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Spider-Man: Homecoming – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  July 7, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  2 hour 13 minutes
After Credit Scene:  YES (and during credits)
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  9 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Spider-Man Homecoming is the movie of the summer and my favorite film of the year.  It will take a lot to knock this one from the top of my list.  If you saw Captain America: Civil War then you already have an introduction into who Peter Parker and Spider-Man is.  Every actor pulls his or her weight in this film.  Ver pleasantly surprised how characters were used and few I wasn’t expecting were revealed.  Tom Holland and Michael Keaton had such great chemistry with their characters.  Holland is Parker and Keaton is Vulture.  It all works and works well.  Marvel Studios has done it again!

What works:  We didn’t need an origin story and we didn’t get one.  EXCELLENT!  The movie is very well written and met all my expectations of the film.  It is funny where you expect it to be without going overboard.  There is enough action to see Spider-Man spinning webs and jumping around.  The casting was excellent.  Even the supporting cast is loaded with names/faces we know and what a great job they did.  The story takes some unexpected chances that I’m not certain how people will feel, but I like their decisions because they are trying to make Parker/Spider-Man relevant in 2017.  Although the movie felt a little long, I’m fine with it because they gave us a very good Parker.

What doesn’t work:  I’m not so certain that kids today in high school are listening to 80’s bands.  I was expecting a bit more contemporary music; however, I’ll take my 80’s where I can get it.  Although I listed this as a “what works,” taking chances on some of who the characters are is so risky.  I may not mind, but purists may take a step back.  Without spoiling anything, there are a few moments in the trailers that would have been better if kept for the movie only.  It would have had a better impact.

I think most people who see this film will leave feeling happy with what they saw.  Be sure to stay to the end of the credits as there is an after-credit scene worth seeing.  Small little spoiler here, there is no Venom and no mention of Venom in the film.  Good, no need for us to rush things with Spider-Man even though I’m aware that Venom is a Sony property, not Marvel.

My viewing was not in 3D nor IMAX, but I can only imagine how spectacular and amazing it must be (ya, I couldn’t resist).

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Spider-Man: Homecoming a 9.  It is worth seeing in the theater and a popcorn combo.  I look forward to seeing it again very soon.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

spiderman poster

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The Female Perspective: Character Drama In Adaptations

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


This week there have been a few bits of information regarding the re-casting of comic book characters. One is that the new female Iron Man will be called Ironheart and the other is that Zendaya will supposedly be playing Mary Jane in Spiderman: Homecoming. In all honestly, I am not overly concerned with the re-casting of characters in terms of race of sex. If they can portray or tell good story, then their skin color and sex shouldn’t matter one bit.

The sad thing is, it seems to matter to quite a few people, I’m sorry, trolls.

When I was checking out the story about Zendaya playing Mary Jane the comments that ran along with the story were what interested me more than the actual story (I really have no clue who Zendaya is, nor do I care to find out and I am not a Spiderman fan in the least). The fact is that Zendaya is the daughter of an African-American father and a white mother, and she is playing a character that has always been portrayed as pale skinned with red hair. So you can imagine the derogatory comments and accusations of racism that have abounded alongside the announcement, many of them I cannot print here.

Where it gets murky is when people start covering their racism by saying they want these characters to be “portrayed in their true form” on screen.

Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart leaves you realizing that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.
Food For Thought: Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart you realize that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.

Is that racism masquerading as fandom or is it just simple fandom? It’s a question I don’t know the answer to and honestly, in the current cultural climate, I think casting a woman of mixed race as a character who is known to be pale skinned with red hair is perfectly fine. What matters in the end is the performance,  not the skin color.

Where I get annoyed (and hang in here with me, it gets confusing) is when those same people that got mad over changing Mary Jane, then get mad when others get mad over white people playing Egyptian or Asian roles. I’ve seen those same people who pitched a fit over Mary Jane go on and on about how race doesn’t matter. Argh! Pick a side of the debate and stick to it people!

Where is the line where it becomes okay to hate on casting because of skin color or sex? The answer to that one is it’s never okay, but in a world constantly on edge, it’s very difficult to say or do the right thing, no matter what side of the debate you’re on.

I’m not a racist fanboy, but I want to see a white Mary Jane, like comic books, the same happen[ed] in The Flash (Iris West) and Supergirl (James Olsen). What happens if there was the other way? If they put a white Black Panther?

