REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney

Written by Fernando Andrade

You know that feeling when you walk out of a movie knowing you have witnessed something special, something you have never seen before. That’s the feeling you get walking out of Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse. Even though it’s based off a comic book and this character has been done six times before and we know the basic story of Spider-Man, the people behind this movie found a way to make it fresh and have produced not only the best animated movie this year, but hands down one of the best movies of 2018.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse centers around Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), aka Spider-Man. In Miles’ dimension Peter Parker (Chris Pine) is a hero to the people of New York, stopping crime at every corner and doing it with grace. That is until Parker has a run in with Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber) and his gang of other notable Spider-Man villains including Green Goblin and The Prowler. They have built a device which causes dimensions to collide in an attempt to bring back Fisk’s wife and son who where killed. In the exchange, Peter Parker is killed, yes killed in an animated PG movie, leaving Miles the one and only Spider-Man – so he thinks. Of course as the promotional material has shown us, several dimensions collide bringing with them other Spider-people with them. We have Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Gleen), and Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) – but from a different dimension. It is up to the 6 of them to come together and defeat Fisk in order to return to their respective worlds.

This movie probably could not have come out at a better time, due to the tragic death of Stan Lee, as it shows the true power of comic books and why people love this character. While yes, on the surface this movie is a standard comic book movie pitting good against evil, heroes against villains, it is so much more than that. This character of Miles Morales is so pure and so easy to connect with. A lot of it has to do with the fact that he loves his family, he wants to make them proud, and he is just kind at heart. Honestly it was a nice change of pace seeing this familial interaction and not one having to do with Aunt May and Uncle Ben. This interpretation of Spider-Man also comes with a bit of a different message, although the presence of “with great power comes great responsibility” is still felt, here we get to see someone figure out that they have the ability to become something great and that you are never alone.

This is beautifully done through the brilliant use of all the other characters. Yes, some are used for more comedic purposes and some of the villains just show up, but they are not the main focus. However, all the characters fit, they all have their moments, and it works seamlessly to help tell Miles’ story. Each of the different Spider-people/animal have their own problem, their own origin story, and so do we as individuals – we all have different paths, which is why it is so easy to relate to this story. Sometimes it can feel very lonely out there, as Miles feels as his relationship with his family begins to dwindle as the piling amount of pressure he has to be a worthy Spider-Man builds. But it is through those same worries in which he finds the power to become who he was meant to be. This story has attempted to be shown in other Spider-Man movies as well, some being more successful than others, but the way it was told in this movie has been the most effective. We get to see a young, half black half Latino kid, dropped to this position where he must learn to face this massive challenge, with some pretty great people to help him along the way.

Not only is Into the Spider-Verse a beautiful story, the technical aspects on display here are some of the greatest ever in animation. This is probably what people felt like watching Toy Story for the first time seeing all those 3D animations, but in animation today all we really see is polished, hyper realistic worlds. It is a wonderful change of pace to see such a unique approach to animation, and it works so well with this story. This could never be reproduced into life action ever, it could only have been done this way.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has come along and made itself known as one of the best movies of 2018, and should be leading the charge at the Oscars for best animated feature. Its a universal story that can be loved by everyone, filled with beautifully touching moments for both comic book and non-comic book fans alike, great laughs, and some pretty great music. This movie really showcases what minds like Steve Ditko and Stan Lee saw in these characters and what they wanted to express; a mask is a mask, but what really matters is who is underneath it – and that could be anyone.

 

Fernando’s Verdict:

4-5

Advertisements

‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ To Swing In With $50m, While ‘Mortal Engines’ Can’t Get Started: Box Office Predictions

Written by Dapo Olowu

After two barren weekends without a major cinematic release, the theatrical cobwebs and tumbleweed will be brushed aside as three new films bring an end to the post-Thanksgiving void, and usher in the Christmas period.

Finally.

