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New Escapist Column! On “Spider-Man: No Way Home” As An Unlikely Divorce Movie…

I published a new column at The Escapist yesterday. With the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the film.

No Way Home is technically Tom Holland’s sixth film the role of Peter Parker. So it’s interesting that No Way Home effectively puts his version of the character through the standard narrative beats of a Spider-Man origin story. In many ways, No Way Home feels like it’s a movie that is aiming for a clean start and fresh break. It also feels like something of a divorce movie between Sony and Marvel Studios. The movie opens with Aunt May dumping the director of Iron Man, and the film seems eager to announce that it is living its best life. The first thing that it does is to hit up some of its exes.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! “Spider-Man: No Way Home Is the Year’s Best Nostalgia Play – Review”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute film review of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is in cinemas now.

New Escapist Column! On the Tangled Ethics of “Spider-Man: No Way Home”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. This weekend marks the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, so it seemed like a good idea to take a look at the movie’s big themes and ideas.

On the surface, No Way Home feels a lot like recent nostalgia plays like Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker and Ghostbusters: Afterlife, in that it’s very much an appeal to the memory of a pop culture object. However, No Way Home has certain advantages over these movies, in that it’s a film that seems to be trying to be about more than just recycled imagery. However, it never seems like No Way Home is entirely sure what exactly it is about and what exactly it is trying to say about that.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On the Whole “Lord of the Rings” as an Extended Ending…

I published a new column at The Escapist today. This week, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, we’re taking a look back at the trilogy as a whole. We’ll be publishing three articles looking at the films, one each day. This is the third and final of the pieces.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is typically criticised for having too many endings. However, that is oddly appropriate. The entire trilogy is an extended ending. It’s a story about the end of a magical age, about how nothing lasts forever and how everything eventually fades into history. Frodo and his allies are fighting to save Middle-Earth from Sauron, but the films make it very clear that the world’s days are numbered.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On What Makes “The Two Towers” the Best “Lord of the Rings” Movie…

I published a new column at The Escapist yesterday. This week, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, we’re taking a look back at the trilogy as a whole. We’ll be publishing three articles looking at the films, one each day. This is the second.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is the most interesting film in the trilogy, in large part because it’s neither beginning nor ending of this epic saga. It is instead the story about what it feels like to exist in the middle of this epic struggle between good and evil, feeling small and powerless as the forces move around. It’s the most human of the films in the trilogy, the most nuanced, the most complicated. It is the only film that really lets shades of grey creep into the mix of its epic black-and-white morality.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

 

New Escapist Column! On How Only Peter Jackson Could Have Made the “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy…

I published a new column at The Escapist yesterday. This week, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, we’re taking a look back at the trilogy as a whole. We’ll be publishing three articles looking at the films, one each day. This is the first.

Most films are minor miracles. It is remarkable that films get made at all, let alone that many of them turn out to be good. This is particularly true of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which seemed like an impossible assignment. At the time, Peter Jackson seemed like the most unlikely of directors to successfully adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfilmable epic. However, in hindsight, it seems impossible to imagine that anybody except Jackson could have brought the film to life.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “The Green Knight” As the Year’s Best Christmas Movie…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With Christmas fast approaching, it seemed as good a time as any to take a look at the year’s best new Christmas movie.

The Green Knight can make a claim to being a Christmas movie just in terms of setting. It is a movie that unfolds primarily across two consecutive Christmases. However, its festive themes run deeper than that. I n many ways, The Green Knight is an exploration of the clash between pagan belief systems and Christian theologies that speaks to the central tension of the holiday. This isn’t just a Christmas movie, it is in some ways, a movie about Christmas.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On Deconstruction of the “Matrix” Sequels…

I published a new column at The Escapist yesterday. With the looming release of The Matrix Resurrections, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at The Matrix and its two sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

The Matrix is one of the great “Chosen One” narratives of the late nineties, and a film that had a profound cultural impact. Its legacy is surprisingly controversial, and that makes the two sequels to the film particularly interesting. Both Reloaded and Revolutions play as a response to the themes and ideas of The Matrix, picking apart the “Chosen One” narrative and the easy “us vs. them” binary. In contrast, Reloarded and Revolutions explore how that sort of mythmaking is often part of larger systems of oppression.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “The Last Duel”, “Dune”, “The Green Knight”, and Being the Hero of One’s Own Story…

I published a new column at The Escapist at the weekend. With the release of Dune and The Last Duel on home media, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the overlap between the two films, along with The Green Knight.

All three stories are recognisable as traditional epics, medieval or pseudo-medieval adventures featuring men who perceive themselves to be the heroes of their own narratives. However, all three films cleverly interrogate that idea of story and narrative, asking what it means to be the hero of one’s own story and who gets to control the narrative. It’s a fascinating and interesting trend, and it’s notable that all three films premiered within a few months of each other.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On What Three More “Spider-Man” Movies Might Mean For the MCU…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With reports that Sony have plans for another trilogy of movies built around Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, it felt like a good time to reflect on what that might mean.

After all, most Marvel Cinematic Universe properties seem to be content with trilogies. Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans tapped out after three films. There is some suggestion that directors James Gunn and Peyton Reed may be done with their properties after completing their third films. So it’s interesting to imagine a world where Tom Holland has headlined six solo Spider-Man movies. What challenges might this pose for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What opportunities?

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.