Monday, May 9, 2016


Captain America: Civil War opened last weekend and blew everyone's socks off! However, the thing that most people have taken away from the film is that Spider-Man was reintroduced to audiences and not only does he totally fit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he lives up to his Amazing adjective. Without giving too much away, we're given just a taste of what to expect from Spider-Man in his solo film due out next year (on my birthday . . . how cool is that?). People have been saying that he's the best live action Spider-Man yet. I think it's a little premature at this point. He was very good, don't get me wrong, but I'm reserving judgment until I see Homecoming.

What worked best for the character was that it genuinely didn't feel like this was his first time as Spider-Man. I don't necessarily mean Peter Parker, I mean Tom Holland. He slipped into the movie so seamlessly that I felt like we had already seen a solo Spidey film before this. Not only that, but he didn't feel out of place standing next to the rest of the Avengers. I felt like I was reading one of my favorite comics when all the characters were fighting. He was funny to us but super irritating to the other characters. Just like the real Spider-Man. They all love him but they'll all agree that he needs to shut the fuck up sometimes.

They're all thinking it!

The fact that Spider-Man has been given new cinematic life is very exciting news. After a failed start with the Amazing Spider-Man series, we're getting a Spidey that we all love. Hopefully this time they won't kill off everyone with the last name Stacy . . . I'm just saying. 

I've talked before about who I think Parker will fight in his new film, and I stand by those choices. Today, I'd like to propose a different idea. We're seeing Spider-Man get a new film and that's all well and good but let's think about this for a minute. The best part of Captain America: Civil War was that we got to see all of these great characters in a Captain America film that we would never normally see in a stand alone film. Characters like War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Ant-Man and yes Spidey were all represented, and represented well, in this film. That got me thinking, where else can we send Peter Parker? Let's look around the Marvel Cinematic Universe, shall we?


I mean, this is pretty much a guarantee right? The Marvel producers and directors have pretty much said that Infinity War (or whatever they end up calling it) will be a culmination of everything that's happened since Iron Man kicked off the MCU. One would assume that that will include Spider-Man. Considering that Spider-Man is to Marvel Comics what Mickey Mouse is to Disney (which is ironic to say these days), he'll pretty much HAVE to show up in some capacity while Thanos is screwing up reality with the Infinity Gauntlet. Spider-Man actually did play a pretty big role in the original Infinity Gauntlet comic book. Hopefully we'll get to see him kick a lot more ass in the upcoming Avengers films. 


While the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has done an excellent job of maintaining its own corner in the MCU, as well as establishing the characters as great heroes in their own right, it's frustrating that we still never get any proper Avengers cameos. They get name dropped a lot and Samuel L. Jackson and Colbie Smulders guest starred on a few episodes in the first couple of seasons. However, it's just irritating that characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye, and even Captain America never make appearances. Most likely this has to do with actors' salaries, schedules, etc etc. All that stupid crap. Rumor has it that the TV and movie people don't exactly get along in real life (behind the scenes I mean). Which, let's face it, is petty and childish. They're all supposed to work together and give the audience the greatest shared universe in history. And let's face it, the face to best represent that is Spider-Man. Despite me saying that he's very irritating earlier, there is also no denying that everyone loves him and what he brings to the table. 

In Civil War, Spider-Man was able to be the wild card on Iron Man's team but also represent the audience by pointing out how cool everyone's powers are as well as the ridiculousness of everyone fighting. The S.H.I.E.L.D. series has definitely evolved a lot in just seasons. The Inhumans and the Kree play a very large role in the series. A character like Spider-Man should come in and point out how much the world has changed and how insane everything is. When the Flash guest starred on Supergirl, he was able to point out the craziness of that show without parodying it or debunking it. Every now and then, the audience needs a character just like them that is willing to say what they're thinking like, "Wow, all these aliens and Inhumans is really bizarre!" Spider-Man is perfect for that because he's funny and relatable to the audience. Plus, who wouldn't want to see Peter Parker team up with Quake and Coulson and kick Hydra's ass? I'd be down for that! 


I've mentioned this before but it's worth repeating. Daredevil just HAS to team up with Spider-Man. I mean it kind of needs to happen and soon! The two characters have a long history of team ups in the comics. They're a really good pair and compliment each other very well. Since they are both New York heroes born and raised, it gives them a sense of unity that most of the other Avengers don't have. Plus during any writer and artist's run on an arc of either Daredevil or Spidey (or both) they always team up. Given that Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, is running New York's underworld and creating problems relating to super-powers or just criminal activity in general, Spidey and Daredevil often end up trying to fix whatever issues he's causing. 

