly tough gig for any MCU film to follow up an Avengers film, and obviously Endgame is no exception. Not only did Far From Home have to deal with the fallout and life-after-death regarding Steve, Tony, Natasha, and Vision, but it had to address one of the fattest elephants in the room: Why the fuck are Ned and Peter still in high school!?!?!?

The whole “How do they handle life after being brought back from being dusted” was maybe one of the biggest questions we as fans were left with after Endgame. We pretty much all assumed that they would use Far From Home as an opportunity to explain the logistics of everything, but it was simply a matter of “how”. I personally had an inkling that they would take the quick and dirty approach (as they did), mostly because of how they handled a certain event that took place in Spider-Man: Homecoming. If you recall the trailer, you see a bored Peter Parker in class, obviously distracted by a video on his phone, which captured the events at the airport in Civil War. The big question here was “Who TF took that video?!” To some folks, it was pretty obvious that Peter set it up, being a photographer himself. And this of course turned out to be true, and was addressed almost immediately within the first 5-10 minutes of the film. The same happened with FFH: Within the first few minutes, we learn that they now refer to the incident of half the population being dusted, then reappearing again, as “The Blip”. I was a little perplexed by how the events of “The Blip” weren’t discussed more than they were during the film, but I wasn’t too worried about that. One thing I’ve really liked about this latest incarnation of Spider-Man is it’s ability and courage to skip over unnecessary details, and trim the fat when needed. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I could handle watching uncle Ben die AGAIN.

The Action Sequences and CG

The second thing(s) I really enjoyed about FFH were all the action scenes, and the cool CG. The MCU’s tendency to overuse campy CG and green screen effects was really starting to bother me. It was getting to a point where it was taking me out of the movie, because I could just tell so easily they were on a soundstage, and not an actual location. This is something I feel FFH improves upon. Even though it uses its fair share of of CG, it’s really good in places where it is utilized. Possibly one of my favorite moments though, when it came to CG, was the scene where Peter starts designing his new suit, using the “Iron-Man-like” tools that we’ve all come to know and love. What was so great about that scene is that, not only did it look super cool, but it was a confirmation to viewers that Peter decided to step up. Not in an attempt to replace Iron Man, but to be a small part of the continuation of Stark’s legacy AS WELL AS your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Now, on to the action. I personally felt like there were a few callbacks to the PS4 Spider-Man game, especially when it came to the action sequences, and the final battle was no exception. These were a lot of fun to watch, coming from a huge fan of the video game. And of course, there were several mentions of his “Peter Tingle” throughout the movie, so when Peter finally gets his groove back and takes out all those Stark drones, it was nothing short of epic.

Of course I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t criticise the film at least a little bit. So if you didn’t find any faults in the film, maybe just skip this part.

Maybe the biggest issue I had with it was that it was missing a lot of what made the first film so great. Homecoming had a lot going for it: it was the first solo outing for our newest incarnation of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. It had a lot of charm, especially when it came to getting to know Peter’s character. However, I think the biggest gap between Homecoming and FFH has to do with each film’s respective villains. Jake Gyllenhall did a wonderful job as Quentin Beck/Mysterio, and I do not feel in any form or fashion he half-assed his performance. But damn, following Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Vulture is certainly a tough gig. Let’s just say that it’s going to be a while before I can get the scene out of my head where Keaton looks at Holland through the rear-view mirror, and says “Good ole Spider-Man!”. Gives me chills just thinking about it.

Additionally, the whole “Quentin turning out to be a bad guy because he hated Tony Stark” thing felt a little…lazy. On one hand, it was definitely neat to see the film’s writers weave into the storyline some of the old characters, as well as the Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing (or B.A.R.F.) system from Captain America: Civil War. But on the other hand, the whole thing kind of felt cheap and second-hand. We as MCU fans have experienced this thing before, where we get our bad guys from a collection of people that Tony Stark wronged once upon a time, several hundred years ago. I was never a huge comic book reader, but from what I’ve heard Mysterio’s MO is not too far off in the film from what actually occurs in the comics. In a nutshell, Mysterio loves to make himself look like the good guy, and Spider-Man look like garbage. Naturally, I understand why the writers would gravitate towards making Quentin a vengeful ex-Stark Industries employee, especially given the timing of the film. But as I said earlier, it just felt a little overused and tired.

Well, there you have it. My amazing review of Spider-Man: Far From Home; the review you didn’t ask for, nor wanted. Please don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube. And remember: Be kind, stay geeky, and eat lots of cheesecake!

Geek For Your Week | July 8, 2019

What is up, my fellow geeks? Welcome to the first week of “Geek For Your Week”! This is a brand-new weekly segment, where we discuss the happenings in the geek-media-related world during the week prior to the segment’s release. For the first couple of weeks, we’ll be releasing blog-style updates (like this one). Eventually, we’ll be moving to a recorded and live-stream version of the weekly segment. We thought it would be fun to live-stream, and get some viewer/listener participation. So if you happen to come across something in geek-media news that we should discuss during our weekly segment, please feel free to holler at us on social media, or during the live-stream!

Now, on with week 1!

