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Non-Review Review: Spider-Man – Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an amazing Spider-man movie.

There is no other way to describe it. Into the Spider-Verse is a clean lock for the best superhero film of the year, neatly leapfrogging the superlative Black Panther. Into the Spider-Verse is also the best animated film of the year, placing comfortably ahead of The Breadwinner or Incredibles 2. In fact, it seems fairly safe to describe Into the Spider-Verse as the best feature film starring Spider-Man since Spider-Man II. Even that feels like hedging, and would be a very closely run race.

Just dive on in.

Into the Spider-Verse is a creative triumph. It is a fantastically constructed movie, in virtually every way. The film’s unique approach to animation will inevitably dominate discussions, and understandably so. Into the Spider-Verse is a visually sumptuous piece of cinema that looks unlike anything ever committed to film. However, the film’s storytelling is just as impressive if decidedly (and consciously) less showy in its construction. Adding a phenomenal cast, Into the Spider-Verse is just a film that works in an incredibly infectious and engaging way.

Into the Spider-Verse does whatever a Spider-Man movie can. And then some.

Suits him.

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Non-Review Review: The Best of Me

As with a lot of Nicholas Sparks adaptations, there’s something inherently reductive about The Best of Me. The film would suggest that characters are either inherently good or inherently bad, with several members of the cast existing as nothing more than roadblocks serving to keep the film’s central couple apart. The Best of Me is not set in the real world; it makes no allowance for the nuanced complexities of human emotions and relationships.

Instead, The Best of Me unfolds in a weird parallel world, a world where all human interactions and feelings are clear-cut and simple. It is easy to see the appeal of this world. It is a realm of romantic fantasy, where probability and chance are simply the tools of dramatic irony; where obvious twists are not only expected, they are obligatory. The Best of Me introduces its male lead, Dawson, reading Stephen Hawking as lazy shorthand for how smart he is. He can’t be that smart, or he’d understand this world doesn’t follow anything as bland as physics.

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Throughout The Best of Me, characters ruminate on the machinations of fate and destiny. We are told that mankind has always looked to the stars to guide them. However, this metaphysical musing is not so much a thematic statement as preemptive justification for a contrived (and entirely predictable) final act. The Best of Me is very much a twist in search of a movie. It is a tire-and-tested twist, at that.

However, the characters in The Best of Me don’t seem to realise that there is a difference between fate and hackneyed writing.

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Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy (Review)

I see ‘Keep Out’ signs as suggestions more than orders.

– the Doctor

To be fair, it’s very clear that these two annual trips to North America have been an attempt for Doctor Who to “break” into the market place over there – to provide viewers with something recognisable as a gateway to a uniquely British television show. While the American backdrop of The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon added some wonderful stylistic touches, and a nice juicy role for President Nixon, A Town Called Mercy feels like a more overt attempt to tell a distinctly “American” story within the framework of the show. Borrowing more than just its aesthetic from the setting, A Town Called Mercy is also decidedly American in theme and tone.

A gunslinger built…

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Grant Morrison’s Run on Batman – Time & The Batman (Review)

December is “Grant Morrison month” here at the m0vie blog, as we take the month to consider and reflect on one of the most critically acclaimed (and polarising) authors working in the medium. Every Wednesday this month, we’ll have a Grant Morrison related review or retrospective.

I have, I’m not entirely ashamed to admit, grown quite fond of Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. Despite the fact I’m still not overly fond of Batman R.I.P., I really appreciated The Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman & Robin was perhaps the most fun I’ve had reading comics in quite a long time. So I found myself somewhat underwhelmed by Time and the Batman, collecting Morrison’s work on Batman #700 and the two-issue follow-up that served to make explicit the ties between Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis. It’s not that the book isn’t packed with ideas or even that it’s quite short. I think it’s more that Morrison seems to spend a lot of time here providing exposition and filling in information that perhaps couldn’t fit elsewhere in this tapestry.

Joker puts the gang back together…

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