Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse Review

Animation has come on a long way in the last couple of decades, with films like Iron Giant, Toy Story and Tangled pushing the technology used by filmmakers to new heights. Spiderverse takes that technology and uses it to produce what looks, even from just 10 seconds of a trailer, like nothing we have ever seen before. 

 Just from the stunning visual style alone, I had to see this one as soon as I could. A talented voice cast and a screenplay by one of the people behind The Lego Movie (Phil Lord) all just added to the appeal of this film. Straight away, you know you’re in for something different to the usual animated film, and also a departure from the Comic-Book movies we are all accustomed to by now.

Everyone knows Peter Parker, they know his story, and this film knows that everyone knows it. The jokes at the expense of previous movies and an abundance of easter eggs all pay their respects to Marvel’s most iconic hero. Spiderverse is not about Peter Parker though, it’s about the next most well-known spiderman, which is probably not a very well known character, Miles Morales. Essentially this is the origin story for that character, with a host of other spider-things involved. If you have watched a trailer you know there are 6 spider-characters in this film, and somehow, they all work brilliantly.

The film expertly handles its very comic-booky plot, involving multiple members of the Spiderman rogues gallery on top of introducing the multiverse with hints at there being infinite possible versions of the spiderman we know. Somehow this doesn’t get over complicated, and the film moves at a good pace constantly bringing new information to light, clever character interactions and twists on the norm that will surprise people.

The fast pace, fun characters and startling visual style really do make this film incredibly exciting to watch. Every frame could be hung on a wall and admired, and honestly I don’t think i have ever admired an animated films technical aspects as much as this film. The use of different animation techniques slammed together on one screen really does pop and your eye is drawn to every moment something new happens on-screen. This style is at its craziest in the action scenes, with colour flashing everywhere, comic book style pop up words, excellent framing for each scene so you can clearly see what each character is doing.

This is a film where the creators have chosen animation and then let their creativity go wild. There are no limits to what can be done in animation, and this film makes full use of that range. In a world of animated films becoming more and more lifelike, this goes against the grain and says why not have a (very minor spoiler) Spider-pig drop an anvil on a man-scorpion. It may possibly be a little to bombastic for some, but I found this films sense of fun is infectious and loved watching it.

In a films that is under 2 hours long and packed with so much light-hearted entertainment, there is still a lot of time spent on developing the character of Miles Morales, and his struggle coming to terms with having the burden of super powers on top of the struggle he is already dealing with as he is coming of age and the dynamic between him and his father is a really beautifully done element of the film.

I am aware I am just gushing about how great this film is, and that’s because to me this is not just the best animated film of the year, it’s up there with the best films of the year in general. The vocal performances are all excellent, bringing to life every character in a well written script. The technical skill in the editing, directing and cinematography are astounding and I am struggling to remember a film I liked this much for a long time.

I don’t have any negatives, for the casual movie goer who isn’t into nerd culture too much, this film is a very fun ride with some new characters alongside one most people know very well. For comic book fans, particularly spiderman fans, this is everything you love about comics in movie form. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse is awesome.

Good: This film. All of it.

Bad: People who don’t like superhero films won’t like it, but even then I can’t imagine you wouldn’t have a decent time.

10/10 – Homecoming, Spiderman PS4 and now this, Spidey is killing it lately. 

Antman & The Wasp Review

The first Antman was an enjoyable, smaller (pun intended) story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that did a great job introducing the character without really amazing much beyond its clever visuals. This sequel has the unenviable job of trying to follow up on the epic Avengers Infinity War. Could this film avoid the feeling of being an undercard to the next part of the Infinity War story?

I have to say going into the film I was struggling to really feel excited for this one, whilst I was intrigued to see what Antman was doing during the avengers, I was not sure a film away from that main story would engage me enough to keep me in the film. I needn’t have worried, Marvel are masters of setting up a film fast and keeping you on your toes. This can be felt if you go back and watch superhero movies from the early 2000s, they feel slow and drag along compared to the fun filled action films that the MCU is now known for.

This film once again is a much smaller story than previously, and although it may end up having major ramifications in the wider MCU storyline, this film never tries too hard to connect itself to the other films. It has its story, an interesting one at that, and its focused on telling it. The antagonist’s in the film are there more as obstacles for our hero’s plans than the normal “Hero is here to stop the villain” plot we’ve grown used to. This time round Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Pym (Evangeline Lilly) work together much more, as to be expected from the title of the movie, and for me Hope Pym/Wasp steals the show.

Evangeline Lilly is absolutely awesome as the Wasp, and cements herself as a powerhouse superhero in this universe. She has an interesting journey in the film, and I really enjoyed the chemistry between her, Wasp’s Father Michael Douglas and Paul Rudd’s Antman. The pair are proving themselves to be one of the more believable romances in the MCU. As for the man who never ages, Paul Rudd, he is excellent in this role, his mix of charm and perfect comedic timing adding that layer of humour to what would be an otherwise run of the mill superhero flick.

Michael Douglas returns as Hank Pym, doing more of the same solid work we have seen before. Michael Pena, T.I and David Dastmalchain as Scott Langs business partners are hilarious, and despite being used quite sparingly they stand out with their comedy moments. Walton Goggins comes in being very Walton Goggins-y, playing a character who I felt like I knew straight away, as I have seen this type of thing from him before. I didn’t dislike him at all, but it was exactly what I expected years ago when he was cast in the film. Randall Park plays the policeman charged with keeping tabs on Paul Rudd whilst he is under house arrest, and I found him to be a bit jarring. Park’s character feels like he doesn’t quite fit into the world with everyone else, and his supposedly funny moments fell flat to me.

Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen, is an interesting antagonist in that, as mentioned earlier, she isn’t an evil threat our villains have to stop. Her story is personal, and its collision course with our heroes is more through bad timing. I did feel that every action scene with her, whilst looking stunning, could have been avoided with a simple conversation. Speaking of the action scenes, for me they go above and beyond what we saw from the first Antman and use the shrinking/expanding technology in unique and at times funny ways. Ghost’s powers up against Wasp and Antman make for some great hand to hand combat, and one scene in the hotel involving Wasp is up there with my favourite action scenes in the entire MCU.

Antman and the Wasp delivers more of the jokes and clever action we got in the first one, but doesn’t have the novelty the first had with the stunning visuals. They still look just as  great as before, but we’ve seen them a few times now so they don’t lend as much to the film as the first time round. I liked the majority of the comedy, and the action is great fun. My point about some of the action scenes being avoidable if they just have a conversation did weigh on my mind throughout the film, and I would have been intrigued to see them approach the Ghost character in that way. I think there was enough drama to be created from Walton Goggins characters involvement to give us enough action to satisfy the superhero movie audience.

Good: Rudd and Lilly are great to watch, some genuinely laugh out loud moments (the entire school scene had me holding my stomach laughing) and great action. absolutely awesome mid-credit scene. Ghost’s outfit is great.

Bad: Some unfunny characters don’t fit in the film, and struggled to believe the motivation for the main antagonist to fight rather than just talk.

7/10 – Another day, another solid MCU film