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Non-Review Review: Spider-Man – Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home cannot help but exist in the shadow of Avengers: Endgame.

Indeed, one of the problems marketing Far From Home was the manner in which the entire emotional premise of the film served as a spoiler for Endgame, which meant that the film had to wait quite late in the game to release its second trailer. This sets up an interesting tension with Far From Home, which finds itself in the the seemingly contradictory position of being both the last movie in the current “phase” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also a film actually being produced by a company other than Marvel Studios.

Masking his feelings.

This weird push-and-pull runs through Far From Home, which seems caught between existing as a coda and epilogue to Endgame and working as a Spider-Man movie in its own right. To a certain extent, this was always going to be a tension within Far From Home, even before Endgame set its sights on becoming the biggest movie of all time. Endgame was always going to exert a gravity on Far From Home, given its plot mechanics and its character decisions. Writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, along with director Jon Watts, were always going to be reacting to narrative and character choices that they never made.

As such, the most interesting thing that Far From Home can do is to literalise that tension.

Night Monkey Moves.

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114. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – This Just In (#26)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and with special guests Graham Day, Luke Dunne and Bríd Martin, This Just In is a subset of The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr. and Rodney Rothman’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 26th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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My 12 for ’18: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” & Doing This One Last Time

It’s that time of year. I’ll counting down my top twelve films of the year daily on the blog between now and New Year. I’ll also be discussing my top ten on the Scannain podcast. This is number four.

“Alright, let’s do this. One. Last. Time.”

There were few cinematic experiences this year as joyous as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I first saw it at a preview screening, surrounded by children of all ages. This was entirely appropriate. After all, Into the Spider-Verse is a movie that connects immediately and emotionally to any audience member’s inner child. Like many of the best modern family films, it understand the wonder and awe with which children see the world. It also understands the intelligence with which children process information, something adults often overlook.

A lot has been written about the fantastic animation employed in making Into the Spider-Verse. The technique is revolutionary and jaw-dropping; everything from the use of Ben Day dots to the shading using red and green to create an uncanny depth perception to the blurring of various styles for characters like “Spider-Man Noir” or “Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.” It is no surprise that Sony are attempting to copyright the animation process, to render it proprietary. The film would make a good case for its place on the list based on animation alone.

However, what has been less discussed in terms of Into the Spider-Verse is the actual storytelling. Part of this is obviously visual, and reflected in all of the praise that the animation is receiving. However, a lot of this is in the scripting and the structuring of the film. Into the Spider-Verse is a revolutionary film in a technical sense, a breathtaking cinematic accomplishment bursting at the seams with a remarkable visual imagination. It is also a story that understands how such stories are told. It also understands that the audience understands how such stories are told.

Into the Spider-Verse is a thoroughly modern superhero film, a narrative that is consciously designed for a contemporary audience that have been trained to process information in a more dynamic and exciting way. Even beyond its long overdue acknowledgement that “anybody can wear the mask”, Into the Spider-Verse is very much a film for 2018.

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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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36. Spider-Man: Homecoming – This Just In (#–)

Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney host This Just In, a subset of the fortnightly The 250 podcast looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: Homecoming.

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Non-Review Review: Spider-Man – Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming is two movies, both effectively set up by the title.

In its most literal sense, it is a teenage coming of age movie set against the backdrop of a superhero action film. More than any other entry in recent superhero canon, Homecoming is very explicitly a “young adult” movie. It is Peter Parker channeled through John Hughes, the tropes and conventions of the genre as glimpsed through the prism of a teen movie. As such, the “homecoming” of the title is a seismic event in the school calendar.

He ain’t playin’.

In a more metaphorical sense, Homecoming is the story of integrating Peter Parker into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe that began with Iron Man. It is a story that celebrates the joint custody agreed between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures, the deal that allows Spider-Man to appear in Captain America: Civil War while allowing for the appearances of several major characters from The Avengers in this feature film.

One of these movies is stronger than the other. About half of Homecoming is a really great Spider-Man-as-John-Hughes teen film, while the other half is a so-so Avengers sequel.

Climbing to new heights?

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Trial and Trailer: The Perils of Publicity in the Internet Era

It is a cliché to suggest that trailers are spoiling movies.

Clint Eastwood was complaining about the trend more than a decade and a half ago, lamenting, “Half the time you go and watch a film, you see eight or 10 different trailers and you’ve seen the whole plot line. There’s really no reason to go see the film.” While film fans might look back nostalgically on classic trailers like Alien or Point Blank, the truth is that movie trailers have always been a bit of a haphazard artform. The trailer for Carrie is as spoilery as any modern trailer.

At the same time, there is a definite trend in contemporary trailers – especially for big blockbuster releases – to ensure that the audience knows exactly what they are going to get. This is most obvious in trailers like Alien: Covenant or Spider-Man: Homecoming, which go beyond spoiling the entire plot thread to spoiling big moments from the film; memorable cameos or distinctive sequences. When dealing with spectacle driven films like Kong: Skull Island, there is a conscious effort to load the trailer with spectacle, revealing monsters and set pieces.

To be fair, this is arguably more of a problem with big budget summer releases. These trailers typically belong to blockbusters that have to absolutely saturate the market in order to build hype, releasing trailers more than a half a year before release or even offering trailers for trailers. It is inevitable that this desire to effectively carpet-bomb the media landscape with footage will reveal far too much about the film in question, particularly for those who task themselves with keeping track of this information. The sparse understated trailers for smaller films like Get Out are a blessing.

It is interesting to wonder what drives these creative decisions, why studios are saturating the market with trailers that seem to lay out every beat ahead of time and which effectively promise every twist that will be delivered over the course of the narrative. There is a lot to be said for the joy of seeing a film blind, without knowing exactly what is coming and how it will be delivered. It seems reasonable to argue that the job of a trailer is to tease, to offer the viewer a hint of what is in store, instead of mapping out how they might spend two hours of their lives.

However, while these views are quite common on the internet and among film fans, it is interesting to wonder whether they reflect the opinions and taste of the mass audience. Is this increasing tendency towards spoiler-heavy trailers that plot out the entire arc of a film are driven by the tastes of audiences? Is this how the majority of viewers want their entertainment delivered, even if they would never frame it in those terms?

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