Throwback Thursday: Venom (2018)

The antihero is an interesting character type. Though this person does eventually save the day, their motives and actions do not match what is expected of a heroic protagonist.

In the 2018 film Venom (based on the comic book character of the same name), Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is a former reporter whose career is in shambles after an interview does not go as planned. Six months later, he discovers a symbiote from outer space named Venom and becomes bonded with it. Among the things that are ruined by this new “relationship” is his attempt to get back with his ex-fiance, Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Anne was employed as a lawyer before Eddie’s mishap ended her employment and their engagement.

Before this movie, I was vaguely aware that Venom existed within the world of Spider-Man. I tried to watch it, mainly because of the lead actors. Hardy and Williams are two of the finest actors of their generation. The problem is that I was quickly bored and lost interest in the narrative.

Do I recommend it? No.

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Throwback Thursday: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

The truth about life is that it is complicated. We are often juggling multiple things at the same time, making decisions as to what is important and what can be put aside for the moment.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) is the sequel to the 2002 film, Spider-man. Since we last saw Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) has dealt with a series of personal disasters. While continuously saving the world, his grades are falling fast, he cannot keep a job and he is being attacked in the press as a criminal. On top of all that, Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is no more.

All signals are pointing to the end of his career as a superhero. Then an accident turns Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) into the villainous Doc Ock. Instead of putting his mask away for good, Peter has no choice but to do his thing and stop Doc Ock before he destroys the city.

This one is not bad. The narrative flows nicely from the previous movie, creating more trouble for our leading man. Moving from adolescence to early adulthood, Peter is learning how to keep several figurative plates spinning in the air at the same. The problem with this is that one or more of these plates will eventually fall to the ground and crack into pieces.

My problem with his movie is the usual issue. The women in this film are constrained to the love interest/damsel in distress/spouse and maternal figures, not giving them room to stand on their own two feet.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Ms. Marvel Review

*This review is solely based on the series as I have never read the original text.

For far too long, the majority of superheroes have been white and male. Thankfully, things have been changing to include women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.

Ms. Marvel premiered last Wednesday on DisneyPlus. Based on the comic book of the same name, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is a Pakistani-American teenager who is going through the same growing pains that we all went through at that age. Her parents are overprotective, she is unpopular at school, and desperately wants to spread her wings. She is also also a Captain Marvel Superfan.

Living in Jersey City, New Jersey, Kamala is torn between her own needs and being true to the family /faith that she was raised in. When she unexpectedly gains superpowers, she must use them to save the world.

Like Peter Parker before her, it is her ordinary ness that makes her stand out. What I have watched so far, I like immensely. As the child of immigrants, she speaks to and represents the mindset of many children and grandchildren who chose to leave the land in which they were born and make a new life in the US. I love that she is a nerd and proud of it. I love her imagination and I love her spirit.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New episodes of Ms. Marvel are released every Wednesday on DisneyPlus.

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Throwback Thursday- Superhero Double Feature- Spider-man (2002) & Ghost Rider 2007)

Every ten to fifteen years or so, Hollywood dips into its vault and releases new adaptations of films or television shows that have long since left the big or small screen. The superhero genre is no different.

In this post, I’m going to talk about two 2000’s superhero movies and why they either worked or didn’t work.

The first movie is Spider-man (2002). Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is your average academically overachieving, socially underachieving high school student. He has a crush on Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the girl next door. But she does not see him. When Peter is bitten by a genetically modified spider, he becomes Spiderman and must learn the lesson that every Spiderman fan knows: “with great power, comes great responsibility”. Can Peter, with his new power, find the man who killed his uncle and prevent an eccentric billionaire from terrorizing the city?

I’m not normally a fan of the genre, but I liked this movie. Every character is well cast and fits well into the Spiderman universe. Unlike his superhero brothers in arms (Batman, Superman, etc), Spiderman is the boy next door/average Joe/underdog. He does not have the fortune that Bruce Wayne has, nor does he have the extraterrestrial powers that Superman possesses. Rather, he uses his intelligence to fight and create the persona that is Spiderman.

The second movie is Ghost Rider (2007).

When Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) finds out that his father is dying from cancer, he makes a deal to save his father. Johnny will give up his soul to prevent his father from dying. The deal is soon made with Mephistopheles and broken when his father dies in a motorcycle accident. Heartbroken, Johnny walks away from everything and everyone, including his girlfriend, Roxanne (Eva Mendes).  Years pass and Johnny becomes a famous motorcyclist. He runs into Roxanne, who works as a TV reporter. But Mephistopheles is not done with Johnny. If Johnny is willing to become the “Ghost Rider” and defeat  Mephistopheles’s evil son Blackheart (Wes Bentley), then Johnny will be free of the contract he signed years ago.

What can I say about this movie? It’s not good. Nicolas Cage has not made a decent movie in years. The poster, especially the depiction of Ghost Rider carrying who the audience might perceive to be an unconscious Roxanne is not taken from any specific scene. Riding on the coattails of its fellow superhero movies, this film and its sequel (which is just as bad) just does nothing for me as a filmgoer.

Do I recommend them? Yes and no. I do recommend Spiderman, but not Ghost Rider

Tough

With great power comes great responsibility.-Peter Parker, Spider-man

Fame is something that many aspire to gain. But fame also has its downsides.

It doesn’t matter if someone’s fame comes from the stage, the screen, or the sports arena, they are still famous. They still have millions of people who admire their work and their person.

No one is perfect, well have our faults, but when you are famous, everything is magnified.

The Ray Rice scandal has recently brought up questions about the personal lives of the NFL players off the field. If a player does something we think is morally wrong, is he to be punished a mere slap on the wrist or does he forfeit his career?

Hannah Storm, of Sports Center fame, tells an emotional story. Watching the media coverage with her daughters, Ms. Storm was forced to answer a series of tough questions asked her daughters about the scandal.

As a parent, how does one answer those questions? How does one explain to children of both sexes that Mr. Rice’s actions are wrong? ¬†What does a parent say when a young girl sees an abused wife stay with her husband? How does that parent tell their son that hitting a woman is wrong and on the flip side, how does that parent tell their daughter that if she is in that situation one day, she should leave? How is it be explained to these children that NFL did not fire Mr. Rice right away?

It’s a tough question that I do not know how to answer.

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