Kicking off the weekend is ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, Sony’s latest foray into the world of Marvel’s most beloved hero after releasing the spinoff ‘Venom’ back in October. The film sees teenager Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) taking up the ‘Spider-Man’ mantle, after teaming up with multiple parallel-universe Spider-Men to defeat crime lord Wilson Fisk.

Its all-star cast, featuring the voices of Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, and Lily Tomlin among many others, is only bolstered by an equally strong team behind the scenes, with Lord & Miller producing, and the latter getting a co-writing credit.

The quality in production has apparently shone through to the final product; its near-perfect 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, A+ on Cinemascore, and 87 on Metacritic means it’s one of the best-reviewed superhero films in modern memory, perfect fuel for a great Box Office lift-off.

We’re optimistically forecasting a gross just below $50m from Friday to Sunday, considering the recent slew of family-friendly animations (and superhero movies) that have already quenched the thirsts of the general audience. It’s an opening that falls just behind another Lord & Miller production ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ from 2017, which made $53m in its first 3 days, on its way to earning $175.8m domestically.

Next is Clint Eastwood’s second film of the year after February’s ’15:17 to Paris’ – ‘The Mule’. Eastwood directs and stars as Earl Stone, an elderly drug trafficker (based on the true story of World War 2 veteran Leo Sharp). The film also sees Bradley Cooper as DEA Agent Colin Bates, alongside Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Taissa Farmiga, and Andy García.

This R-rated crime flick has the better of ’15:17’ when it comes to critical reception, but this makes little difference for the $50m production, which looks to open at around $14m$1.5m more than ’15:17’. ‘The Mule’, it seems, will need to keep delivering the goods in coming weeks, or else get caught by the chasing pack.

What’s a Box Office weekend without a big budget flop? First-time director Christian Rivers teams up with Peter Jackson (‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’) to deliver ‘Mortal Engines’, Universal’s steampunk dystopian based off of Phillip Reeve’s 2001 novel of the same name.

Fears of a ‘Robin Hood’-like failure are warranted, given its bloated $100m+ budget and poor response from both critics and audiences (28% on RT, B- on Cinemascore). Therefore, we’re predicting a start of $10.6m, meaning ‘Mortal Engines’ has already stalled upon release.

Finally, Oscar-hopeful ‘The Favorite’, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, looks to beat out ‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ and ‘Green Book’ for a place in the top ten. Still in a limited release, playing in just 423 cinemas, the historical period-piece, starring Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz, should earn $3.4m for 10th place.

The Box Office is back in full swing this weekend, with ‘Spider-Man’ leading the way. Will it hit the lofty $50m heights we predict, or will it just fall short? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

Untitled

MediCinema Holding Special Preview Screenings Of ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’

The good folk of MediCinema are holding special preview screenings of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse across the UK on December 6th.

All proceeds will go straight to MediCinema and the wonderful work they do offering film screenings in specially designed cinemas that are built to accommodate wheelchairs and hospital beds whilst maintaining a real and immersive cinema experience away from the wards for hospital patients and their families.

You can book your tickets right here

“Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the creative minds behind ‘The Lego Movie’ and ’21 Jump Street,’ bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.”

Anything Is Possible In The New ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ Trailer

“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.”

Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Jake Johnson, Liev Schreiber, Brian Tyree, Henry Luna, Lauren Velez, Lily Tomlin, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn

Release Date: December 12th, 2018

Tag

JC-FEATURED-IMAGE-new

Year: 2018
Directed by: Jeff Tomsic
Starring: Jeremy Renner, John Hamm, Jake Johnson, Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress, Isla Fisher

WRITTEN BY ELENA MORGAN

The true story of a group of friends who, for one month every year, continue playing the same game of tag they started when they were kids. But this year, Jerry (Jeremy Renner) who has never been tagged, plans to retire from the game once he’s married and this is the last chance for his friends to get him.

‘Tag’ is a lot of fun and is laugh out loud funny. The action sequences of various characters trying to tag Jerry, and other participants in the game, are all well-shot and innovative. When Jerry is the one being ambushed, everything slows down as he takes in what’s happening, then there’s a voiceover from him as he commentates on what his friends are doing and how he’s going to beat them. Everything works so well together in those sequences.

