I stared the morning with a bird hovering at my living room window. Sparrow? Starling? It was hard to tell because of the contrast of low light inside and overcast outside. Plus I don’t know bird breeds, so there’s that. But it just sort of hovered there. This was a little after 5:30 a.m. and it started me. I woke early because I went to bed early last night. I had considered staying up after putting the kids to be to watch the Maya Angelou American Masters from PBS, which I checked out of the library last week. I’m interested in it, even though I’ve never actually read any Angelou, mostly because I like docs and bios about writers’ lives regardless of how well I know their work. But I figured going to bed early would make me feel better today, and these days that’w what I’m aiming for: consistent rest to help maintain measure in my moods and emotions. In any case, the bird hovered there, looking in. It banged against the glass twice as though it wanted to come inside and then was gone. Kind of freaky, like the Daphne Du Maurier story that Hitchcock based his Birds film on. The story was also called “The Birds,” and I’m citing it here because the story was a lot more frightening than the movie. It begins with portents like that, birds appearing in places they shouldn’t be. And I thought, maybe I shouldn’t go to work. But obviously that was a joke. The part of me that’s superstitious generally gets overridden by the part that’s ration. And I’d already scheduled a half day to begin with because I had plans to see Spider-man: Homecoming with a friend at noon.

The movie was good, though I’m probably not as apeshit positive about it as most people I’ve heard talk about it. I liked the teen movie vibe they were going for, since I’m a sucker for a good teen movie. Solid humor. But the saving grace, because the movie had some major flaws, was its casting. The performances saved it, particularly Michael Keaton, who masked the fact that the villain for Spidey’s first Marvel outing was flat, dull, boring. They tried to parallel Keaton’s Vulture with Tony Stark by having him be an arms dealer, but the character wasn’t developed enough to make me really feel it when Keaton gives his heavy-handed “I’m just doing what your buddy is doing, but he’s rich and it’s okay and they call me a criminal because I’m not” speech. To be fair, some of what he’s saying makes sense, and Michael Keaton sells it. But it’s too little, too late to be really effective.

Then, of course, everything was happening so fast in the plot from that point forward, everything was so glossy and flash that I’m not sure it occurs to most people watching that there’s nothing at stake in the climax but a bunch of armaments (and Happy Hogan’s job). Honestly, Vulture is trying to steal Avengers’ tech from an unmanned Stark Enterprises plane, and Spider-man is trying to stop him to save his sense of self-worth and prove he’s a hero, and…wait, why am I supposed to care? By intervening, in fact, Spider-man puts even more people at risk. And by even more people, I mean, when the plane is in the air, it’s only him at risk, but once he intervenes, his fight with Vulture causes damage to the plane which causes it to veer back toward Coney Island, and pretty much everyone there is then at risk.

So, yeah, the film was flawed from a story perspective, probably more deeply than is evident on a first viewing, but I still had a good time because it’s a summertime popcorn movie and it delivers on that end. I just don’t think it’s as memorable or worthy of celebration as the hype machine has it. Which I know makes it sound like I’m shitting on it, but I’m not. My friend who I saw it with made a comment during the previews that none of the upcoming movies they showed us were original, but were all sequels or adaptations of previously existing material. I pointed out that’s a funny critique to make when we just signed on to watch the sixth Spider-man movie, but I was feeling what he was saying too. Last time I was pleasantly surprised in the theater by an original movie was Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson. Though I also liked some of the award winners I’ve seen from last year, like Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea and Arrival, and that’s becoming increasingly rare since I don’t tend to like most Academy Award nominees of recent years. Most of Hollywood’s “important topic” movies are just as formulaic as their comic book franchises. Yes, I realize I’m sort of becoming one of those obnoxious “I only like documentaries and foreign pictures” type of film fans, but…I don’t think that’s my fault. I think it’s the fault of the execs and producers who are making such unimaginative dreck.

In any case, when the movie was over, I walked back to the city in a light drizzle, and by the time I got to the station, my foot was aching. The cut from last night looks to be healing up well. After all, I keep washing with soap and water and putting on antibacterial cream, but the toe itself is pretty bruised up. Guess I learned my lesson to not run out in the rain in bare feet. Shouldn’t complain I suppose. Could have been worse. Kind of tired now, so I guess I’ll sign off. Came home with a headache from the movies. That sometimes happens with a mid-day movie. Ate dinner and gave the kids baths and now chilling. Maybe I’ll watch that Maya Angelou joint tonight. We’ll have to see how I feel.