The Hudsonian Welcomes SPIDER-MAN (‘s) HOMECOMING

Now this is a villain! Much better than in the comics.

by Joshua Hudson

(This article contains spoilers!)

So I’m totally just now getting around to reviewing Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s been a crazy last couple of weeks. But the good news is that most everyone has seen it by now so, yeah, all the spoilers ahead shouldn’t bother you, right?

As far as I’m concerned, Homecoming was absolutely fantastic. I’ve seen it a couple of times, and the comedy holds up beautifully. Sure, we’ve seen every kind of incarnation with Spider-Man already – he’s been in high school and in college and his Uncle Ben died and had a profound effect on his life – but the writers still found a way to make this different.

They skipped over the origin story (thank GOD!) and just focused on Peter as a sophomore in high school, learning how to be a hero. What Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films did was gloss over a lot of this. Parker was done with high school before the midpoint of Raimi’s first movie, and all we saw was a series of shots of him learning how to be a hero.

Just because you have superpowers doesn’t mean you’re going to know how to use them right out of the gate. From beginning to end, Homecoming showed that as great as Peter was, he was flawed as a hero – as a teenaged hero. But that was okay because he was still having fun and enjoyed helping people, which pulled us as the audience along for the ride.

After watching all of the trailers and seeing a heavy dose of Tony Stark, I was happy to see he had only a few scenes in the movie. They were just enough for us to know Parker is firmly a part of the MCU as a whole, but, yeah, essentially they replaced Uncle Ben with Stark. As a fanboy, this irked me, but it worked for this film and I wasn’t totally upset because we’ve already seen the Uncle Ben thing play out anyway.

This time around we get Parker looking at Stark as a father figure and learning how to be a hero. And Aunt May definitely makes her presence known as played by Marisa Tomei. I’ve heard of a deleted scene which I thought would’ve been great, but without knowing where it fitted in, I’m not sure how I would’ve felt seeing it. In a nutshell, the scene shows May doing something heroic in front of Peter, which could’ve easily served as fuel to his heroic fire.

Michael Keaton as The Vulture was arguably one of the better villains in the MCU, right up there with Loki in my opinion. In terms of previous Spider-Man only film villains, I’d rank him second behind Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock. What makes both so great is their relationship with Parker. Vulture’s connection is shown late (and even I didn’t see that coming), but his attitude throughout the film really made you feel for him. The Vulture wasn’t someone that wanted to be a bad guy. Circumstances dictated it, and he had a family to look after. That’s the type of baddie that plays really well.

The fight scenes were done well. I’ve heard some of my friends say there wasn’t enough. I disagree. It’s easy for a director or storyteller to want to put a lot of action into a script simply because it’s an action movie. But this is also a coming of age story for Parker. The writing here gave us action that moved Parker’s journey along, and the final scene was an exclamation point on his ascension to respected hero. Could the action have been better shot and edited? Yes, but I’ve never seen a film where that couldn’t be said.

Parker’s high school classmates were great. Some longtime fans may be mad about casting choices because in the comics, everyone is white and there’s no ethnicity. Did you know that in today’s New York City over 60% of the population is black, brown, or Asian?

This film added diversity to just about EVERYONE. Liz is half Black, Ned looks hispanic, Flash IS Hispanic. I don’t think it took away from any of their comic book origins. Personality-wise, Flash was still a bully, just not a football jock bully, so I was okay with it. And if they ever decide to make him Venom, that’ll be really interesting. My only beef was with Zendaya’s character, Michelle because…

!!!SPOILER!!!

At the very end, it’s revealed that Michell’s “friends” call her M.J. This was a complete cop out by the writers (there seem to be about a dozen of them so forgive me for not naming them here) and director Jon Watts. Michelle Jones, or whatever her last name is, is NOT the M.J. we all know and love. If you wanted ditch the red haired Anglo girl look, fine. But why not at least keep Mary Jane’s name? Nothing against Zendaya. I thought she was great actually. I just felt that as a comic book fan, I’d kind of been  insulted

The introduction of Aaron Davis (The Ultimate Universe Prowler), Mac Gargon (The Scorpion), Herman Schultz (The Shocker) and Mason (The Tinkerer) all fitted well in the story. Each villain served a purpose. This as a case where “too many villains” worked because Spidey didn’t have to fight them all. And that’s okay. What we have now is a great set-up for future Spider-Man movies, and I’m curious to see their next move.

