Spider-Man Homecoming (PG-13)

I watched the two Amazing Spider-Man films after this one, but before writing this quickie. Afterwards I felt a little more charitable towards this for at least having some color and personality, even if the actual film is just kind of... there.

I don't think this is supposed to continue on from Amazing Spider-Man 2; Peter gets his suit from Tony Stark instead of making it himself, he's in high school instead of going to college, and Oscorp doesn't exist, at least not for this film. But it also doesn't show Peter gaining his powers and learning the power/responsibility thing (and before you say anything, yes, I remember he already had his powers when Captain America: Civil War rolled around). I guess there's just an understanding between the film and the audience that we already know about Peter getting bit by a spider and inadvertently getting Uncle Ben shot, so if it's alright with both parties it'll jump right to the actual story, thank you very much.

I do appreciate Spider-Man Homecoming for actually having some levity, unlike the previous few MCU films I've seen (and, again, the Amazing Spider-Man debacles). But the story is... underwhelming. For one thing, Spider-Man appears to have lost his Spider Sense in exchange for an AI in the suit that does most of the decision making, which is just dull. And then there's a scene of Spider-Man trying to save a transport full of people by shooting webs everywhere, and another where Peter loses confidence in his abilities and role of Spider-Man and goes on to being a model student, which you should recognize as both being lifted from Spider-Man 2. By the time it was revealed the main villain was *gasp* the father of Peter's friend, I was convinvced the big fight scene was going to end with Vulture impaling himself on his own flying gear. (Spoiler: It actually does not.)

Oh, and the car scene, where Vulture turns to Peter and raves about how he'll kill Peter if he tries to interfere with him selling alien WMDs again? Most people think this scene is amazing, but it pissed me off. Maybe I'm overreacting because Vulture's speech to Peter about the lengths he'll go through for his family made him sound like one of the brothers from Digital Homicide to me, as the movie does seem to agree he's being a short-sighted dumbass. But if the purpose of this scene was to make me sympathize with Vulture, I have very little sympathy for anybody who insists they should be allowed to do whatever immoral shit they want if it's "for their family." I guess this line of thinking stems from the "Is it okay to steal a loaf of bread to feed your family" thought experiment about how morality isn't black and white, but you know what? The idea that you can bend the rules for your family isn't absolute either. It might be okay to steal a loaf of bread to feed your family, but it's incredibly fucked up to steal your neighbors' dogs and grind them into hamburger to feed your family.

*sigh* Sorry, I'm probably letting that get to me more than I should.


Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon (PSX, E)

This was the most irritating of the three PSX Spyro games. I'm probably going to be crapping on some people's childhoods here, so hold onto your butts.

As well as being overloaded with dumbass minigames like Spyro 2 (fuck's sake, Insomniac, if I wanted to do skateboard tricks I'd play a Tony Hawk game. If I'm playing Spyro it's because I want to glide around and flamethrower shit) Spyro 3 has occasional areas where you take control of one of four animal friends. And while it was interesting to see the birthplace of the Ratchet and Clank series in the space monkey levels, the penguin levels can get on a bus and drive straight to Hell. And take that boxing match with the yeti with you.

And there was one with the kangaroo where you have to escort a pair of idiots with bombs through a field, destroying rocks and lowering mushrooms for them along the way. The first guy follows a stone trail through the area, but the second one bumbles around all over the place. It was during this level that I discovered the game will tone itself down if you fail a task repeatedly, in this case removing some of the obstacles because you haven't been bombarded with cosmic rays and evolved the clairvoyant alien mind needed to instinctively know where the NPC is going. Fuck you, game, I wouldn't need you to tone yourself down if your mechanics worked. I also would have liked it if the game had asked before making itself easier, because doing it automatically after enough failures feels like it's sighing in disgust at me for needing time to learn.

I might have been inclined to collect all the eggs if the game didn't gate several of the them behind flying levels with the worst controls ever. And while poking around after beating the final boss, I learned something that really burned me on the game; collecting everything in the previous two games only got you better endings and a bonus level, but Spyro 3 withholds the true final boss until you get every dragon egg and gem in the game. For all the shit I gave it for its dodgy camera and controls, at least Super Mario 64 didn't make you collect every single dicking coin in the game before it let you take on Bowser for the last time. Oh, and there's a bug that can easily render one gem in the swamp level unobtainable and bar you from the final boss, which in this analogy is like being unable to fight Bowser in the Sky because one coin spawns inside a wall.


The Amazing Spider-Man (PG-13)

Sony Executive 1: "We need to keep pumping out Spider-Man movies so the license doesn't revert back to Marvel and Disney, what do we do?"

Sony Executive 2: "Meh, just remake the first Sam Raimi film. You know, Peter gets bitten by a spider in a science lab and gains superpowers, somebody pisses Peter off so he refuses to intervene when that guy gets mugged only for the thief to go on to shoot Uncle Ben, a science experiment drives another guy insane, and so on. But take out all the color and joy, make out-of-costume Peter an insufferable shit, and add in a bunch of cringy Twilight romance, so people can't say we totally recycled the first film."

Sony Executive 1: "BRILLIANT."