Marvel spins first-rate Spider-Man entry film into MCU

Marvel spins first-rate Spider-Man entry film into MCU

The third time really is the charm with the latest Spider-Man saga. Spider-Man Homecoming is just what the fans wanted. It’s the nerdiest, and best, Spider-Man film to date, reaching $117 million at the box office opening weekend. Only Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 have made more this year. The story opens right where Captain America: Civil War left off. This Spider-Man retelling doesn’t start from the beginning with Peter Parker’s legendary spider bite, but rather it covers a very specific time in Peter’s life as a 15-year-old highschooler, specifically during Homecoming season. Tom Holland is the Spider-Man comic book readers know and remember — epitomizing the kid inside the suit that made Spider-Man the unique superhero that he is. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark also brings a solid performance, serving as somewhat of a father figure to Peter Parker. Although the new souped-up Spidey suit Stark gifts Peter with is a little off-putting, as it seems the suit’s technology simply makes him into a mini-Iron Man, Holland still manages to show Spider-Man as his own, unique hero. Marisa Tomei, on the other hand, is quite different from the Aunt May readers will remember in the comic books. She’s more like a big sister to Peter, and Peter a kid brother. But it works. Gwen Stacy will forever be Peter Parker’s true love, and Emma Stone’s performance as Gwen opposite Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) is still the best portrayal of Spider-Man’s infamous other half, but Michelle (Zendaya) looks like a promising potential love interest in the next chapter of the Spider-Man...
Minions take backseat in wacky, tired ‘Despicable Me 3’

Minions take backseat in wacky, tired ‘Despicable Me 3’

Oh brother — the Despicable Me franchise is back yet again with Despicable Me 3, and this time Gru has a long-lost twin brother, Dru. Despicable Me 3 is familiar yet fun at the same time. There’s the recognizable plot line of a long-lost twin when Gru (Steve Carell) finds out he has a twin brother, Dru (Carell), supervisor of the family pig business, which is merely a coverup for the ancient family history of villainy, much to Gru’s surprise. The two brother supervillains (or superheroes?) out on a quest together, mixed in with Gru’s three daughters’ amusing antics and his new wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) discovering her role as a mom to the girls, makes for an absolutely madcap romp through Fredonia and the world of heroes and villains. Despite the critically unsuccessful Minions movie, the love-’em or hate-’em yellow fellows return, bent on returning to the glory days when Gru was a villain; therefore, they tempt Gru to try to push him back to his old ways before abandoning him when he refuses. The film starts with Gru and Lucy on a chase to stop Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a former 80’s kid star seeking revenge on Hollywood after his TV show “Evil Bratt” was unceremoniously cancelled when he entered his teen years. For his evil plan, Bratt borrows an episode from his show which involves stealing the world’s largest diamond to destroy Hollywood. Gru, a changed man — and now a family man, for that matter — wants to stop this atrocity and employs the help of his twin, Dru. Meanwhile, the girls, Lucy and the...
Sound Emporium allows Lipscomb students to make their mark in its iconic history

Sound Emporium allows Lipscomb students to make their mark in its iconic history

Just down the road from Lipscomb University on Belmont Boulevard, the Sound Emporium holds a deep music history — a history that Lipscomb is now privileged to be a part of too. Last month, the Sound Emporium was gifted to Lipscomb by former Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn as part of his $15 million donation to Lipscomb, the largest in school history. Lipscomb’s College of Entertainment and the Arts will now bear Shinn’s name, renamed the “George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts.” The Sound Emporium has housed acclaimed artists varying from Johnny Cash to Trisha Yearwood to Kenny Chesney. Lipscomb’s School of Music Academic Chair, Donna King, hopes this rich history will benefit Lipscomb students as they integrate into the workings of the studio this fall. “It’s kind of a pioneering venture,” King said, “because Lipscomb is not taking over the running of a studio and turning it into a Lipscomb studio and a student studio. I think what we’re doing is actually better; we’re sort of coming into partnership with this historic, active studio that is still very actively making recordings.” Lipscomb’s contemporary music program is just in its third year of existence, and King said a gift of this magnitude was never expected so early on in the program. Charlie Peacock, the school of music director, is an active Nashville songwriter and producer and has been for several decades. Peacock is currently on leave, but will be directing Lipscomb’s integration with the studio for the upcoming school year. “It’s very difficult for a young program like ours . . . we would be thinking...
‘Cars 3’ is nostalgic close to ‘Cars’ trilogy