Bottomline: Go see Spider-Man Homecoming. It’s terrific, and a much needed refresher on the MCU as a whole. As long as Sony doesn’t screw up their side of the Spider-Man mythos (Black & Silver featuring Black Cat and Silver Sable, Venom, et al), I think there’s a lot of potential here for great stories.


Joshua Hudson is a producer, writer, and actor. Find out more about him at Hudsonian Productions. Thanks, Josh!

The Hudsonian’s GLOWing Review

Gotta love GLOW, if for no other reason than Marc Maron looks and sounds like a younger (i.e., middle-aged) Stan Lee

Glow Season 1 Review
by Joshua Hudson

(This article contains spoilers!)

Doesn’t the word “comedy” mean I should be laughing? Why do people think that because a show runs for a half hour that it automatically means it’s supposed to be funny? Or better yet, when you only write one legitimate joke and pack the rest of the script full of awkward moments, why would you say your show is a comedy?

This was my initial impression of GLOW, or Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the latest in the Hollywood trend of shaming original ideas for tired concepts and reboots of classics. Through four episodes, this show had little to nothing to offer me. The actors are great and as someone who watched wrestling growing up, I had to see how the first season would play out. Episode five finally made me laugh. Once.

How can that mean this show is a comedy?!?!

I’m struggling to find that meaning. Meanwhile, here’s what you need to know about GLOW, especially if you’re old enough to remember the original: In this series, Gorgeous Ladies, um, Wrestle. Yeah.

Episode five introduces more of the wrestling the show touts. Yes, it took five episodes to get these ladies wrestling outside of wrist locks and the occasional clothesline. But when they start wrestling and showing off moves, it felt like I was watching 80s WWF. It was cheesy, gimmicky, and downright enjoyable. The personas were so stereotypical that social justice warriors will have a field day with it. To that I offer this: lighten up. It was the 80s for crying out loud!

The show also got funnier. Like, I found myself laughing at some of the gimmicks and even some of the dialogue. (Still not enough to categorize as a comedy, but I’m tired of fighting that battle.)

Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin as Ruth and Debbie truly carry this show. Their story, packed full of exciting drama that can make you love and hate them both throughout the season, is awesome. And Marc Maron as Sam brought a dry, lethargic sense of energy to compliment all the moving parts. Crazy to think on the surface, but it works. I promise.

If you have patience, give it a try. If you don’t, it’s not exactly groundbreaking television so you’re not missing anything. But if you like wrestling, definitely check it out as episodes 5 through 10 will bring a smile to your face.

NOTE FROM LB: I too have watched all of  GLOW. But my perceptions differ from Josh’s.

I didn’t expect it to be funny because it’s done by the same women who do Orange is the New Black, which also seems to me to be a so-called comedy in spite of having very few laughs.

I loved the first episode of the series because wrestling be damned –  it was dead on about showbiz and the personalities in it, especially Mark Maron’s director character. For me, the series gets weaker as it goes along, but I stuck with it for the ’80s feeling it duplicated so well…and was rewarded by the big Episode 10 finale, which totally overwhelmed me because of all the perfectly orchestrated heroic moments of “victory” for the group of dauntless young women.

Another thought re the “Where’s the funny? problem here. I seldom find any of today’s new “comedies” funny. I think that in our current cultural climate we have to redefine the word into something more Shakespearean. Shakespeare’s comedies weren’t very funny either. They were called comedies simply because they weren’t tragedies. They had happy endings. Their protagonists didn’t die. So it is with GLOW. 

In other words, even if you don’t like wrestling, I think you should give GLOW a try for a very basic human reason: It’ll make you feel good. And feeling good isn’t something we come by all that easily these days.


Joshua Hudson is a producer, writer, and actor. Find out more about him at Hudsonian Productions. Hi, Josh!