Junior Sara on Facebook

When you have to start a comment with “I’m not racist”, then you need to stop typing or speaking right away because the chances of you saying something intelligent after are pretty much zero. The fact is this (poorly worded) comment stuck out to me (among others I cannot put in this blog) because this is really comparing apples to oranges. The character of Mary Jane is not rooted in her cultural identity, Black Panther is. He is the leader of an African tribe, he is the first black superhero–changing him from African-American to white would be a comic book catastrophe, not to mention hugely insulting to the characters legacy and backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it, while I am a fan of comics, I love books even more and when I see a movie based on a beloved book, I want the characters to make sense. I want to see the character I always imagined on screen, but the simple fact is, the people making the movie are not seeing the same thing I am!  A recent example of that is Idris Elba being cast as The Gunslinger in the upcoming gunslinger movie. I was PSYCHED they picked Elba, but many, MANY people were upset. They had always seen Roland as a white man, a Clint Eastwood type, and if this movie was being made 30-40 years ago, yeah Eastwood would be great. But it’s not being made in the long ago, and honestly I think that Elba will do a phenomenal job at it. He has that broody, quiet thing down pat and it’s going to be a blast seeing him on screen playing one of Stephen King’s best characters. In the end for me it comes down to character portrayal, writing and directing. I do not care one whit what color or sex they are.

Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!
Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!

The fact is, what I see time and time again online is people that are unhappy. People who don’t have the faintest idea what it takes to make a movie, especially one that they are adapting from beloved source material. Same thing with comics, when writers and artists and studios want to revamp a character (Like making Thor into a female) it throws people off, we are creatures of habit (and some of us are racist, sexist jerk-heads) and as many have stated, we want to see the characters we loved stay the same, to be on screen looking the same as the writer described.

As a writer, I can think of nothing more exciting then having one of my books made into a movie. I also know that I would really want nothing to do with it because I would become endlessly frustrated. I have a vision for my characters and story that someone else might not have. I am also completely unbiased and would not be able to make the hard choices of what gets cut and doesn’t get cut. That being said, would I care if they changed the ethnicity of a character or turned a she into a he or a he into a she? If it served the story, I wouldn’t care one bit.

Art is a fluid, always moving aesthetic. One person’s vision is not the same as another persons. We have to learn to not get stuck in the rut of expectation. Instead we can feel shocked, dismayed or disappointed (I felt all those things when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, but you  know what? He did a killer job) and then we have to move the heck on because guess what folks? It’s only a movie. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it, don’t buy it, don’t read about it. Just live your life as if this stuff doesn’t really matter because it really doesn’t. Enjoy the parts of an artistic vision that you can, be wowed by it, love it and let that be enough. For the stuff that annoys or disappoints, let it go. That won’t help with the racist trolls, but it will help us all get a little less tied up in thinking a character has to look a certain way, because these characters were created out of thin air and therefore, they can look pretty much any way they want.

Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie...
Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie…

What do you think? Are studios using too much “artistic vision” in their character changes? What casting/comic character change has irked you the most or made you the most happy? Sound off in the comments!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 2/3/2016

The Top of the Pile: Vision #4

 

v4

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Tom King

Art: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Just as everything is coming together, everything goes to hell. After finally finding love for The Vision, Virginia must respond to the one person who threatens that love – and her response will shock the Marvel Universe. A not-to-be-missed ending that builds to next issue’s breathtaking climax.

The Vision has been one of Marvel’s most popular super heroes, and like other A-listers from the Silver Age, he is burdened with a complicated history and convoluted cannon. This latest Vision series gets back to the core of who or what the Vision is, a cybernetic super-weapon turned hero who wants to live like a normal person. Tom King’s Vision literally builds himself a family and attempts to settle them down in the peace and quiet of suburbia, but inevitably trouble comes knocking at their door. Now we find out how far the Visions will go to protect their family. A dark and fascinating, suburban horror story, Visions feels like the most all-new, all different series from Marvel’s relaunch.

 

The Mainstream One: Invincible Iron Man #6

 

IIM6

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Brian Bendis

Art: Mike Deodato

‘THE WAR MACHINES’ STARTS NOW! Something is not right in the house of Stark, and Tony must delve into the nooks and crannies of his international organization to find out what. Plus: The first big clues of major things to come in the Marvel Universe! 