The cast are all brilliant. They all have great chemistry and you really buy into them being childhood friends, even though they are all at different stages of their lives. Hoagie (Ed Helms) is married to super competitive Anna (Isla Fisher) who must make do with helping the guys out as the rules the friends made up when they were kids state that girls are not allowed to play. Bob (Jon Hamm) is a high-flying businessman, Chilli (Jake Johnson) is divorced and almost constantly high and Sable (Hannibal Buress) is in therapy. It’s clear that this game of tag has kept them in touch over all these years as no one wants to be the person tagged by June 1st.

Some of the supporting female cast do get short-changed. Rashida Jones has little to do when she shows up mid-way through, and Annabelle Wallis’s journalist is mainly there as a stand-in for the audience, asking the right questions at the right time to help move some of the more character-driven stuff along. Ed Helms does play a very Ed Helms-esque character but it’s always great to see Jon Hamm show off his comedy skills and it’s a pleasant surprise to see how funny Jeremy Renner can be. As an actor that’s typically seen in more serious roles, it was fun to see his droll sense of humour, and that almost cackle-like laugh, on screen.

‘Tag’ is a comedic action film and it does a fine job of balancing those two aspects. There are a few jokes that edge very close to being in bad taste, it’s almost like watching a car crash happen in slow motion as other characters know that what a character is saying is not good but there’s little they can do to stop it. At least the film seems to be aware of the barriers it’s pushing, and the rest of the jokes are funny and unoffensive.

The story does lag a bit in the middle but the chemistry and jokes between these characters see you through till the next big game of tag. The thing that’s surprising about ‘Tag’ is how heartfelt it is. In the end, this film pulls you into these guys friendship and that makes this entertaining film unexpectedly sweet.

ELENA’S RATING:

4

Welcome To The Spider-Verse In A Brand New Trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind ‘The Lego Movie’ and ’21 Jump Street’, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.”

Directed by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Jake Johnson, Liev Schreiber, Brian Tyree, Henry Luna, Lauren Velez, Lily Tomlin

Release Date: December 14th, 2018

A 30-Year Game Continues In New Trailer For Comedy Film ‘Tag’!

Written by Megan Williams

Do you remember the games you’d play when you were a child? In the playground, there would be games of hide and seek, tic-tac-toe or tag. But, as you got older, these games were put to rest. Well, for the cast of the new comedy film ‘Tag’, that is not the case as this particular game has been going on for 30 years.

‘Tag’ stars Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Isla Fisher, Jake Johnson and Jon Hamm as a group of friends who have been playing the same game of Tag since they were children. However, their friend Jerry (Renner) has never been tagged, so the friends decide to work together to end his triumph.

Unlike some films that advertise that they’re based on a true story, this one actually is: The actual story revolved around Patrick Schultheis and his nine friends who continued to play a game of Tag until they all left for college. However, eight years later at a reunion, they decided to revive the game and made up a contract called ‘Tag Participation Agreement’. The game was to be played throughout February and the last person to be ‘tagged’ on the 28th would have to carry this title for the rest of the year. On top of this, nothing was off limits: Schultheis even stated that he was ‘tagged’ at his father’s funeral; a scenario that is replicated in the trailer.

The ‘Tag’ trailer delivers slapstick humour aplenty, and it’s one of the funniest trailers I have seen in a long time, something that’s been missing recently from the comedy genre. The film also has a great cast and looks like a fun experience.

‘Tag’ is in US cinemas on 15th June and UK cinemas on the 6th July.

The Mummy

Year: 2017
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis

Written by Rhys Bowen Jones

18 years after Brendan Fraser’s ‘The Mummy’ surprised us all by actually being good and fun, we have a re-imagining of ‘The Mummy’ as the first instalment of Universal’s planned Dark Universe. Dark Universe is meant to be a shared cinematic universe (how many of those have come and gone since Marvel near perfected the formula?) of some of cinema’s most iconic monsters, including The Invisible Man, The Wolfman, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. There is a lot of star power behind this incoming franchise, led by Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe. On paper, the conceit could be a fun one, but frankly, after ‘The Mummy’, the Dark Universe is already off to a rocky start.

