Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – Movie Review

into the spiderverse

The worlds of superhero movies and superhero comics are not as similar as they seem on the surface. Currently, film studios are all about the “extended universe”, seeing how many different titles and characters they can shove into one franchise (Avengers, X-Men, Justice League), making for an easy way to squeeze a few extra bucks out of their lesser known properties. Comics have this as well, of course. However, they also have something modern movies haven’t really tapped into yet: story one-offs, a chance for a storyteller to create a unique tale and not be constrained by the implications on or from the larger universe. Spider-Verse gets to do just that, while playfully taking on the fun (if convoluted) absurdity of extended superhero universes. Listen, I hear you. “How could we possibly need another Spider-Man movie?” Spider-Verse understands that question and has a take on it. Yes, Peter Parker is here. In fact, there are two Peter Parkers. There’s also a Spider-Woman, a Noir Spider-Man, an anime Spider-Girl/Robot, and a Spider-Pig. At the center though is Miles Morales, an Afro-Hispanic Brooklyn teen who must help these other Spider-People get back to their own planes of existence. He fights with his cop dad, he adores his shady uncle, hates being simply the smartest kid in the room, and just wants to do something that matters. Being Spider-Man wasn’t his idea, but hey, when a radioactive spider gives you powers, what choice do you have? Look, I don’t have any sort of hot take on this movie. It looks great, the humor pops with surprises, the voice casting is beyond perfect. It’s simply a stylishly exciting and refreshingly unique take on the superhero genre, and sometimes that’s more than enough.

 

4 out of 5 stars

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Begin Again (2013) – Movie Review

begin again

Rolling Stone continues to praise pretty much any movie out there that revolves around the music industry (most likely due to its slow departure into oblivion). This particular movie gets it right in a lot of ways though. The perspective of the musicians is true to life and the written music was nominated for an Oscar: it’s some of the best songs written for a movie since Almost Famous. The recording scenes are inspiring and the musical energy is palpable to the audience.

As far as the rest of the movie goes, it’s has warmth and truth in the relationships with great performances–suffering mostly from an inexperienced, yet decent, screenplay writer: it is obvious that this movie was written by a musician and not a novelist.

This movie is great If you’re looking for a romantic comedy that’s easy to watch and isn’t over sexualized to make up for the lack of drama. We all love movies like this: they’re cute and fun and about perseverance in dealing with inadequacy.

 

7 out of 10 stars

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Ender’s Game (2013) – Movie Review

I read this book for the first time as a teenager in high school and found it to be a world of unknown limitations, where rational thought intelligent decisions, and carefully calculated emotions ruled the day guided by a genius mind. The images conveyed in every page of detailed descriptive writing, from the desperation of Valentine losing a 6 year old Ender, to the anguish of Ender, knowing he killed Bonzo, every major emotion was exploited and bared before the reader. The book was too short for what the readers wanted, and left us craving more, both in the continuing back stories such as Ender’s Shadow as well as the deeper philosophical aspects of Xenophobia and those books which followed.

This movie, however, left those of us who eagerly awaited the transition of the novel to the big screen appalled and eager for the lights to come up so we could hastily exit the theater, shaking our heads in utter disappointment at the epic failure that is Ender’s Game: the movie. From the lack of voice-over (the only proper way to explain the large portion of the book told through Ender’s thoughts) to the stilted acting, to the condensation of close to a decade of learning to less than a year, each minute was painful to watch, and even more difficult to swallow. The only thing that could have made this movie more of a disappointment in my book, would have been if it had been not only poorly written and acted, but also lacking in the visual graphics.

I will say, the movie is beautiful to watch, though incorrect according to the descriptions in the book, but at least there’s something nice on the screen that can ease the sting of the tattered shreds of a great story that’s being crammed down your throat…

3 out of 10 stars

 

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