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Tag: action

A MOVIE A DAY #3 – Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

I love Marvel. I always have. I’m a huge fan of the comics, of the films, of the TV series and the merchandise, going all the way back to a childhood obsession with X-Men, Daredevil and the underrated 1986 cinematic masterpiece that is Howard the Duck. Usually, I am in the cinema on opening day, or at least in opening week, of each new MCU or Sony release (or, as here, a combination of the two), but in the case of this one, I just couldn’t.

It was the end of Spider-Man: Far from Home that did this to me. I just hate a falsely accused storyline, and there is nothing more false than the accusation, made by the petty and mean-spirited Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhall), that it was Peter Parker (Tom Holland) who unleashed drone weapons on London and not, y’know, Mysterio himself. Then, the villain made things even worse by revealing Peter’s secret identity to the world, and I just—suffice it to say, this was not a story I was eager to see play out.

When I tell you that I paused this movie a good seventeen times in its first twenty minutes, in order to manage my emotions and prepare myself for yet more unfairness, believe that I am possibly underestimating the figure here. But once I allowed the movie to get going, I was entirely hooked, even though MAN Peter Parker is stupid here. Sure, he’s a teenager, but he’s supposed to be a genius – why do they have him making so many idiotic decisions?

The cameos are fun, and I liked the use of the multiverse here much better than I did in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (though not as much as I liked it in 2018’s animated classic, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). Unfortunately, I was spoiled about the presence of previous Spider-Men in the film, but I had managed to avoid mention of all of the other former Spiderverse appearances (not to mention Matt Murdock!), and I loved all of them. There are some particularly engaging conversations between all three Spider-Men that really make the film feel really special (both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield are compelling, but Maguire’s oddly natural delivery is just excellent) and I loved the many, many Easter eggs throughout, both subtle and overt. (Even one to the aforementioned animated classic!) MCU Spidey’s closest confidantes, Ned (Jacob Batalon) and MJ (Zendaya), bring some enjoyable humour as well, and Dr. Strange – well, he’s there, and he’s kind of cool, but he does not take enough responsibility for his part in the film’s tragic events, to my mind.

For some reason, I decided to watch the 11-minute longer “Extended Edition” of this Spider-Man outing, despite my reservations about the plotline, and I am not sure which deleted scenes made it into this one, but none of them seem out of place or redundant. There is, of course, the expected climactic battle scene but, for me, it actually didn’t go on too long – rare, in any comic book or similar action film; they really love a lengthy and violent set piece to wrap things up, don’t they? – and even though I didn’t love the ending, I get why it had to happen, and I find I am not as reluctant to see the next MCU-sanctioned Sony Spider-Man movie (which will apparently not be out until at least 2024) as I was with this one.

In fact, I will probably be there opening day.

And now I kind of wish I had been with this one, too.


Based on the Marvel superhero Spider-Man, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Written by: Chris McKenna
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, Jon Favreau, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Benedict Wong, Thomas Haden-Church, Marisa Tomei


READING THE TBR, DAY 31: Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle (1910) by Victor Appleton

Years ago, at a flea market in New York, I happened upon five gorgeous hardback vintage kids’ books about a boy named Tom Swift. I always meant to read them, but have just been happy to own them — books can be like that. Super pretty, but not really of interest to you. You know?

Today I delved into Tom Swift and His Motorcycle, the first in the series — there are over 100 Tom Swift books, the odds that I happened to, all unknowingly, buy the first installment must be infinitesimal, and is also a miracle for someone like me, who finds it beyond distasteful to begin a series anywhere other than the beginning — and oh, it’s so cute. It’s all about the earnest Tom, teen son of a brilliant inventor whose latest innovation is stolen by nefarious industrial espionage types, and who enlists the help of sundry country folk in order to foil their dastardly schemes. The book is full of an inordinate number of crashes, of bicycles and cars — autos — and motor cycles, and young Tom is a bit of a prig, really. But as a piece of history, as a Boy’s Own Adventure from out of the past, this is like reading a time capsule. And it’s a gas.  

A little bit of research tells me that the Tom Swift books were created by Edward Stratemeyer, who also created the Bobbsey Twins, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, among many other kid-aimed adventure and mystery series. Victor Appleton — like Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon — never existed, the books written by a series of ghost writers. 

There are several Tom Swift series, and my other four flea market finds are from a 50s iteration, all about space and science fiction known more properly as Tom Swift, Jr. One day, I will read them, I am sure. But I have about 40 books to read between now and when I can tackle the next one in order that I own, 1953’s Tom Swift and the Giant Robot. Happily, much of the Tom Swift series is available on Scribd, and I, of course, have a Scribd membership–even as I try to work my way through my TBR, I could never deny myself access to all the thousands of TBRs available there so cheaply. It’s a sickness.

Of course, I could just read the Tom Swift books I own, assume they are typical of the series, and have done with the lot of it while also getting them off my TBR shelves. But no. My need for completeness will not allow me to cut such an easy, practical corner.

Sigh. I am so exhausting to me sometimes.


TBR DAY 31: Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle, or Fun and Adventures on the Road (Tom Swift #1) by Victor Appleton
GENRE: Children’s Action Adventure
TIME ON THE TBR: ~ 15 years.  
PURCHASED FROM: Flea market.
KEEP: Definitely.