Sunday, July 9, 2017

Spidey Driver: A 'Baby Driver'/'Spider-Man: Homecoming' Review

Two Sony releases...


Let me just say, I'm surprised an Edgar Wright film happened under Sony Pictures, especially a Sony Pictures that has someone like Tom Rothman as part of their team. Maybe I'm just jaded when it comes to this kind of thing, but it's pleasantly surprising that another great Edgar Wright film was made possible by this company.


Baby Driver seems like a straightforward heist flick, but it comes with its own unique flavor and it effortlessly manages to tell a lot of story in mere scenes that last maybe a few seconds. Our young protagonist has tinnitus, and always has his music on to block it all out. He also makes mix-tapes out of mundane things, a nice little touch. Living with his deaf foster father, he's torn between being a getaway driver for a crime syndicate and starting a new life with a girl he meets at a diner.

Simple as it may seem, Wright textures everything and shows his flair all throughout, bolstering all of this with an amazing, diverse soundtrack. I mean, I can't go wrong with a soundtrack that has a non-single track off of Pet Sounds on it! The music really drives the film, but so does the editing and the sound editing, creating a very one-of-a-kind experience that just keeps you sucked in. The presence of songs is completely justified, and adds another emotional layer to the story in the same way something like Guardians of the Galaxy does. We've been in a sort-of wave of movies that try to ape Guardians' use of songs (i.e. Suicide Squad), but something like this comes along and it's like a masterclass on how to integrate pre-existing songs into a narrative.

Apparently conceived by Wright in the mid-1990s, the movie also doesn't suffer from any overly-modern touches that may date the film. Baby uses a classic iPod model, which made me happy because I use a classic myself! I have no interest in whatever new iPods are around, because they don't suit my needs. I like to meticulously organize my music, my albums, etc. The film also has vinyl, flip phones, it feels like it could've taken place 5 or 10 years ago in some ways.

Baby Driver is like a fuel-injected turbo shot into the coffee. It opens with a bang, ends on a bang, the whole movie is a bang. Definitely don't miss this one...

The other new Sony release happens to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe...

Spider-Man indeed came home, and with triumph.

For me, it was a little tough for the past ten years. Spider-Man 3 was a movie I didn't dislike, in fact I will argue that it's a pretty decent movie that does a lot right. It's only soiled, as many others say, by Venom's presence and some of the choppy handling of Peter's symbiote-driven antics. Raimi's trilogy ended on a good note, though. I also was quite sympathetic of The Amazing Spider-Man, that too was a very meddled-in-post mess, but I felt its better moments saved the picture. The second one, however...

Thankfully Marvel Studios stepped in and said "Let us have the car keys." Spider-Man: Homecoming is the first genuinely good Spider-Man movie since Spider-Man 2, and a film with a lot more personality and spark than the very corporate-feeling "Amazing" movies. Part high school dramedy, part father-son mentor story, part action movie, this Spider-Man flick is thankfully on-the-ground. No, not "grounded" in the worn-out Christopher Nolan-wannabe sense, but actually on the ground. It's much more intimate than its Marvel Cinematic Universe counterparts, and a lot of it takes place in school. Peter's a teen, it's a teen-centric movie, it doesn't immediately throw him into college or in a big battle than spans all of New York.

Throughout the tight story, Peter tries to balance his high school life, his internship with Mr. Stark (who is thankfully not in it too much), and his desires to be more than just the "friendly neighborhood Spider-Man" that Stark wants him to be. The Vulture is handled well, too, even if Adrian Toomes isn't like his classic comics counterpart. I like what they did with him, he's a disillusioned and somewhat sympathetic former blue-collar worker who has not only been screwed over by Stark, but he and his henchmen (including Shocker) plan to use the same methods Stark once used to get their way.

Other standouts here are Parker's best friend Ned, Aunt May, and a classmate named Michelle. There are also a few great twists and surprises along the way, but the proceedings are peppered with lots of great humor and quips. It even has a solid soundtrack!

While a little clunky in some areas, Spider-Man: Homecoming really succeeds. Thankfully keeping Peter in high school, they go down some unexpected and intriguing paths, all the while balancing heroics, responsibilities, and some bittersweetness. A very nice touch.

Both films are very much worth your time...

1 comment:

  1. Spider-Man 2 is still my favorite Spider-Man film and Amazing 2 is a film i will defend til i day, but damn if this doesn't have the best Spider-Msn we've seen on screen to date. I'd give it the ol 8.3/10.

    Baby Driver would get an 8.5, not much to say about it other than what i said in my own review.