I grew up on the Spider-Man animated series. The Kingpin was in quite a few episodes and he was always creating new super villains to fight Spider-Man. I always associated him with Spider-Man which is why I was surprised (and disappointed) to learn that it was possible that he would never appear in a Spider-Man film because he was technically a Daredevil character. However, it's not impossible anymore! With Vincent D'Onofrio giving us a compelling and really incredible Wilson Fisk, it would be a shame not see him tangle with Spider-Man at some point. What better time to do that than in Daredevil season 3? At some point, Fisk is going to start manufacturing super-villains and that would be just a little outside of Matt Murdock's wheelhouse. So let's bring in some back up in the form of Spider-Man! Or possibly have Fisk be the villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming and then Daredevil can make an appearance in the film! Oh my god . . .  Please let this happen!


This is probably not going to happen for a while, but in my opinion this should happen! As of this writing we do not know when the Punisher Netflix series will premiere. If I had to guess I'd say sometime after The Defenders which, according to Charlie Cox, starts filming this fall. Either way, Spider-Man vs The Punisher is one of my all-time favorite comic book battles. I love both characters and it's great to see them butt heads. Spider-Man considers the Punisher to be just as bad as the guys he fights and never hesitates to tell him that and try to find him when he's loose in NYC. However, the Punisher actually likes Spider-Man. He respects what he does and never wants to fight him. I don't think he "looks up to him" or anything like that, but he definitely considers Spider-Man a hero. Having said that, he still can't stand the fact that Spidey won't do what needs to be done and put criminals down for good. 

Now that Marvel has given us the best Punisher, in the form of Jon Bernthal, and arguably the best Spider-Man, Tom Holland, I'd say it's time we get these two together for an epic showdown. True, we got a lot of philosophical debate going during Daredevil season two between Daredevil and Castle, but I think Spider-Man brings a different argument to the table. Considering that Parker is a lot younger than Murdock and Castle, he'll be seen as a bit more naive than Murdock but it would also be great to see Castle not only try to convince Spider-Man that what he's doing is the right way, but he'll give him arguments that Spider-Man can't win. On the other side of that, I'd like to see Tom Holland stretch his acting muscles. We've seen him kick ass and make us all laugh as Spider-Man, but now it's time to see him have to grow up a little. A character like the Punisher is great for that because he forces Spider-Man to look at the world differently. Are you going to stand by your convictions or are you going to make a change in your life? 


Another exciting concept when thinking about Spider-Man joining the MCU is the potential for his villains to team up with other villains. Although Marvel has not yet had a true villain team up in the movies, which is surprising when you think about it, it would be pretty awesome to have Loki team up with Green Goblin or something similar in Homecoming or a Spidey sequel down the line. Spider-Man has some of the greatest villains in all of comic books. A lot of them have been portrayed very well in the films such as Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Sandman, and Lizard. Some have been portrayed . . . Shall we say not as well? *cough Venom, Electro cough* But . . . that's ok! It's in the past and now we can see new villains or at least new takes on his great rogues gallery. And just as exciting is the possibility of them appearing in an Avengers film, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or The Defenders. It definitely gives a lot more options than just the normal rogues those characters face. Quite often in the comics, the heroes will fight each other's bad guys. Daredevil has taken on Mysterio, Hulk fought the Frost Giants, Iron Man has butted heads with Dr. Doom, and so on and so forth. It's something that I'm hoping will be repeated in the upcoming films and TV shows.

When it was first announced that Spider-Man would appear in Captain America: Civil War, I was worried that he wouldn't fit in or worse that he would be shoehorned in just because they could do it now. I'm happy to say that that was definitely not the case and Tom Holland's Spider-Man made my heart soar. The more I think about it, the more excited I get not only for Spider-Man: Homecoming, but for whatever other plans Marvel has for Peter Parker going forward. I've said it before and I'll say it again - It's a damn good time to be a comic book fan :D

Till Next Time!

JJ - the Comic Junkie 

Monday, May 2, 2016


Soon we will see the Marvel Cinematic Universe go to war in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Then we'll see it take a turn to the freaky in Doctor Strange. Of the two films, I'm definitely excited for . . . well both of them. However, after seeing the Strange trailer do some pretty, well, strange things I gotta admit I'm intrigued. While we've seen Captain America and Iron Man before, we've never had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Strange. My sincerest hope is that this film will be every bit as amazing and trippy as the trailer led us to believe. If it is, then we are in for a very different, very exciting new kind of Marvel movie.

I'll just go ahead and admit that the character of Dr. Strange is not my area of expertise. I got into the character a few years ago during the New Avengers and Dark Reign storylines. However, I've become a much bigger fan of the character thanks to Jason Aaron's and Chris Bachalo's current run on the book.

