Tag Archives: Spider-Man

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Review

I know exactly what you are thinking: Do we really need more Spider-Man movies?

That question came along when young Tom Holland took on the mantel for last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. In fact, the question came along when Andrew Garfield led the Amazing reboots back in 2012. (Actually, we were pondering the importance of Spider-Man back when the abysmal third film happened and Peter Parker thrusted his crotch at us in big screen glory.)

Regardless, Sony and Marvel have decided that we still haven’t had enough of the web-slinging hero. Or even his world, with action/romantic comedy Venom coming out a mere few months ago.

Despite all this, the animated romp Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is exactly what we need to re-energise the friendly neighbourhood hero.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse revolves around the second person to take on the blue and red spandex mantel in Ultimate Marvel – Miles Morales. The highly-intellectual young boy is caught between his parent’s high expectations as well as wanting to do ordinary youngster things like slack-off or sneak out of his boarding school. When Miles and his Uncle are “vandalising” a disused train station, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider. Confused by the turn of events, Miles goes searching for answers and winds up in the middle of a multi-universe plot that spits out different iterations of Spider-Man. Together, they must put the world back in order.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has three directors, five producers, two screen writers, and stars a whole heap of voice-acting talents as well as several different Spider-People. That’s a lot of plates to keep spinning for nearly two hours of run time. Which it does. Which it does so gloriously well.

The focus on Miles Morales, voiced by Dope’s  Shameik Moore, grounds the Spider-Man legend in a modern day tale. Here is a kid who is caught between many different worlds; a black and Hispanic mix-raced teenager who is smart but also is willing to break the rules, under the influence of his police-officer father and his slacker uncle. A young adult who is thrust into this responsibility and now has several voices urging him to do the right thing. Morales makes a fascinating character to lead this heroic journey. With Moore’s earnestness aiding to an impressive, depth-filled arc, Morales levels up much more than we’ve seen Parker do on screen.

That’s not to say Parker is any less of a character here. In fact, we get two different versions of him on-screen and each comes with their own struggles and plights. Voiced by both Chris Pine and Jake Johnson, it’s easy to see which is used for comedy and who isn’t. The actors play the epitomes part well. Speaking of the voice cast, it’s a stellar one that consists of Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Haliee Steinfield, Kathryn Hahn, Kake Bell, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, and Liev Schrieber.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is imbued with self-referential humour that isn’t afraid to poke fun at even itself. Yet unlike Lord and Miller’s rambunctious films The LEGO Movie or 21 Jump Street, the comedy rarely overrides the heart of the story. So whilst you may laugh at Mulaney’s Spider-Ham, an imitation of classic Warner Bros cartoons, or giggle at the super-serious black and white Spider-Noir (Cage imitating the likes of Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney) there is a substantial amount of emotion as  Morales learns his own important Spider-Man lessons.

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There’s also great action sequences and peril. Utilising the style of Morales’ co-creator Sara Pichelli’s, Spider-Verse is an absolutely spectacle of colour exploration. With animators working on a second a week, the hard-work pays-off here. The inventive explosion of colour is masterfully handled. It’s unique, and highly beautiful. The striking array of scenes is a feast for your eyes.

This review doesn’t do this film much justice, I can honestly tell you that this film is superb. It is beyond the Spider-Man lore, bringing together old familiar beats and brand new ones all at the same time. It’s as good for adults as it is for children, with many people hanging on through a great credit sequence to an impeccable end-credit sting. Every plate is spun amazingly by passionate and determined creators.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is smart, energetic, and visceral….and I cannot wait to watch it again.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now 

Captain America: Civil War – Review

By 2016, we’d been inundated with many, many superhero films.  The increase of spandex loving, power wielding, evil fighting heroes had reached breaking point, much like Deadpool’s great ass in pants. The film industry’s over-reliance on trotting out superheroes to give us an action flick may please a lot of us but it can be wholly infuriating for a regular cinema going who just wants at least one year without Marvel or DC swinging their balls in their faces.

Alas, that is a distant future where robots dictate our viewing schedules (movies about robots.) All is forgiven, however, when  really, really, ridiculously good superhero movies such as Captain America: Civil War come out.

After the disbandment of SHIELD, and the destruction of Sokovia in Age of Ultron, the public damage that the Avengers leave in their wake has caused their usefulness to be brought into question, especially after a mission in Lagos leaves many innocent people dead. When confronted by his conscious, Tony urges all the Avengers to sign up to a government scheme that keeps tabs on superhero affairs. Captain America doesn’t see this as fair, knowing that agendas and those in charge can easily be corrupted. Besides, his friend Bucky has been implemented in a terror attack but when the previous Winter Soldier denies all knowledge, it seems that there is someone else pulling the strings…That isn’t before the heroes start a war….a civil war…

The political landscape and the change in atmosphere for the third Captain America film has changed the trajectory of our most lovable goofy hero into a significant, strong, and allied hero. Whether you are Team Cap or Team Iron Man, the Russo Brother’s allows each side their own pedestal to state their case. Steve Roger’s determination to make this land fair and free, whilst also protecting his metallically armed boyfriend may have Tony’s tin can head rapping against the wall. But equally, Tony’s constant arrogance shows that he is driven by ego, rather than the valid program and when his own priorities shift, he moves with them. This liquid landscape allows the film to keep energised and flowing, deep with themes, semantics, and politics alongside the action.

The likes of Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Sebastian Stan, Paul Rudd, and Scarlett Johansson, all return as their superheroes, respectively (click their name to see who, in case you didn’t know,) and bring a fiery passion to characters who should be cinematic exhausted by now in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That means the writing, direction, and performances are completely in sync to make an arduous two and a half hours seem like a breeze. In fact, you’ll be salivating for more after the credits (and two credit sequences roll,) because everyone still believes in the power of comic book films and brings their circled A game to Civil War.

