3.5 stars (out of 4)

Released 2017

This third incarnation of Spider-Man, in a span of only 15 years, stars Tom Holland as the newest friendly neighborhood web-slinger. And it gets it right, in my opinion. To my mind, this is how Spider-Man should be: very smart, very funny, and roughly equal parts cool and uncool.

After the opening credits, a recollection of the climactic fight from CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is presented, as seen from Peter’s point of view. It’s really funny stuff.

Since that incident, Peter spends his days fighting crime locally and trying to keep his secret identity from friends and family. All the while, he’s waiting for his next major assignment from Tony Stark, orders which never seem to come. But there’s trouble brewing…

The cast is terrific in this movie. Most notably, Michael Keaton (ex-Batman) is really believable in his role.

Captain America, who of course was on the opposite side of the “civil war,” does not get treated nicely by this film.


captain america civil war

3 stars (out of 4)

Released 2016

The Avengers are coming under fire from the public, and feeling their own regrets, over the collateral damage that happens during their missions. The UN proposes the Sokovia Accords to govern the deployment of the Avengers; but this divides their members, as some of them cannot stomach the political interference into their activities.

It’s a valid argument: what is the right amount of autonomy or oversight for an organization such as the Avengers? The film does a fine job of presenting both angles of the dispute, represented mainly by Captain America and Iron Man on opposite sides. Meanwhile, a number of other plots are unfolding which further threaten to tear the team apart.

The movie features great characterization, as usual, of each of the superheroes, especially Captain America and Iron Man. I really liked Black Widow too. Peter Parker makes an appearance in this film and he’s really funny, as Spider-Man ought to be. Is it too soon for another Spider-Man reboot? I don’t know. If what we get here is any indication, I think it could work!


3 stars (out of 4)

Released 2013

I went into this without seeing IRON MAN 2.  Fortunately, I had seen THE AVENGERS last year.  Viewing the THE AVENGERS should be considered a prerequisite for this film, as there are many references to a traumatic event that happened in New York in the past that the audience is assumed to have knowledge of.

What I liked especially about this current installment of IRON MAN was the really creative use of the mechanical suits.  Let’s face it, watching a super hero fighting in a faceless power suit can get old after a while.  Therefore, I enjoyed seeing that the suit could be used fully or partially, defensively or offensively; pretty much every imaginable permutation was on display.

My only half-joking complaint is that this movie may be offensive to US presidents and vice presidents.  I could understand if Mr. President was not physically strong or athletic, but he should have seemed a little bright, at least.  Here, he was depicted as nothing more than a damsel in distress; he was not afforded even one smart line of dialogue.  For other reasons, I also found the actions of the vice president to be unbelievable…