If you’re a fan of the Robert Ludlum/Tom Clancy military espionage thriller genre of novels, you may have discovered Vince Flynn when his literary career took off in the late 1990’s. His main protagonist, Mitch Rapp, is a really interesting creation and I always enjoyed the series which is now being continued by author Kyle Mills since Flynn’s tragic death at only 47. American Assassin is chronologically the first novel in the Rapp series, and the first three trailers for the film adaptation starring Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner) and Michael Keaton is impressive and looks like it could be something to liven up the traditional doldrums of September when it debuts on September 15, 2017.
Michael Keaton was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s and has enjoyed a career renaissance thirty years later. With a stellar resume of both comedic and dramatic roles, Keaton has laid down landmark performances in both the DC (Batman) and Marvel (Vulture) film universes, and his only Oscar nomination came in 2015 from playing a washed-up super hero actor in 2014’s Birdman. He’s been an anchor voice in two Pixar films: Cars and Toy Story 3, and was Tim Burton’s go-to actor before Burton and Johnny Depp mutually ruined each other’s careers. Keaton will be reuniting with Burton for the director’s live-action adaptation of Dumbo for Disney. With dramatic roles in films like The Founder and Spotlight, it would be great if someone could find a showcase for his comedic skills, because Keaton’s timing is a thing of beauty. At any rate, it’s fantastic that Michael Keaton is a big star again. Movies are better for it.
Spider-Man: Homecoming just hit theaters, but already fans are speculating on who the sequel’s villain(s) will be. The answer may lie in Homecoming’s short, but telling mid-credits scene. Obviously, any speculation into the sequel will require delving into spoiler territory for Spider=Man Hmecoming, so if you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Alright, you’ve been warned!
The Origin of the New Sinister Six?
The Staten Island Ferry sequence has been heavily featured in trailers for Homecoming, but the players involved feature some familiar names: Adrian Toomes (Vulture), Mac Gargan (Scorpion), and Herman Shultz (Shocker). Toomes is providing arms to criminals based on Chitauri tech left over from their invasion in the first Avengers film. The ferry sequence is an arms deal that goes horribly wrong, badly injuring Gargan and marks a turning point in Peter’s development as Spider-Man.
In the mid-credits scene, Toomes meets up with a visibly scarred Mac Gargan, who wants some Spider-vengeance, and says he has some friends who want to get in on the action. He also accuses Toomes of knowing who Spider-Man really is (which by that point Toomes does). The Vulture plays his cards close during this encounter, but Peter cost him his family, and he already threatened to kill Parker if he interfered in his business. Peter most definitely interfered, and now Toomes knows there are some like-minded individuals who might share his revenge plans. Sounds like the seeds of a a super-villain team-up have been planted.
Who are the Sinister Six?
First appearing way back in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, The Sinister Six was a super-villain team organized by Dr. Octopus to try to take down the Wall Crawler. The first incarnation featured Ock, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, Sandman, Mysterio and The Vulture. Since then, there have been over a dozen incarnations of the team and Vulture, Shocker and Scorpion have all been members. For his high school years, as he’s still learning his powers, Peter seems to be fighting more minor members of his rogues gallery. Assuming Toomes breaks Gargan and his old crew out in Spider-Man Homecoming 2 be looking at a Sinister Six presumably armed with the type of tech-based weaponry Shocker and Vulture use in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Both character redesigns worked well, and Michael Keaton’s Vulture is a much more menacing adversary than his comic book counterpart. Following that logic, it makes sense that Vulture and Shocker would make up a third of the team with rebuilt, upgraded gear. Two other members present themselves in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which leaves two slots left for two new Spider-foes (possibly the friends Gargan mentions). So who fills out the roster of a new Sinister Six?