New faces appear in this third Captain America film such as Martin Freeman and Daniel Bruhl. On opposite sides of the coin, their acting is still impeccable and brings a freshness to the MCU. Yet it is the additions of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa/Black Panther and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man who enter this new heroic film. Though Black Panther is a crucial role, and played wonderfully by Boseman, the former is somewhat watered down in lieu of his origin story outing  (which is amazing, by the way.) The latter, however, is the real joy of the whole film. Tom Holland’s casting as the web-slinging was met with grumblings. We’ve been so used to thirty year olds playing teenagers that the baby-faced Holland seemed a bit jarring. But this is by far the best portrayal of the comic web-slinger on the big screen, adding the right amount of quips and snarky geekiness that made us love the red and blue spider in the first place.

Arguably, Civil War is not as good as Winter Soldier, particularly with twists and a punching ending the predecessor delivered. Civil War suffers from mild pacing issues in the overall set-up as well as a rather cheesy seemingly tacked on ending. It’s also irritating that Team Cap’s philosophies get somewhat sluiced down to Bucky love. However, with strong action sequences, brilliant character development, new introductions, and a lot of well-placed humour (Bucky and Sam’s frenemy relationship is pure gold,) the end result makes you completely gleeful – leaving the cinema exhilarated by superheroes again.

Make sure you watch Captain America: Civil War.
Black Panther is in cinemas now! 

From Spider-Panned to Spider-Man: Our Series Ranking

Today is the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Yes, yes, I can predict that you are all equally bored with the franchise as much as we were but, let me tell you, Homecoming is going to change all that. Thanks to the brilliant antics of one Mr. Tom Holland and director Tom Watts, we’re reunited with our loveable web-slinging hero who happens to do what a spider can.

To celebrate the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, we’re looking at the previous entries in the series and asking which one is the best?

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

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There’s a reason we’ve ranked this the worst film and that’s because it commits the most cardinal sin of cinema: It’s so desperately dull. It’s boring, horrendous, and benign. There isn’t an element here that works in an entertaining way: From Jamie Foxx’s pathetic wet blanket of a character to Dane DeHaan’s sickly villain, the sequel to the second origin story lacks appeal or interest. The only ounce of emotion uttered from this film is through Gwen Stacy’s death which, true, is emotionally performed but, ultimately, it is a singular superb moment coaxed in a bewildering tedious film that utterly wastes its characters and the actors involved.

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

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There is a very good reason I have rated this film higher than ASM2: It’s so fucking and ridiculously entertaining. Yes. It’s sheer buffoonery and tomfoolery but look, look at these series of gifs:

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Please, look at the above, and tell me you abhor this film. While it couldn’t stand up next to the first cinematic outings of good ol’ Spidey, it is ridiculous and hilarious in how entertainingly bad the film is. And hey, remember a time where Tobey Maguire growing a fringe would be the “bad side” of Peter Parker and where Topher Grace was still a thing? It was filled with such pure innocence that populate horrifically awful films such as this. There’s some whopping action scenes, and tender emotional sequences (mainly from Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman,) but, ultimately, this is more re-watchable than ASM2 through sheer captivating awfulness.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

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Writer Jo put it the best way: the Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series is great but Tobey Maguire is somewhat iffy. However, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man is iffy whilst Andrew Garfield is great. Despite bringing the most beloved anti-villain to our screens with Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard. The most perfect element within this series was the chemistry between Garfield’s Parker and one could say it was sad for Garfield and Stone to be wasted in such a manner but seeing as one has an Oscar and the other one a nomination, we’re sure they’ll be just fine.

Spider-Man (2002)

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The first cinematic outing for Spider-Man still stands strong to this day. Though some may mock Maguire’s (I did say it was iffy) performance and it can seem dated 15 year’s on from now, he burst onto the screen with a vibrancy that is still engaging now. Sam Raimi gave us some iconic moments including the upside down kiss in the rain, the very first Uncle Ben shooting (the brilliant, late Cliff Robertson,) and Willem Dafoe’s manic Green Goblin character. Rushing through the New York skyline, Spider-Man swung with a high-octane beat that may make you scoff now with its undoubted corniness but still feels homely and wonderful. There’s also the superb soundtrack from Chad Kroeger’s Hero to Sum 41’s What We’re All About, as well as Danny Elfman’s engrossing score.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

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Alfred Molina. Alfred Motherfucking Molina. What can’t he do? The reason he is mentioned first is because he is truly the actor who pushes this film beyond. He is the ultimate tortured hero: A man driven to madness by his own creation. You feel for him, you hurt with him, and that’s what makes Spider-Man 2 such a complex beast of a superhero film. With Roger Ebert naming this one of the best super-hero films of all time, it’s hard not to agree with him. Visceral, poignant, and with a deep message behind it, Spider-Man 2 enhanced on everything brilliant from the first film and added it to elements that were missing. This is one of the most definitive Spider-Man outings

Only to be more recently outshone by…

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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There is a lot of contention in the ranks of Spider-Man fans since the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming but we’re certain that this is the most incredible adventure for the teen hero. Everyone’s Friendly Neighbourhood Wall-Crawler feels fresh and original with Tom Holland’s energetic performance. Whilst being able to balance emotion too, director John Watts brings Peter Parker back to his roots whilst still making it fun and rambunctious. With a great villain in Michael Keaton, jokes that land every time, and fan nods that will make you squeal, you’ll fall in love with the antics of Holland’s Spider-Man and wish to see it more.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is out in cinemas now!