‘Cars 3’ is nostalgic close to ‘Cars’ trilogy

With a star-studded cast and an already large fan-base, Cars 3 is speeding into theaters. Lightning McQueen fans will buzz with excitement from the high energy movie. Before the film, a new Pixar Short was released called, “Lou.” This short film was written and directed by Dave Mullins and follows the school bully in learning to share by an unseen monster in the lost and found box. After this, the energetic opening scene to Cars 3 showed a daring Lightning McQueen zooming around the race track with a cheering crowd, closely followed by his friendly competitors. Suddenly, a new type of race car appears, taking over all the races and pushing the older cars into retirement. McQueen spends the rest of the film fighting for his rightful place within the racing community, refusing to give up what he loves the most. Long-time Cars fan Sinney Chan noted that one of the film’s best aspects was its focus on female and minority empowerment. “They added in a female statistical analyst and pushed the main female character, Cruz, into the racing spotlight. This made me really happy to see, and I hope a lot of younger girls got the message.” Upon release, the third Cars movie is already expected to hit the box office hard with around $60 million from 3,900 theaters in its opening weekend. The production of this film, directed by Brian Fee, started in the summer of 2014, and the previous director, John Lasseter, promised an emotional tone to the film. The beautiful landscape animation mixed with the touching plot line allowed for Lasseter’s promise to come true. As...
DC finally gets it right with ‘Wonder Woman’

DC finally gets it right with ‘Wonder Woman’

Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air in a line of previously underwhelming DC films. Gal Gadot stars as the Amazon princess crafted by clay — her performance a triumphant achievement in portraying such an iconic character. Gadot brings both a strength and beauty to Princess Diana, who exhibits a relentless drive and desire to embrace her heroism rather than run from it. The origin story hearkens to the original classic superhero films such as Christopher Reeve’s Superman, and also somewhat parallels Marvel’s Captain America with its World War focus. The story is not particularly unique, but its emphasis on providing a heroine who the “world of men do not deserve” is new in such a male-dominated genre. The tale begins with Wonder Woman as young Princess Diana growing up on a peaceful island of only Amazon women who are adept at fighting and protecting their utopian community — a stark contrast to the way women are treated when Diana arrives in World War I London on a mission to stop the war. Gadot does an excellent job of mixing worldly innocence with classic superhero charm and skill once arriving in London, with Chris Pine portraying her sidekick and love interest, Captain Steve Trevor. Pine and the rest of the cast do an admirable job, but their respective characters remain flat and stereotypical, one of the few weaknesses of the film. Behind the camera is Patty Jenkins, who directs an atypical DC film focused on story, preferring to show the horror of war and fighting instead of its glorification. This is not to say that Wonder Woman’s fight...
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ may be best movie of summer

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ may be best movie of summer

If Guardians of the Galaxy fans were hoping for a worthy sequel, they’ve got it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might not be a classic like the first movie, but it definitely is worth watching, and viewers will leave the theater smiling and satisfied with many unanswered questions finally answered. The film opens with the Guardians – Star-Lord (aka Peter Quill), Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Baby Groot hired to protect precious batteries owned by a powerful and elite alien race, the Sovereign, from a space monster. When Rocket steals some of the batteries, the Guardians then find themselves on the run from the Sovereign. Along the way, Peter’s father finally reveals himself. Remember in the first movie when Peter (spoiler) is able to hold an Infinity Stone without dying? Moviegoers finally have the answer as to why that is possible when Ego (Kurt Russell) arrives. Even though this is a superhero movie, the real theme throughout the Marvel masterpiece is finding your family — and who truly is your family. Drax says it best: they’re not friends (as Nebula calls them), they are family. This movie isn’t just about saving the Galaxy after all; it’s about realizing that sometimes what you’ve been searching for your whole life is right in front of you. On a less-serious note, fans will absolutely love the way the characters have developed since the first movie. Baby Groot is adorable and is the tiny hero that the Guardians never realized they needed. Drax is funnier in this movie as well and has opened up a lot more to everyone. Gamora has also softened...