When an ancient tomb and sarcophagus is discovered long-buried under Iraq, our heroes Nick Morton (Cruise) and Jennifer Halsey (Wallis) are tasked with transporting the sarcophagus to London for investigation and analysis. En route, disaster strikes as the contents of the sarcophagus, an Ancient Egyptian princess by the name of Princess Ahmanet (Boutella), is awoken and hell-bent on taking Earth for her own. Beyond that, we have a search for a MacGuffin or two, and a meeting with a mysterious figure (Crowe) who knows all too much about Ahmanet and her quest for world destruction.

For my money, despite its fairly damning reviews since its release, I didn’t find ‘The Mummy’ to be wholly without merit. Tom Cruise has, deservedly, earned himself the title of Hollywood’s go-to movie star, and he does everything he can to sell this film. Cruise is evidently having a lot of fun as he does Tom Cruise things. Whether it’s rolling around a plummeting plane, swimming away from swimming mummies (you heard), or legging it from an incoming giant face-made-of-sand in the middle of London, ‘The Mummy’ hits all the beats of your typical Tom Cruise film. Ultimately, the film is almost astoundingly generic, but when it’s “Tom Cruise generic”, you know you’re in for an entertaining time at least.

The film is also surprisingly funny in parts, using physical comedy and occasionally embracing the ridiculousness of the film. Sadly though, these funny parts are in direct contrast to much of the action on screen, which is where ‘The Mummy’ begins to unravel. Hold your applause.

‘The Mummy’ is tonally all over the place. The film regularly jumps from mysterious, Nathan Drake style tomb investigation to a scene from a horror film to the characters having friendly banter in a pub. One of the lead characters meets an untimely end in the first third of the film and their death is treated as something of a joke after the character who killed them accidentally fires a third shot. ‘The Mummy’ is a film that doesn’t entirely know what it wants to be. It even earned a 15-rating in the UK for sustained threat, but it never fully utilised its rating. In a film primarily linked to a horror character, you want more than the occasional jump scare, only a few of which are actually effective.

The key problem with ‘The Mummy’ is it tries to do too much in one film. It tries so hard to set up its own cinematic universe after so confidently opening the film with a Dark Universe title card that it forgets some of the fundamentals of making a good film.

Now, setting up the Dark Universe wasn’t entirely unsuccessful as I found a mid-point scene involving Crowe and Cruise the highlight of the film. Crowe’s, without giving too much away, alternate ego is a hugely entertaining 5 minutes that above all showed Crowe having fun. Crowe is handed an incredibly exposition-filled role as he explains to Morton and Halsey what exactly Ahmanet is and what she wants, and it’s nice to see him get a satisfying moment in the spotlight.

Where the writers (5 of them! Yes, 5!) and director Alex Kurtzman fell-short was convincing us ‘The Mummy’ was a film that could work on its own. It doesn’t commit to its characters enough as no one beyond Cruise, Crowe, and Boutella even register as anyone of interest (I found Wallis to be particularly poor in all honesty). There is no real through-line from where the film begins to where the film ends; it’s more a collection of 5 or 6 initially unconnected action set-pieces (though mostly entertaining) woven together through thinly plotted dialogue scenes.

I couldn’t shake the feeling as the film ended that what I watched was, ultimately, pointless. The film itself will leave no lasting impression beyond setting up the Dark Universe, should this even carry on after the critical mauling ‘The Mummy’ has received. I found myself mostly entertained for the majority of its run-time, but I can assure you that the 2017 reboot of ‘The Mummy’ will not leave the same lasting impression the 1999 version of ‘The Mummy’ had. Wherefore art thou, Brendan Fraser?

Rhys’ rating: 4.7 out of 10