02 July 2019

Celebrate Midsummer with Spider-Man

And Midsommar (2019)! Last year Ari Aster showed us new levels of terror and emotionally draining depression with Hereditary. Now it's time to him to take a light romp through the weird Swedish summer festivals. Oh, and also a new Spider-Man movie.

I'm actually pretty excited for both of these. Aster is an exciting young director who is already building a cult following. The sophomore picture will really determine whether he becomes a Yorgos or an M. Night. Either way, this should come full circle and he'll be able to direct a Marvel movie soon.

Def more crowd pleasing than Spider-Man
Everything about Midsommar looks like classic Wicker Man stuff ('73 or '06, take your pick. TOTALLY EQUAL FILMS). Pagan holiday, the veneer of family festivals masking the darkness within. It's apparently got a handful of comedic elements that you'd have to be totally insane to laugh at. Since this is an Ari Aster film, you have to be totally insane to watch it to begin with, so that works pretty well.

It's hard to unpack much more than that. I do enjoy the fact that the movie is actually coming out right at the mid-summer date and should be good counter-programming for people who don't want to see animated toys or spandex swinging. Hereditary did surprisingly well, although a lot of that was more word of mouth and the simple fact that good horror is so rare people flock to see it (although it's becoming more common). You'd think that with that in his back pocket now, Midsommar would do even better, although the marketing belies a subtler, subdued horror, if horror at all. It's not quite as apparent as Hereditary, which could bank off itself, not just its director. And let's face it, there ultimately isn't Chris Nolan-level director worship for Ari Aster. Yet!

I can't really see this doing that well. There's no real big names in the cast (Will Poulter maybe?), an obscure premise, and nothing that really screams must-see horror. It's also two and a half hours long for some reason. Still, it ought to at least make its budget back. I will totally watch it, though, and you should too! We need more films that are content with being good movies that make their money back.

Then we have Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). There's a lot riding on this one. Not only is it Jon Watts' follow up to the wonderful Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), but it's coming hot off the heels of both Captain Marvel (2019) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Dropping three movies in four months is audacious on Disney's part, but they've all been crowd-pleasing so it works so far.

Will it be minnows, guppies, or the classic goldfish?
While Endgame gave us all kinds of catharsis and finality, that very finality left a few doors open for our newer Avengers to deal with - one of the biggest being Spider-Man's relationship with Tony Stark. No one really seems to care that it has no basis in the comics, which once again goes to show that you can actually change whatever you want from the source material as long as the end movie turns out good. And after a string of really terrible Spider-Man movies, Homecoming was a great, clever addition.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) came out fifteen years ago this past Sunday (a date forever burned in my brain - I watched it twice on opening day) and for better or worse I've internally canonized it as the greatest superhero film ever. An underrated element to all this is that Spider-Man has so many bonkers villains that they have yet to use the same one twice, besides Harry Osborn. And they still haven't touched Kraven, Carnage, Stegron, or Swarm!

That's right folks, we finally get a little Mysterio. And this damn movie better end up with Mysterio being the big bad guy. He's got to, right? Him masquerading as the hero before showing how insane he is is the premise for every Mysterio story ever. Then again, as I said, if it's a good movie, no one will care. The issue right now is that I've already crafted a story in my head of Mysterio's illusions and deception that I know I'm going to be disappointed when the movie makes a left turn. Oh well.

Mysterio is one of my favorite villains. He's weird, has a big fishbowl, and can definitely manipulate the fabric of reality, which is always waved away as "Hollywood Special Effects." It makes no sense. But he's also one of the more psychologically damaging villains in Spidey's Rogue Gallery, preferring to defeat Spider-Man by convincing him he has no powers or to trick Wolverine into killing the X-Men. Old Man Logan really elevated Mysterio in to the A-level.

So Jake Gyllenhaal  has a lot to live up to. We'll see. Still waiting on some kind of Sinister Six move, which at this point will truly never happen. Rumours abound of Venom making the jump to the MCU. Why does everyone except fans hate Venom? Let's take him, Vulture, Mysterio, Shocker, Scorpion, and then add an MCU Doctor Octopus to round out the team. You got your dumbass B-listers Shocker and Scorpion for Spidey to beat early on, Venom can go nuts and rogue half-way, and then the rest are legit threats. Perfect. Perfect movie. Spider-Man 3: Home of the Sinister Six (2021). Put it in the bag, Feige, I've got plenty more.

So what are you watching this weekend? Padding the pocketbook of the Disney juggernaut or watching weird Pagan Summer Fest movies? Leave a comment below!

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