I've mentioned this before. You remember! 
Unlike some comics numbered 1, I found this comic very easy to jump into. I didn't feel like I needed a lot of backstory or clarification on what was going on. Lots of comics when they get renumbered back to 1 are guilty of just continuing the story they were already telling. Granted, in some cases it's not so bad, but the whole point of the issue having a big ass #1 on the cover should mean that it's easy to jump in without a lot of previous knowledge of the character. Luckily, for someone like me, this comic made me feel like I knew this guy. I felt like I had been a fan for years. And it also got me really excited for the movie. 
I was already excited for this film. I mean we have Benedict Cumberbatch as Strange who has never failed to impress me and Scott Derrickson directing. His films like Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose scared the hell out of me! I knew he would be a good fit for Doctor Strange. Put the two of them together and I was definitely excited to see a different kind of Marvel movie. Because that's what we desperately need. 
Now, I don't know much about the character but I do have a short wish list of what I'd like to see in this film. 
So let's just get this out of the way right now. Marvel has a terrible track record when it comes to movie villains. They cast these amazing actors like Mickey Rourke, Ben Kingsley, James Spader, and Corey Stoll, then they don't give them much to work with. As an actor, that must be incredibly frustrating. I know I'm not the only one with this complaint. It's been Marvel's biggest problem since the first Iron Man film. Every once in a while they get it right, but mostly it seems like the villains are too easily defeated by the heroes and their motivations are not clear or flimsy at best. 
With Dr. Strange I think we have a chance to turn that around. Strange has some (boy I'm gonna use this a lot) strange villains. Most are other sorcerers looking to steal his power or something like that. Others are demons from other dimensions. In this case, we can see a villain try to rise to power and Strange will have to work hard to try and stop them. The most powerful villains are the most frightening. Those are the ones that we believe can give the hero a run for their money. Not only that but when the hero triumphs, it feels earned and much more exciting. The Marvel films are great at having the villains with some sort of personal tie to the hero, but it needs to be more than that. The villain needs to be scary, but also relatable. It's not enough to say, "I hate you!" or "I want to take over the world!" We as an audience need more than that. Hopefully, this film will give us a unique villain.
I miss the days when the title hero was the selling point of the film, as opposed to the cameos and co-stars. For example, Ant-Man had a cameo from the Falcon. While he did fit into that film, and I loved seeing him, I would have preferred not knowing that he was going to be in the film. His appearance was spoiled ahead of time by one of the TV spots. That really annoyed me because it ruined the surprise in the film. And the thing is, I didn't even watch that one! An internet headline about 3 weeks away from the film had spoiled it! I don't blame the headline, that's just them trying for click bait, I blame Marvel. Why bother spoiling that scene? It was one of the best in the film and I didn't really like that film! Ugh . . . 

So listen, Marvel, if any other heroes or villains make an appearance in Doctor Strange please don't tell us! I'd rather be surprised to see Scarlet Witch or War Machine show up during the second act. These types of cameos are tricky to pull off because you don't want to take the focus away from the main hero but you also want to remind the audience that they are apart of the MCU. That's all well and good, and the more Avengers the better (if you ask me) but just keep it a secret. It will make me like the film all that much more I promise! 

One of the things that Guardians of the Galaxy did so well was give us a taste of the larger universe besides just the Marvel heroes and villains on Earth. I'm hoping that Doctor Strange will do the same thing with the magic users on Earth and beyond. Characters like Brother Voodoo, Ghost Rider, and Damien would be awesome to see in some capacity in this film. While it shouldn't be much, since this is Strange's debut film after all, I would love to see a hint of more to come. And let me be clear - I don't mean a sequel tease. I mean an actual nod or Easter egg that these characters exist already somewhere in the MCU. Also, it would be cool to give some sort of nod to Dr. Doom. Since Doom is still under Fox's lock and key (for God knows what reason) maybe a mention or hint of him could be alluded to without naming names. Hopefully by the time Doctor Strange 2 rolls around Fox will lend out some Fantastic Four characters and we can get a sorcerer fight between Strange and Doom. Now THAT would be an awesome film!
Ok so here's a strange (sorry) complaint, but bear with me for a moment. I've never felt like any of the Marvel heroes had a home. Daredevil and Jessica Jones both did a great job of making New York City feel like a supporting character in their films. The Sam Raimi Spider-Man films and even the Amazing films also did a great job of making New York feel like part of the story. Iron Man took place in Los Angeles, Winter Soldier was in DC, and the first Avengers was (mostly) in NYC. However, I never felt like the cities in question were a part of the story. Stan Lee lived and breathed New York. That's why all his stories took place there. He and his artists knew the city very well. Most of the Marvel movies could take place anywhere and we wouldn't know the difference. However, I think it's important to a character that he have roots in his city so when he fights for it, it's an honest fight. He's willing sacrifice himself not just for humanity but for his home. Since a lot of the filming took place in New York, I'm hoping to see the city become part of the story as more than just a location. Think of it this way, Ghostbusters wouldn't be the same if it took place in Los Angeles or Chicago or anywhere else. The location can add flavor and excitement to the film. That's what I'm hoping to see. Also, I just freaking love New York so much . . . 
I haven't been a Stranger for very long (I just made up that nickname btw), but I am really digging the new series and it's made me so excited for the upcoming movie. In a way, it feels like the first Iron Man film. Back then I didn't know much about the character but I was still excited for the film. The difference now is that I'm actively reading the comic books in anticipation for the film. I'm sure we'll all be in for something really . . .  (last one I promise) strange . . . 

Till Next Time!

JJ - The Comic Junkie!