Spidey Swings Home

After a semi-successful trilogy by Sam Raimi and two over-the-top films from Marc Webb, it seemed like everyone’s neighborhood wall crawler was going to put up the cowl for good, while studios battled over whether Spider-Man should be portrayed as an emo teenager or an emotionally challenged Tobey Maguire. Yet, who would have thought that thirty minutes of Tom Holland donning spandex in Captain America: Civil War was a sign of better things to come? Holland’s performance earned him stripes for his own solo movie in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the title of which references the eponymous high school dance and is symbolic of Spider-Man joining the larger Marvel family owned by Disney. As with anyone who has to interact with new relatives, Homecoming can feel awkward and terse as it attempts to navigate and connect with past films, but once it finds its own footing, the movie flips into high gear. In the end, the latest Spidey excels as a greater extension of the Marvel Universe, and also as a solid stand-alone feature buoyed by a stellar supporting cast, infectious humor and a fresh, contemporary high school setting.

Spotlight Tells the Story Right

When referring to movies, the words “Based on true events” often don’t carry much weight. All too regularly, films labeled as true stories are littered with clichés or dramatic moments that could not possibly have happened in reality. With this in mind, Spotlight is a breath of fresh air — an engrossing story that doesn’t resort to overused narrative tricks and, therefore, feels one hundred percent real. The film’s title refers to The Boston Globe division that investigated the widespread molestation of children by Catholic priests in Boston and the subsequent cover-up by the archdiocese. As The Globe’s reporters methodically uncover details of the scandal, we don’t see violent threats from parties opposing the newspaper or a writer emphatically throwing a chair in an outburst of frustration.