FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #111 – “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (dir. Jon Watts)

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel get reacquainted with their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and their friendly Keatonesque Bird-Man, and are rather pleased about it (45:16).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode comes from a pair of Spider-Man TV series theme songs. The first is the classic 1967 animated series theme, with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster and music by Bob Harris. The second is a slick reimagining of the same from composer Michael Giacchino, from the film’s original score.
  • Glenn also appears this week on our podcast nemesis, The Spoilers : Wayne & Daryl, to discuss Spider-Man, comedians as villains, the oeuvre of Kevin Smith, and anything else that strikes our fancy. Consider yourselves spoiler-warned.

Listen above, or download: Spider-Man: Homecoming (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

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FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #87 – “Captain America: Civil War” (dir. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo)

Poster for "Captain America: Civil War"

This week on the podcast, Daniel engages in the as-yet-unprecedented behavior of suggesting that we review a new Marvel film, and shocks Glenn to his very core by enjoying it. Come along for the ride that proves that Marvel continues to check such basic storytelling boxes as “give them a good reason to fight” and “make us care”. Take notes, Zach Snyder – this is how a proper superhero clash is done (42:49).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Lagos” and “Clash” from the film’s original score, written by Henry Jackman.
  • Our initial screening was canceled for what we describe here as “the usual reasons”. If you’re curious what we mean by this, listen to our brief rant at the beginning of Episode 35.
  • Bit of fictional geography: Wakanda’s location has varied in Marvel lore, but all sources seem to agree that it’s located in northeastern Africa, somewhere in the region inhabited by real-life Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, and/or Ethiopia. Which is around 2,000 miles from Lagos, Nigeria (in West Africa), where the film’s opening scene takes place. In our discussion (where we got quite a bit wrong, geographically speaking), we referred to Wakanda as the fictional product of an alternate history in which an African monarchy remained untouched by European colonialism, but after recording (and consulting Wikipedia), we remembered that there is a potential real-life parallel for Wakanda, in the Ethiopian Empire (also known as Abyssinia), which successfully avoided colonization. The last Emperor, Haile Selassie I (also the founder and principal religious figure of Rastafarianism) ruled the country for 44 years until he was overthrown by a Soviet-backed communist coup in 1974.
  • Daniel stumped me at one point by asking whether the black panther species is native to Africa. The answer: Yes, kind of. Turns out the term refers to the melanistic (dark-pigmented) variant of a number of species in the Panthera genus. According to Wikipedia, black panthers in Asia and Africa are leopards, whereas the ones in the Americas are jaguars. Also, gibbons are apes, not monkeys. Yay knowledge!
  • Correction: Whoops, Don Cheadle was totally in Iron Man 3. Remember the Iron Patriot? Because we totally forgot him. He was definitely present in the final showdown as well. We regret the error.

Listen above, or download: Captain America: Civil War (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #46 – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (dir. Marc Webb)

Poster for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

This week on the podcast, Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield, and Emma Stone do whatever a spider can, and Glenn and Daniel are unimpressed. Listen below to hear why Glenn posted on Facebook that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is “a tedious, exploitative, and aggressively stupid piece of disposable, commercial tripe” (45:05).

This episode contains even more NSFW language than usual. We were not happy campers with this film.

FilmWonk rating: 3 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode comes from a pair of Spider-Man TV series theme songs. The first is the classic 1967 animated series theme, with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster and music by Bob Harris. The second is from the 1994 Fox Kids’ animated series, with music by Joe Perry of Aerosmith.
  • We didn’t realize when we compared this to Michael Bay‘s Transformers films that TASM2 was cowritten by none other than Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, also the screenwriters behind Transformers and Transformers 2. They also cowrote last year’s Star Trek Into Darkness, which had many issues in common with this film in terms of insubstantial spectacle. We’re big fans of these guys from Alias and Fringe, but it may be time for them to return to TV for a while.
  • We compared the final battle with Electro to Animusic, a series of MIDI-visualization videos produced since the mid-1990s. There are plenty of them on YouTube… Here’s an example.
  • Indian Spider-Man is a real thing.
  • Matt Singer from The Dissolve and Drew McWeeny from HitFix both liked this movie better than we did, but they wrote a pair of excellent thinkpieces about what an empty spectacle like this film means for the future of cinema:

Listen above, or download: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)