#REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

So.

Standard disclaimer, as always.  Y’all have seen movie reviews from me before.  You know what I’m like when I like something.  And Miles Morales has, since almost immediately after he was introduced, been one of my all-time favorite comic book characters.  He’s up there with the Hulk, Iron Man, and Superman.  I have been waiting for a Miles Morales Spider-Man movie for a long time. 

(Now I’m just waiting for a movie with goddamn Ganke in it, but that’s another story.)

So you already knew I liked this movie.  There would have been a shift in the fabric of the universe if I hadn’t liked it and absolutely everyone would have noticed it.  Did you notice a shift in the fabric of the universe last night, around 10:30, as I was walking out of the theater?  No, you did not.  Of course I liked the fucking movie.  It’s Goddamned brilliant.  It’s so good it made me forgive them for what I initially thought was the kind of dodgy decision to make Miles’ movie animated instead of live-action.

(It’s not dodgy.  This movie would have been impossible as live-action.  They made a better movie by making it animated.  It needed to be animated.)

So put that all aside.  I want to talk to the two or three of you who don’t care about superheroes or superhero movies and for some reason come to this blog anyway.  

You need to see this movie because it’s one of the most amazing animated films ever made.  

You need to see it as a cultural artifact, guys, of what cutting-edge technology can do in 2018.  The movie could have been about anything and I’d be recommending it because of how absolutely incredible it looks.  I was talking to one of my oldest friends about it last night– he was lucky enough to see it last week, and told me at the time that words couldn’t do it justice.  Last night, he made the point that the movie is expectations-proof, because there’s nothing that can prepare you for what it’s actually like to see this on the big screen.

And you need to see it on the best, biggest movie screen you can reasonably get to.  This movie needs to win about four thousand awards even before we get to the part where the story is incredible too.  This movie gets Miles, y’all.  It understands this character thoroughly.  It understands Spider-Man thoroughly, in a way that most of the live-action movies maybe haven’t always.  The voice acting and the casting are outstanding.  The character design– this movie’s versions of the Kingpin, the Scorpion, the Green Goblin, and especially Dr. Octopus are fantastic.  The music is superb.  This movie succeeds on every level but one, which is that it’s gonna scare the crap out of my son so I can’t take him to see it.  

Oh, and the stinger at the end and the tribute to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, both of whom passed away this year?  

I am lucky enough to be married to a woman who is not only willing to go to this neverending series of geek movies with me, but who genuinely enjoys them.  She called Into the Spider-Verse her favorite superhero movie last night.  And this was one of those movies, I think, where she was mildly interested but might have skipped the movie were it not for me pushing to see it.  I can’t be trusted; I know that.  She can.  This one’s something really special, y’all.  And it ain’t like you’ve got anything else to do until next week when Aquaman comes out.  Go see it.  

In which I watch commercials for movies and talk about them

So this came out yesterday, luckily just in time for me to catch it during my last-minute Twitter readthrough on my phone before going into work Friday morning.  

This is a thing I do, by the way.  My son has to be at school quite a bit before I do.  Every morning I take him to school, go to McDonald’s, get a Sausage McMuffin with cheese and a large coffee with five cream and five sugar, then drive to work and sit in the parking lot and surf my phone and eat my McMuffin.  I am weirdly invested in the idea that I don’t just get out of my car and go to work just because I’ve arrived at work.  I decide that it’s time to go into work.  It’s an active choice.  It’s a weirdly empowering thing.

Anyway, I watched this twice on my phone and then went inside, somewhat surprised that I wasn’t as buzzed as I thought I’d be.  I mean, part of it is the tone; it’s hard to get super excited about a trailer that is so clearly deliberately designed to be a downer.  But in some ways this is the only trailer they can actually make right now– this has got to be the hardest movie to do early promotion for ever, because so damn much about it counts as a spoiler, and even just showing most of the characters on screen is going to reveal substantial things about the movie that the filmmakers clearly don’t want us to know.  

I note a couple of things that intrigue me:

  • Clearly there’s a timeskip.  If Civil War was “years” ago, there was a timeskip.   I know we all suspect time travel is going to be a part of this movie, but I love the idea that we’re going to even temporarily see what the world is like after the Snappening.
  • Thanos is limping and missing most of his pinky finger.  
  • I want to see Shuri as the Black Panther.
  • There’s some griping online about the subtitle?  I dunno why.  It’s fine.
  • So, do you think that Pepper Potts is going to be suiting up as Rescue and collecting Tony, or is this where they introduce Captain Marvel?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still hugely excited about this movie.  There’s little that’s going to change that.  I’m just not bouncing off the walls about the trailer like I thought I would.

Meanwhile …

Now now now now now NOW NOW NOW GODDAMMIT NOW

*cough*

So, yeah.  I’ve clearly got some enthusiasm left in me somewhere.  

Silflay hraka, u embleer rah

I don’t talk about it all that often around here, but Watership Down is one of my very favorite books of all time.  I mean, anyone who has been reading me for a while can probably list some things I’m a fan of, right?  Star Wars, various comic books, etcetera.

I have a Watership Down tattoo.  I don’t have any superhero or Star Wars tattoos, although the inscription on the One Ring from Lord of the Rings is wrapped around my left calf.   I’m enough of a fan of this book that I have a tattoo of El-Ahrairah from the 1978 movie on my left shoulder blade.  So I’m gonna be paying very close attention to this BBC miniseries.  I am … cautiously optimistic about the first trailer?  The animation’s not great.  It may not even be good, if I’m being honest.  Okay.  It’s hraka.  But maybe it’s not done yet.  

