Spider Man & Baby Driver – a non-review

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I’ve actually been going to the cinema again lately, believe it or not. In the last week, I’ve been to see Spider Man: Homecoming and Baby Driver, and tonight I’ve got tickets to see Dunkirk. I don’t normally feel the urge to write about films anymore, but I miss blogging, so here are a few thought about the former two. This is by no means a review, or even a complete summary of what I thought about the films, but if you want then feel free to have a read (and let me know in which ways I’m wrong, if you’re so inclined).

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Spider Man: Homecoming

I liked Spider Man, but the amount of hype it’s getting baffles me a bit.  I was skeptical for a while because I think there have been way too many iterations of spider man in a way too short time period, but the hype surrounding it (and some poor scheduling on my part) culminated in me going see it last weekend, and it was alright.

Tom Holland was great, I think that’s my main takeaway. The acting was good overall, but I’m not sure the writing was. Only a few of the jokes landed for me, and in my screening people didn’t really laugh that much. I am of two minds about this; on the one hand, you do want to laugh at the jokes they want you to laugh at, and as such it falls a bit flat when you don’t. On the other hand, I kind of liked how mundane a lot of the high school environment was. It gave you the impression of being dropped into the everyday life of a teen in high school, and aside from the obvious super hero aspect, it didn’t feel like the usual heightened reality that you often get in those scenarios in film. But I digress.

It was an alright film. It could have done with less Tony Stark, more Zendaya, and maybe a slightly shorter playtime. And what’s with everything being so technologically enhanced in superhero films these days? Like, I get that there was humour in Peter not being able to work his suit properly, but it kind of made me miss when superheroes couldn’t depend on 600 (?) different ways of using spider web as a weapon. I enjoy parts of the MCU, and Tom Holland was good enough to make me want to watch the inevitable sequel, but this is not super high on my list of MCU films.

 

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Baby Driver

This was the antithesis to Spider Man, in that I was really excited to go see it and it was not at all what I expected. To be fair, I had not seen the trailer and all I knew was that it had a musical element to the editing. There were so many great things about this film.

The music and the sound editing, obviously. Some of the scenes were so meticulously edited to suit the beats of the soundtrack that it gives me secondhand exhaustion just to think about the work that went into it, but also makes me really appreciate the result. I love how diverse the soundtrack is, with a whole range of genres and a lot of pretty obscure tracks that let you enjoy the way the music enhances the story and action, rather than get caught up in the familiarity of the song (or at least that’s how it was for me).

I enjoyed the story, although the format definitely surpassed the content in this case. I also liked that it was a different take on the heist genre, where the focus was on character and the movie mostly sidestepped the actual heist elements and focused on the getaway process. I saw someone compare the film to a cross between Grand Theft Auto and La La Land, which made me laugh, but which also feels pretty appropriate. Even Ansel Elgort, who I forever (unfortunately) associate with that scene in Fault in Our Stars where he is non-smoking a cigarette, completely impressed me, and the cast overall was pretty great.

Lastly, after I got back home yesterday I read this quote by Edgar Wright:

“It’s the idea of a main character who is trying to control his own life and the soundtrack of his own life, and when that works it’s joyous and when that doesn’t work it’s debilitating to him. That was just a fascinating idea to me.”

Which basically sums up what I loved about the film. Yes, it had heist elements. Yes, it had a romance plot. But really, the film felt like it was intrinsically about music. And I really appreciated the small touches of reflecting his tinnitus in the film’s sound design, where at times when the music stopped you would hear this incessant ringing sound in its absence. The whole film was really clever, and I appreciate a clever film that is a little bit different than everything else out there.

Maybe I’ll write something up about Dunkirk, maybe I won’t, but please let me know what you thought about Spider Man and Baby Driver, if you feel so inclined!

 

 

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