The Life and Death of Spider-man

Spider-man is one of Marvel’s most famous and beloved characters, as such, we have seen plenty of him on the big screen over the years; with three series and countless other properties attached to the character. It is these series and the future of the Webslinger I would like to talk about today, trying to keep it impartial from the whole Marvel Studios vs Sony spat; as they are both a little in the wrong.
The Sam Raimi Trilogy is to many the best of the Spider-man films to date, just don’t mention Spider-man 3, this was the first big-budget, big-screen adaptions of the character and a lot of people were very excited for it. Raimi’s trilogy nailed many vital details of who Spider-man is and what he stands for, showing his relationship with his Aunt and Uncle and as the series developed his romance with Mary Jane Watson. As the trilogy went on the films got bolder and bolder, diving further into Spider-man’s Lore; with many classic villains adapted, to various degrees of success. Therein lay the problem, as the series reached the end it started adding too many elements to the story, having so many plot threads they couldn’t all be addressed; whether by studio mandate or, by a poorly written script, it was this that would end Raimi’s trilogy on a sour note, and continue to be a problem going forward.
Years later talks broke down with Raimi to make the much speculated about Spider-man 4 and, so the Mark Webb Amazing Spider-man series was born. Webb set out right away to make sure his series of films was tonally and visually very different than the Raimi films that predated it. The humorous goofiness of the Raimi trilogy was swapped out for a more edgy and mature tone; they also favoured the Gwen Stacy romance over the Mary Jane one; all to set it apart. Of the three series, this one has the worst reputation, but I genuinely believe the first Amazing Spider-man film was excellent, the romance between Emma Stone and Andre Garfield was quickly the best and most moving part of the films. Then the Amazing Spider-man 2 came out, and just like Raimi’s third instalment, it was marred by the overuse of familiar villain characters, most likely in a hamfisted way of setting up a Sinister Six film so they could spin it out into another franchise.
Then for the third attempt at a Spider-man on the big screen, the character was returned to the MCU, where he could rub shoulders with the likes of Captain America and Iron Man. Many would say that these were the best Spider-man live-action films, and though the humour was pitch-perfect and Far From Home made me tear up a little, these films weren’t without their issues. Many didn’t like how symbiotic the relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker was, finding that the latter was losing some of his identity in favour of being more like the former, there is a scene in Far From Home that confirms this.
Now at the time of writing Spider-man is currently between fought over by Marvel Studios and Sony, with each wanting him for their films. However, what the character deserves is the chance to shine for who he is, rather than have him be just another part of a larger whole. Similarly, he deserves to have his story told the right away and not have nonsensical plot threads stuffed into his films just as an effort to set up other films to make more money.
Ultimately a great Spider-man story can be told with just a handful of characters, and a bit of careful consideration and both studios would do well to remember that.

The Exorcist: A Titan of Horror Cinema

The Exorcist is a 1973, American horror film, revolving around the possession of Regan MacNeil; and the priests that try and save her soul. Though this premise seems like nothing new by today’s standards where we watch someone get possessed on the big screen, every other week, it was incredibly novel for its time. Upon release, it went to war with rating boards, who had never seen something, as they put it, “so obscene”, and there were reports of the film being so scary it was making people have fits in the cinema. So much so that the British government banned the film outright. Watching the film today and comparing it to the sort of things we might see in a 2019 horror film, the film looks incredibly tame and, it is hard to understand what upset censors so much; however it did push things in horror cinema upon release.
The Exorcist will always be one of the best horror films of all time and a must-watch: because despite almost being 50 years old the film is still just as chilling as when it first came out. The film puts the atmosphere and tension at the forefront, and we see a slow build in the demonic activity until it reaches vomiting green slime level. This is much appreciated as it leads the following actions to appear far more shocking by comparison, but also further enforces just how horrific the ordeal is for little Regan.
The practical effects work is also something to be revered, as some of the most iconic shots in all of horror cinema come from this film and they were all practical, the head-spinning scene is proof of my point.
The plot of the film never lets up, never giving you a minute to catch your breath, even at the end, the twists and turns keep coming; keeping you guessing even after the credits roll.
The acting in this film is the stuff of legend, and so many movies have tried to harness or harken back to it in more recent year, with Linda Blair selling the possession of Regan so well that you start to believe it. Max Von Sydow, plays the tired old priest, who is beginning to lose his faith brought out to fight the incarnation of evil, to perfection, quickly making him a horror icon.
Lastly, the dream sequences at the start of the film that mark the beginning of Regan’s possession, are so hauntingly beautiful, the cinematography for these scenes has almost a dreamlike air to it; which really help to give them their flavour and set them apart from the rest of the film.
The later sequels would go on to tarnish the film’s legacy to a degree, but nothing can, or ever will change that fact that this is one of the most impactful, inspiring, captivating horror films of all time. That is simply a fact.
Ps. The Exorcist TV show was pretty good as well.
5/5
Reviewed by Luke