By Brock Mackinnis, Thomas Henbeck, Will Kamps & Elsie McElroy
While the rest of the world is focused on the adventures of Doctor Strange and his mad multiverses, Spider-Man has swung his way to the Christie Theatre in the University Union at UW-Green Bay.
From May 6th to May 8th, the Christie Theatre showed Spider-Man: No Way Home twice per day. Stephanie Kaponya, the Program Coordinator, and April Bub, the Phoenix Club coordinator, gave insight into Cheapseat’s selection process and a glimpse into its future.
Essentially, Cheapseats gets a certain sum of money from the Union and will approach UW-Green Bay Union student workers. From there, the supervisors provide the student workers with a list of movies that have the capability of getting shown on campus and rate which ones they would want to see. Bub stated, “So the students get to pick what they want to see on campus.”
While there are no restrictions in terms of content, as Cheapseats have shown horror films, such as the 2018 film The Quiet Place, and R-rated movies, like the 2021 Matrix: Resurrections, there are hidden roadblocks that affect the movie selection. The primary limitation that the Student Programs experiences is copyright issues. “We have to wait until a certain date after [the movie] gets out of theatres before we can even show it,” Bub explained. Kaponya further elaborated other restrictions, such as being unable to show movies from paid streaming services to the public and licensing costs, as new movies and certain classics “…cost $850 per premium license.”
COVID-19 also heavily affected Cheapseats and its engagement with the students. “There used to be a lot more people coming to [Cheapseats movies], and these used to be every week, instead of every month…So, there were a lot more students and a lot more movies being shown every semester,” Bub said. Olivia Ryan, a graduating Communications senior, stated, “I have noticed that since Covid [Cheapseats] hasn’t been as popular…”
According to Kaponya, COVID-19 had also drastically affected the movie industry, which in turn affected Cheapseats’ reception. “Before COVID-19, we had a larger pool of movies to choose from,” Kaponya explained. When it came down to selecting movies this year, Cheapseats found itself only having a few movies that could even be shown in a month’s span. For one month during this school year, there were only two options: Matrix Resurrections or House of Gucci. Zero people attended Matrix Resurrections, according to Kaponya.
For Spider-Man: No Way Home, Kapoyna mentioned that there were 35 people who attended the different showings. April Bub and her father, Jonathan Bub, were the only two moviegoers on that Sunday’s 5:00 p.m. showing of Spider-Man. Mr. Bub had never seen Spider-Man: No Way Home in theatre, and considering the price, it was something: “…Cheap to do together,” Mr. Bub said.
But the question becomes if Cheapseats will remain as it currently exists. Kapoyna stated, “Right now, Cheapseats is in limbo.” Cheapseats’ central concept of providing students with opportunities to see movies won’t go away as long as students want to participate in it, but Cheapseats might undergo some revision over the summer. Some alternatives that the Student Programs are considering are providing streaming options for the movies directly to students, renting out the Marcus theaters for blockbusters, or potentially just showing free movies.
Now to shift gears and take a closer look at the film that will close out this school year, the film was surprisingly well-done considering the expectations that this reporter had going into it. Not to say that Marvel movies are low art, but there is certainly a reputation that precedes them. If one were to boil down the film’s core message, it would probably have to be growth. This is the culmination of three movies worth of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker struggling between the youthful school life and the increasingly grown-up situations he must deal with as Spider-Man.
There is a repeated theme throughout the film of Peter being challenged about whether the things he is doing are for the good of the people or for the good of himself. One thing that is most interesting about the character of Peter Parker is that he repeatedly must choose to sacrifice his own personal happiness in order to protect the world and the people he loves. Throughout this film, that particular trait is something that Holland’s Peter gradually learns to accept.
From a technical perspective, the film is on par with your standard Marvel movie in terms of visuals. There are a few standout shots in the film and one beautiful sequence in the third act, but it is all about being on par with what you would expect a Marvel movie to look like. In terms of the script, the film does an excellent job of balancing its large cast of characters. It is Holland’s movie through and through, but each character gets more dimension. Perhaps the most impressive aspect was the writing of the characters from previous Spider-Man films as if they were still being written by the same writer. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is given an impressive amount of depth for the limited screen time that he has, a fact that is most definitely a combination of the script and the actor’s performance coming together beautifully.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is a thrilling movie to watch from start to finish. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and has the strongest emotional arc for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. While it’s no doubt that this is not the last time Holland’s Peter will be seen again, this was a nice way to close out the year of Cheapseats movie releases.