Finally, the producers of Spider-Man films have branched out beyond the same four or five villains! Since the 1960’s the character has had one of the most interesting rogues’ galleries of any superhero and the movies have concentrated on Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, The Lizard, a shortchanged Sandman and a lame version of Electro. I was thrilled when Marvel’s previous movie used The Vulture and now, we finally get a version of Mysterio in SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019). I say ‘a version’ because this is a very different character from the original illusion creating criminal first seen back in Spider Man #13 fifty-five years ago. But the MCU wisely uses this character as part of its ongoing story crafting another very good part in the larger tapestry they are weaving. As usually, my favorite elements are the smaller details off to the side of the main plot. Also, I love that Mary Jane is clever enough to figure out Peter’s identity and the byplay with the Ned is a joy. The expansion of Happy Hogan’s role in the story is well played and the casting of Marisa Tomei as May was a brilliant choice as she continues to bring the right touch to every scene. There are nits to pick with some details but overall, I can hardly wait to see which of Spider-Man’s huge roster of bad guys makes it to the big screen next.
I’ve enjoyed Tarantino’s films in general and his latest is another cinematic joy. Much virtual ink is being spilled over the pros and cons of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019) but I’ll just say that, near the end, when a certain actress’ voice came out of that driveway intercom I actually teared up. That’s how it should have happened. That’s what would have been right.
The film could have been slightly shorter but I loved every minute of this visual feast. Rumors say that QT might have a four-hour cut up his sleeve and, if so, I’ll be happy to check that out as well.
SILVER BLAZE (1937) – 7 (not bad riff on this classic Sherlock tale)
SPIRIT OF ’76 (1990) – 6 (rewatch)
LAS VAMPIRAS (1969) – 6 (Mil Mascaras vs female vamps and John Carradine)
MIDSOMMAR (2019) – 8
ALIEN FROM THE DEEP (1989) – 4 (rewatch)
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (2019) – 7
THE GIANT SPIDER (2013) – 6
THAT GUY DICK MILLER (2015) – 9
THE GUMBALL RALLY (1976) – 6 (rewatch for the first time in 30 years!)
THE BLACK CAT (1941) – 6 (rewatch)
THE SEVEN FROM TEXAS (a.k.a. HOUR OF DEATH (1964) – 7 (solid early Euro-Western)
GODZILLA 1984 (1984) – 8 (rewatch)
THE SPIDER WOMAN STRIKES BACK! (1946) – 6 (interesting chiller from Universal)
COSMIC MONSTERS (1958) – 5 (rewatch)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (2019) – 8
FRANKENSTEIN, THE VAMPIRE AND CO. (1962) – 4 (Mexican version of A & C MEET FRANKENSTEIN)
MONTANA (1950) - 6 (Errol Flynn western)
THE SONG OF THE THIN MAN (1947) – 7 (the last of the series)