But a shiver went down my spine at the line all the world will be your enemy.  And right now that’s all I need.  I’m in, guys.  But I hope y’all did this right.

(If you’re wondering if I have anything to say about the other trailer that came out yesterday, yes, yes in fact I do, but I’m hoping to combine that with the Avengers 4 trailer that supposedly is coming out later this week.  We’ll see.


I had two different people look at me today and say “Is it always like this?” in reference to my job.  One was my boss.  The other was a student.  The answer was yes.  Yes, it is always like this.  Every day.  And y’all are lucky that I am the greatest gatdamb multitasker on the planet, or shit would never, ever get done.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  It was a very, very, very long day, but it ended with Chipotle and I have something to look forward to soon, so hell with it.  Tomorrow’s new comic book day.  Let yesterday burn and throw it in a fire.  

A really brief movie review

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is very likely to be exactly the movie you think it is going to be.

#REVIEW: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

ant_man_wasp_posterI wasn’t super excited to see the first Ant-Man movie when it came out back in 2015 and generally found it to be a pretty pleasant surprise.  Three years later, I was actually quite a bit more excited to see Ant-Man and the Wasp, but somehow it managed to be one of the very few Marvel films that I didn’t see on opening weekend.  Life basically intervened last weekend and I didn’t have time.

Here’s the thing, though: I’ve always loved the Wasp as a character, much much more than Hank Pym, and although I’d have preferred to have the classic Janet van Dyne version of the character I can’t really get upset about using Hope instead.  Scott Lang as a character has really never even registered.  But the Ghost?  The Ghost has always been an Iron Man villain– and a dude, to boot– but he’s one of my favorite Iron Man villains, so if you tell me the Ghost is gonna be the bad guy in a movie I’m gonna be there to see it.

tl;dr: Go see it.  It’s got some flaws but in general I think I liked it more than the first one and it’s a pleasant palate-cleanser for the unrelenting misery and horror that was Avengers Infinity Wars.  Mostly, anyway.

That’s long enough for the Facebook people, right?  Okay.  Spoilers ho!

And bullet points.  This is gonna be a random stream-of-consciousness bullet-point style review.

  • Let’s start with the Ghost, actually.  She’s awesome, and a fascinating character, even if this version has little to do with the canonical Ghost other than look (which is amazing) and powers.  That said, she’s ultimately kind of unnecessary to the movie as a whole and her part actually could probably have been cut and still left us with a decent movie.  But that’s the script’s fault, not the character’s or the actress’ fault.  I’ve never seen Hannah John-Kamen in anything before and I want more of her.
  • Actually, let’s just get all of the griping out of the way first: every problem with this movie is a problem with the script.  In particular, the movie could really have used a couple of science advisors.  Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne and Bill Foster are supposed to be geniuses; this movie is stuffed with them, and at one point they actually let Scott say “Are you guys just putting the word quantum in front of everything?” and unfortunately it’s supposed to be a joke but the answer is yes.  The science is Star Trek-level bad; at one point they literally reverse the polarity of something and Janet van Dyne takes over Scott’s brain for a moment to “rewrite an algorithm.”  Don’t ask, just understand that lazy-ass writers use “algorithm” to mean “sciencey thing that we don’t understand and don’t want to explain.”  It’s terrible.
  • On to the good stuff!  The actors across the board are great, even the ones with clearly bit parts, like the thug with no name who was always chewing on his rosary, or Truth Serum Guy.  Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun and they all made the movie really fun to watch.
  • The de-aging special effects, this time used on Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer, continues to be fucking amazing.  It’s going to be a big part of Captain Marvel since like half the cast will need to look 30 years younger than they are, and they’re getting creepily good at it.
  • When Fishburne’s Bill Foster turned out to be a sorta-bad-guy, I really wanted him to somehow end up being Lex Luthor, but it didn’t happen.
  • This is my favorite Evangeline Lilly role ever.  I liked her in the last movie but this one actually made me a fan of hers.  She can have her own movie anytime.
  • The fight sequences across the board, but especially anytime the Wasp or the Ghost were on-screen, were spectacular.  Very, very nicely choreographed action.
  • The repeated theme of dads and daughters throughout this movie, especially Foster and the Ghost’s pseudo-parental relationship, was really neat.  Much like the last one, this is a movie with much lower stakes than the rest of the Marvel films, and focusing on all the familial relationships everywhere was great.  The first few minutes, where a clearly out-of-his-mind Lang has constructed an apartment-sized amusement park for his daughter because he has nothing else to do, was great.
  • There were hints that I was going to get much more of my favorite version of Hank Pym (the gadget-obsessed, white-lab-coat wearing whacko of the West Coast Avengers) in this movie than in the last one and it absolutely came through for me.  The fact that the Macguffin for half of the movie was a literal multi-story office building shrunk down to the size of a piece of carry-on luggage was fantastic.
  • It also led to one of my favorite visual moments of the movie, where they shrink down the office building to reveal an army of FBI guys sneaking up on them behind it.
  • There were only one or two moments where the CGI was wonky, mostly in the scene where they’re infiltrating the elementary school (don’t ask) and Scott gets stuck at about three and a half feet tall.  They were using a lot of practical effects for that bit and it actually didn’t work very well.
  • And then, after all that good shit throughout the movie, that ending.  You bastards.

So.  Yeah.  Go see it!  We’re one movie closer to Captain Marvel!