Mac Gargan is described in Homecoming as being somewhat unhinged even before he got fried during the ferry incident. In the mid-credits scene, Gargan (played by Better Call Saul‘s Michael Mando) already has a scorpion tattooed on his neck, and seems to want Peter dead as much as Toomes does. First appearing in 1964’s The Amazing Spider-Man #19, Gargan was turned into Scorpion as a part of one of J. Jonah Jameson’s badly planned schemes to expose Spider-Man as a public menace. A redesign on the level of Keaton’s Vulture is definitely in order, but Scorpion could be a very powerful adversary, and Mando’s an outstanding actor to bring him to life. The problem with Gargan is that he is more than a little insane, and he might fight Toomes for leadership of the group.
Phineas Mason first appeared in 1963’s The Amazing Spider-Man #2, and made his MCU debut in Homecoming played by Michael Chernus. The Tinkerer served as Vulture’s engineer, turning Chitauri salvage into various weapons that Toomes and his crew would either use or sell. Mason rarely seeks open combat and prefers to be the tech-guy for a crew. For a Sinister Six made up of non-powered criminals using advanced weaponry, Toomes retaining Mason’s services seems a no-brainer.
That takes care of the characters introduced in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but there are two obvious choices who fit the tone and tech-based theme of this new incarnation of a new Sinister Six from Spidey’s rogues gallery.
There have been several Beetles over the years, but the original-Abner Jenkins-first appeared in 1964’s Strange Tales #123. A talented inventor and mechanic, Jenkins got bored with the 9-to-5 life and cobbled together a suit of armor somewhere in-between Iron Man and the redesigned Vulture from Homecoming. Beetle rarely has success on his own against Spider-Man and often serves as a henchmen in larger criminal organizations like the Sinister Six.
Fred Myers is a close associate of both Shocker and Beetle, and also uses weaponry that could easily be Chitauri-based. Boomerang has also been a member of several incarnations of the Sinister Six. First appearing in 1966’s Tales to Astonish #81, Myers is a native Australian, and former baseball star, drummed out of the majors for accepting bribes. He is traditionally more of a mercenary than someone who has a personal grudge with Spider-Man. He seems the sort of foe that would fall in line behind Toomes and Gargan if the money was right.
If there’s anything that Marvel has proven in the nine years of the MCU it’s that they know their characters better than anyone, and given the chance, no one can make them work like they can. Daredevil, Ghost Rider, The Punisher, Elektra, and any other character maligned by another studio has been fixed under Marvel’s watch, but none of them were rehabbed as dramatically and as quickly as Spider-Man was in Captain America: Civil War. Walking into Civil War, people didn’t know really what to expect from Spider-Man, but they were tired of him. Tired of movies that fell short, tired of actors ridiculously miscast or a decade too old for parts, and SO SO tired of the origin story. People walked out of Civil War, arguably Marvel’s best film, and one of the biggest takeaways was how much fun Spider-Man was in a movie that he really didn’t even seem to belong in. He just appeared and disappeared and we all remembered why he was Marvel’s biggest hero for decades. Spider-Man: Homecoming is an entire film of that vibe from Civil War‘s second act (and explains just how Peter got there and what happened next). It’s quite simply the best all-around Spider-Man film ever made with the best Spider-Man ever cast. It’s not perfect, but Peter’s still learning and Marvel with issue #16 has put down roots for a deep, deep home in the MCU for the webslinger. Continue reading Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) *Welcome Back, Spidey!!!*→
If you’re a fan of the Robert Ludlum/Tom Clancy military espionage thriller genre of novels, you may have discovered Vince Flynn when his literary career took off in the late 1990’s. His main protagonist, Mitch Rapp, is a really interesting creation and I always enjoyed the series which is now being continued by author Kyle Mills since Flynn’s tragic death at only 47. American Assassin is chronologically the first novel in the Rapp series, and the first two trailers for the film adaptation (click here to watch the first) starring Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner) and Michael Keaton is impressive and looks like it could be something to liven up the traditional doldrums of September when it debuts on September 15, 2017.