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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Here's a movie that's great as long as you keep squinting. Turn off the critic, and just flow.

As you can tell from the trailer, Miles becomes a spiderman, and through a battle with Kingpin and the Green Goblin, a bunch of spidermen nabbed from their universes and gathered into Miles's. Miles has to get them home, or they'll die, but he can't seem to master the basic Spiderman skills yet.

Exceptionally brilliant are the family relationships--especially Miles with father and uncle--and the spidermen--in particular, Miles and the two Peter Parkers.

Above is the trailer. Below is a clip the first nine minutes. It doesn't quite establish the scenario, but it does feature some of the movie's strengths.

There are number of things that make no sense (spoilers dead ahead).

  1. Spiderman is supposed to be super strong and have and have sticky fingers from the second he's transformed. One second he can walk on walls; later he has to be saved by Spiderman when he can't hang on or pull himself up. 
  2. Spiderman (our first Peter Parker) and Miles recognize each other immediately. Why don't he and the female Spiderman recognize each other? How did she not know immediately what was happening with his sticky hand and help him out?
  3. Spiderman should know whether he's going to live or die. Why give up his life? Why not have Miles carry him to safety or to a hospital?
  4. There's a panel with a USB port with a green button that sits behind a panel a way-tall ceiling of your collider. It will blow up the collider. Who designed that? Apparently all Spidermen have the spidey senses to find which panel it's hiding behind.
  5. Miles has no training or fighting skills one minute, and then after he believes in himself, the MMA and kung fu skills necessary to kill the man who killed the first Spiderman in his universe, appear in his skull. Who needs training?
  6. Parker also stresses the importance of a mask and seems shocked when his mask is removed, but he's got a comic book with his accurate biography, and everybody knows who he is when he dies. Also there's a comic with Miles's young face on it. So what's the point of the mask and hiding one's identity?
  7. Another strange element is the fidelity to reality in this particular universe--some elements of the background almost convince you of its authenticity--but there's apparently a black and white one, an anime one, and a Looney Tunes one. Maybe it's a wink-wink-let's-break-the-fourth-wall, but as the last problem shows, the movie doesn't seem to know what constitutes reality. Are they all just drawings without basis in reality or is one supposed to take these as reality with breaks? Does the movie even know?
"The Mystery of Aunt May Kicking her Own Back Door Down" may explain some of these choices. Why does she do it? Possibilities:
  1. She's very angry at the door.
  2. She's angry at all the Spider creatures--that her perfect Peter is dead leaving these losers behind--but she doesn't want to take it out on them. However, she doesn't seem too angry, later. (Actually, she doesn't seem too grief-stricken about the loss of Peter. Is she cold-hearted? Or is she not the real Aunt May?) 
  3. Maybe the door's locked (although if it is, why not unlock it? The lock would be on the inside, right?).
  4. The door sticks. However, this kick might have made her lock worse. How safe is her neighborhood, anyway?
  5. She's showing off, trying to impress these young punks to keep them from underestimating her, but she will need a locksmith shortly.
  6. Some other half-baked reason that reveals her impulsive nature that rules over her calmer nature, which causes her to wreck things around the house periodically.
Since none of these character explanations make much sense, the reason I suspect she does it is because the writers thought it would be cool to make Aunt May be a BA, logic be damned. This might explain the other choices above as well.

Maybe "Aunt May Kicking her Own Back Door Down" will be like "Jumping the Shark": the writing risks taken that maybe ought not to have been done. 

Conversely, for some, it may symbolize what good writing does: It takes chances. You listen to all of the "Wouldn't This Be Cool?" ideas floating in your head instead of nixing them.

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