Marvel’s teasing their next big event and it seems like it will involve Iron Man and what sounds like a whole squad of Iron Men and Women. MJ officially joined Team Tony last issue and I’m keeping a close eye on that situation. If you remember back in September when Secret Wars Renew Your Vows #5 came out, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the appearance of a certain someone wearing certain armor. The hype quickly died down once readers found out that Renew Your Vows was not carrying over post relaunch, but maybe Marvel was playing the long game. Spider-Gwen and Gwenpool were surprise hits, could Iron Jane be next?

 

The Indie One: Paper Girls #5

 

pg5

Publisher: Image

Words: Brian K. Vaughan

Art: Cliff Chang

The first arc of the smash-hit ongoing series concludes with major revelations and another game-changing cliffhanger. MAJOR PLOT POINT Lots of answers to our major mysteries in this issue, as well as a final page that will completely transform the book’s status quo before our series’s first regularly planned hiatus.

This series has been so much fun. Paper Girls has been everything I wanted and nothing that I expected. It’s been one surprise after another. Asides from the crazy, scifi elements, the best thing about Paper Girls is how it honestly captures, for me, what growing up as a child in the 80’s felt like without falling back on tired cliches. There was a multi-page spread in issue #4 where we witness one of the girls, Tiffany,  as her life flashes before her eyes, and it’s just scenes of her on the couch playing Breakout on the Nintendo. I have absolutely no idea how Vaughan plans on topping last month’s cliff-hanger, but I’ll be there when he does.

 

The #1 One: Spider-man #1

 

SM1

Publisher: Marvel

Words: Brian Bendis

Art: Sarah Pichelli

Miles Morales has been doing the super hero thing for a while, now, but after SECRET WARS, he’ll be a full-fledged member of the Marvel Universe. Swinging next to The Invincible Iron Man, The Mighty Thor and the All-New Captain America as a card-carrying member of the Avengers is an adventure, but it’s not all fun and games for New York City’s main Spider-MAN! What happened in the eight month gap? It all starts in SPIDER-MAN #1!

Miles makes his triumphant entrance in the Marvel Prime universe and he’s landed the full-time Spider-man gig. Spider-man was originally a story that was painted with teenage angst. Peter Parker was a kid who got picked on by bullies, was awkward around girls and had everyday problems that all ages could relate to. But he grew up, graduated high school and then college, made a career as a photographer at the Bugle, married MJ then made a deal with the devil to erase his marriage to MJ, and rose to CEO of the multinational Parker Industries. We’ve witnessed a huge evolution in Peter Parker’s character and those just aren’t the kind of plot lines that will hold a teenage audience. Enter Miles Morales with his trusty sidekick Ganke Lee and we’re back in New York’s high school system. Another Marvel series, returning to its core.

The One I’m Buying For the Cover: Detective Comics #49 (Neal Adams variant)

 

DC49

Publisher: DC

Words: Peter J. Tomasi

Art: Fernando Pasarin

Caught up in an cold case from his days on the force, James Gordon grapples with the new freedom he has as Batman to investigate the crimes of Gotham City?and the slippery slope that this freedom can be. Does the system he’s believed in all this time still work? Or is it the only thing he has left to hold on to?

I give DC a lot of credit for their variant incentive program. Their themed variant months have been great. The Harley and Joker months produced some memorable covers, I loved the entire set of Looney Tunes covers, Harley’s Black Books make me feel like Charlie Bucket every time I crack open one of their polybags, and I’ve recently spent hours creating masterpieces out of their adult coloring book covers. These themed variants are fun, they look great, and most importantly they are cover-price.

For the month of February, DC pays homage to the legendary Neal Adams by publishing 25 variant covers drawn by Neal Adams. This month’s variant covers revisit and re-imagine some of the most famous and recognizable covers originally drawn by Adams. The Detective Comics #49 variant is a swipe of the cover to Batman #227, which itself is a swipe of 1939’s Detective Comics #31 drawn by Batman creator Bob Kane.

BM227

 

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 10/7/2015

Welcome back for another piece from the Crank File. It’s the first week of October and that can only mean one thing, it’s Monster Week ladies and gentlemen. So we’ll dispense with the pleasantries and get right down to business.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

The Top of the Pile: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 IDW

 

TMNT50

The epic conclusion to over four-years worth of storylines! The Turtles stand against Shredder for one final battle that will determine the fate of NYC, and the world, for years to come. Co-creator Kevin Eastman’s current Turtles run at IDW has reinvigorated the series and will surely go down as a classic. Turtle power!