The Little Mermaid Live-Action Remake

Image result for halle bailey ariel
Photo courtesy of IndieWire

Arguably the biggest in geek-media news last week was the announcement of actress Halle Bailey, slated to portray Ariel in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Now, before I get into my personal thoughts and feelings regarding this decision, and the film as a whole, let’s take two seconds to discuss the elephant in the room. Yes, there are in fact big, fat, entitled a-holes out there that believe that, scientifically, mermaids cannot be black, nor does Ariel have the right to be anything but white. Honestly, I didn’t even want to address this “issue”, because I firmly believe that talking about these people only gratifies them even further, and gives them an undeserved platform to make their silly-ass argument. But I do feel like I have to throw my two cents in: My official stance is that those people can go fuck themselves. Caucasian princesses have completely dominated the Disney canon basically since Disney was a thing. So if having a black mermaid-princess is rocking your world right now, please take a chill pill. Trust me, it’s going to be ok. Oh, and mermaid science isn’t a thing. Also, Ariel totally had a family member or friend that was black. So suck it.

Moving on…

Personally, I don’t have any issue with Disney’s choice of Halle Bailey as the new Ariel (if you couldn’t tell already from my remarks above). I am not familiar with any of her work, but I am sure she will do a fine job in her portrayal. What I do take issue with, however, is the laziness on Disney’s part, and their quest to do live-action adaptations for EVERY. SINGLE. ANIMATED. FILM. EVER. I know it can’t be that difficult to get a couple writers together, and come up with a script at least a little bit original. There’s absolutely no excuse why a company of that size, with the financial resources they have, cannot produce something that’s not a spin-off, sequel, reboot, or live-action remake.

*SIGH* I suppose that’s Hollywood for ya.

Mulan Trailer

I know, I know. Right after I went off about Disney’s never-ending mission to force us to relive our childhood through shitty remakes, I talk about the Mulan live-action trailer. Well, guess what? This is Mulan, and Mulan is fucking boss. End of story. I am so pumped for this, it’s not even funny. As I said, I know this almost completely negates my argument of there being too many remakes, but whatever.

You’ve probably already seen the trailer by now, but here, watch it again:


Stranger Things, Season 3

Image result for stranger things season 3
Photo courtesy of Ultimate Classic Rock

We’ve all been waiting for like 5 years for the 3rd season of Stranger Things to be released on Netflix. And this past week, on July 4th, our wait finally came to an end…for like a few days (for those of us that binge-watched the whole season immediately).

Also, SPOILER ALERT!!!

Overall, I am quite happy with season 3. I’m glad they decided to branch out, and do some experimenting, so the show continues to push the boundaries of…whatever you classify Stranger Things as. A horror/sci-fi/thriller/80s throw-back TV show?

Anyways, the show did a great job of holding onto the things that make it so great, but without being afraid to branch out a bit. From the very beginning, the banter between characters has been one of my favorite elements. When season one aired, the majority of the fun back-and-forth conversation took place between Dustin, Mike, and Lucas (and Will, considering his short on-screen time). But over the last two seasons, it has spread like wildfire to other characters like Nancy, Jonathan, Steve, Max, and of course El. The show is definitely beginning to hit its stride now, in terms of character development and interaction.

Another thing that has grown substantially, much to my pleasure, are the horror elements of show. With season 2, I wasn’t let down per se with the direction they went with in terms of horror, and specifically the Demo-Dogs and the Cloud-Based Mind Flayer (not the technical name, but you get it). But let’s just say it didn’t really satisfy the incredibly demented side of me, that needs to see sick shit. However, season 3 definitely upped the ante. There were TONS of oopy-goopy grossness to be seen (see exploding rats, and people turning into slime), which was a lot of fun to experience. But I think the two major MVPs in the horror department should go to Billy and the Mind Flayer. I suppose they could be considered one? Either way, both were fantastic. Dacre Montgomery (Billy) was absolutely insane in this season, and really showcased his abilities to be maniacal, sadistic, and horrific. And as I said, the Mind Flayer was pretty goddamned terrifying, with that CG being on point. I was quite curious as to what the “creature” was going to be this season, because as I stated earlier, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the Demo-Dogs from season two, or the shadowy Mind-Flayer (although the football field scene was pretty fucking dope). However, I was super pumped to see that they found a way to revive the Flayer, but in a 100% physical form that everyone in the show can experience and enjoy and shit their pants from.

I know I already spoke a bunch to the characters/actors in this season, but I want to make special mention of Maya Hawke, who plays Robin. Introducing new characters in a show with an already well-established fan base can be super risky. When done not-so-great, they can seem tacked-on, forced, or just have that “added at the last minute” feel. But none of these cases pertain to Robin. One second, she’s a Russian-language-code-hacking badass, and the next she’s spilling her heart out to Steve, via some incredibly potent truth serum/psychedelic hybrid. I am completely baffled as to how well the Duffer Brothers were able to round out her character in just the one season. Another thing I was a little concerned about was the writers relying too much on Eleven and the other kids for the dramatic, poignant moments, as per usual. And don’t get me wrong, the kids always do a fantastic job with their dramatic acting, but one can only deal with so much drama. So it was nice to get a breath of fresh air, via Robin and her eccentric, well-rounded character.

There’s WAY too much that I can say about this season of Stranger Things, but for the sake of brevity, I shall end it here. There’s a distinct possibility that a podcast episode on this season may be coming down the pike here soon, which would be a good opportunity to explore and discuss season 3 in greater detail.

Well, that about wraps up week 1 of Geek For Your Week. I know it’s a bit light, but I feel like I rambled a bit on the few topics I did discuss. If you feel like there’s anything I missed with these topics, or anything else that happened last week, please feel free to comment here or drop it in the comments section on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Thank you my nerds, and remember: Be kind, stay geeky, and eat lots of cheesecake.