 

 

The Mainstream One: Secret Wars #6 Marvel

 

SW6

THE FINAL WAR! Secret Wars finally arrives and I’m a little concerned about how the final 3 issues will play out. The conclusion to Secret Wars kept getting delayed month after month and Marvel couldn’t delay launching their All-New, All-Different Universe. Will the ending to Secret Wars be altered in order to coordinate with Marvel’s company-wide reboot? With how strong the first five issues have been, it would be disappointing if compromises were made with the storytelling for the sake of scheduling. Six variant covers to choose from here but why eat hamburger when you can have steak. Alex Ross is the man!

 

 

The Indie One: Space Riders #4 Black Mask

 

SR4

The most insane comic in the universe returns. This series was solicited as a four issues mini-series and there hasn’t been any news about a second series, so this could be the end. I sure hope not, Space Riders absolutely hooked me with its psychedelic art, sci-fi stylings and general badassery.  The Space Riders have fought space Vikings, survived a vortex of madness, were captured by robot armies, and bore witness to the mind melting majesty of the space gods. Now they must battle new and old enemies united against them. Buckle in for the insane conclusion of “This Vengeful Universe!”

 

 

The #1 One(s): Paper Girls, Batman and Robin Eternal, Amazing Spiderman, Contest of Champions, Doctor Strange, Invincible Iron Man, Jughead

 

PG1BR1ASM1CoCSY1DS1IM!J1

It’s not called Monster Week for nothing. And each one of those Marvel #1’s will have 10-20 variant covers. Thank you Paper Girls for having the decency to release with just one cover. With so many essential #1 issues coming out from Marvel, I wish they had released their Star Wars books, Star Wars #10 and Lando #5, last week when there wasn’t much besides Sandman and DC annuals on the racks. Oh yeah, and there’s an Avengers #0 preview out as well. Dammit Marvel, just shut up and take my money.

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Detective Comics #45 Monster Variant

 

DK45

This terrifying Bat-ghoul cover brought to you by the brilliant Bill Sienkiewicz. This man’s covers are pee-your-pants scary.

 

Carpe Comics!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 9/9/2015

What’s up everyone. It was a short week down at the Crank File with a busy Labor Day weekend and my second fantasy football draft last night. And while the King Slayers are well prepared to defend their title as champions of the Black Rose Bowl, I didn’t have much time to recap last week’s headlines from the comic world. If you thought it felt warmer this weekend, you were not alone because the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s future just got a little sunnier. Click and rejoice.

 

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

 

The Top of the Pile – Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1 Marvel

 

SWSE1

 

The new Star Wars mini-series from Marvel bridges the gap between Star Wars’ past and future. Taking place after the Return of the Jedi and building up to December’s The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Shattered Empire is written by the amazing Greg Rucka and has a fantastic variant cover from Marco Checchetto. And it’s canonical. Chewie, we’re home!

 

 

The Main Stream One – Renew Your Vows #5 Marvel

 

SWRYV5

 

I’ve been reading Secret Wars Renew Your Vows and I honestly don’t understand the hype surrounding issue #5. There’s a lot of chatter around the comic book forums about the upcoming issue. It will be released with a bunch of variants and apparently Marvel has been encouraging retailers to increase their orders for the final issue of Renew Your Vows, so is something big about to happen here?

 

 

The Indie One – Head Lopper #1 Image

 

HL1

 

Massachusetts’s own Andrew MacLean brings his independently published and critically acclaimed Head Lopper to Image Comics. The dark humored, quarterly adventure begins with a double-sized first issue, with eighty pages of story and a premium pin-up gallery for the regular price of just $5.99. Love the artwork in this series.

 

 

The #1 One – Faster Than Light #1 Image

 

FTL1

 

Humans discover a code that unlocks FTL travel, opening up the universe to mankind. And of course there is an obligatory, horrifying secret that threatens to destroy us all. The premise is meat and potatoes sci-fi and Brian Haberlin’s art is gorgeous. But it’s the augmented reality gimmick that’s selling me on this new Image series. The app is free and the cover price is just $2.99.

 

 

The One I’m Buying for the Cover – Batman #44 DC

 

BM44

 

Batman #44 reveals the origin of the creeptastic Mr. Bloom. A striking regular cover by Jock features the stark silhouette of the classic Dark Knight on a white background. Although I’m still enjoying Bat-Gordon and his gundam suit, I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer for Bruce to come out of the light and retreat back into shadows.

 

 

The Speculation One – Action Comics #44

 

AC44

 

The Truth arc reaches its finale and Superman learns the source of the Shadow Warriors. Could be the introduction of a new villainess.

Carpe Comics!