Tag Archives: Movies

Movie Review – The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

Lights! Camera! Jesus! Makeup!

BQB here with a review of the biopic/life story of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.

I thought this would be very stupid. Actually, I thought it was going to rake a duo of greedy TV preachers and while it’s hard to say they don’t deserve it, if you were alive in the 1980s and 1990s, then you know they pretty much were made fun of ad nauseum so at this point, twenty some odd years later, it’s like beating a dead horse, then kicking the horse for extra fun. Doesn’t make any sense.

Ergo, it was a surprise that this movie was actually interesting and a good watch. This is always a nice surprise when you go into a movie thinking the worst and coming out with the best. It actually humanized the Bakkers, told me a lot I never knew before.

Honestly, I was a kid when there religious media empire blew up under accusations of wrongdoing so I only knew them as the preacher that cheated on his wife with Jessica Hahn and that said wife was that crazy lady with tons of makeup.

Things I didn’t know: that Tammy cheated first and Jim’s cheat was, as the movie claims, a retaliatory cheat. I didn’t know that televangelism dated back to the 1960s. I didn’t know that Tammy sang or did puppet shows. I just thought she was a wacky lady with a lot of makeup.

I also didn’t know that Tammy was advocating for inclusion of LGBTQ worshippers into the Christian faith. An early scene where a young Tammy tries to talk a disinterested Rev Jerry Falwell (Vincent D’Nofrio) into being nicer to homosexuals goes about as well as you might expect, but you have to give her credit for trying because this was the 19-freaking-60s.

I also never knew there were claims that Jim Bakker was gay. The movie never outright confirms it but strongly suggests it. Not that anyone reads this fine blog but I suppose in fairness, I should mention Bakker has denied being gay and remarried a new wife in 1998.

Surprisingly, the story sympathizes with the Bakkers to the point where you might not want to completely let them off the hook, but you understand how they got there. Tammy’s mother wasn’t one for doling out love so she sought the world’s love through Christian songs. Jim freaking accidentally ran a kid over when he was young and promised God he’d become a preacher if he let the kid live and he did so he held up his end of the bargain. Alas, all the money and power…and unfortunately, two halves of a couple trying to live in a spotlight that can only shine on one with all the jealousies that ensue…yeah I can’t condone what they did but I get how they got there.

Jessica Chastain completely transforms into another person, right down to Tammy’s patented laugh. Andrew Garfield also turns into a Jim Bakker clone. Great acting here.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I could almost make an argument that it was deserving of a best picture nomination. My unbridled speculation is that maybe the Academy doesn’t like movies where religious types aren’t painted out as supervillains. Overall, I thought this biopic was fair – it didn’t let them off the hook for chicanery but it didn’t reduce them to cartoon characters or take a victory lap around them either.

SIDENOTE: How freaking old is Pat Robertson? A number of famous TV preachers are portrayed but Pat is shown as one of the big names in televangelism in the 1960s and the dude is still on TV today.

Tagged , , , ,

TV Review – Moon Knight (2022) – Episode 1

Grab your mummy bandages, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Disney/Marvel’s latest Disney Plus show.

OK, let me get this straight. For some reason, the Hollywood suits think we need to see Bruce Wayne’s parents get shot outside the theater a hundred times, that we need to see baby Superman crash land his baby spaceship in the Kents’ backyard a hundred times, and that we need to see Spiderman’s Uncle Ben get shot by the crook he let get away a hundred times.

Yet, for some strange reason, Moon Knight, perhaps one of the most obscure, known mainly to hard corps, straight up gangsta comic book nerds, needs no introduction. Here, we just jump into the action where Oscar Isaac plays Steven Grant, a wimpy museum gift shop clerk who, for some inexplicable reason, has been exhibiting strange, bizarre behavior. His body seems to have a literal mind of its own, for one minute he’s fine and the next, he finds himself in dangerous situations – gun fights, car chases, running away from monsters. A mysterious voice keeps telling him to hand his body over to some dude named Marc and somehow its all tied in to Egyptian lore with Ethan Hawke serving as a villain who, guided by an ancient goddess, doles out death as punishment for alleged crimes people have yet to even commit.

Wow. That was a mouthful.

I have a hunch that this season is going to be an origin story in and of itself. We see a brief sequence with the titular Moon Knight at the end of this episode but apparently, the writers decided to start with the action already underway and I assume they will Tarantino their way back to the beginning where we learn why Steven keeps losing control of his body, who is Marc, and who is the voice speaking to him.

It’s just…I don’t get it. Even in the most recent caped crusader flick, “The Batman,” Bruce Waynes’ parents deaths was heavily alluded to. While never shown, their demise was a central plot point so it’s just like, it seems that there must be always a Hollywood suit somewhere who is very concerned there might be one schmuck in the movie theater who was frozen in a block of ice 100 years ago, then thawed out by scientists, and then he left the lab and went straight to the theater and there’s a great concern that this thawed former ice man will have no idea how Batman’s parents died so we better mention it.

But Moon Knight? The character that only the prom dateless knew about up until Disney Plus put the show into production? A tale that seems very complicated with Egyptian gods and magic and body sharing and so on…yeah, we’ll just jump right in and let the viewers figure it out. No need to start at the beginning and move in a straight line at all.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Oscar Isaac becomes an entirely different person, although this takes place in England and not to goof on our friends across the pond but sometimes with the accents I feel like I need an English to English translator. Worth a watch and I’ll tune in for episode two.

Tagged , , , , ,

Movie Review – The Bubble (2022)

Aw sweet! Cliff Beasts 6 is out already, 3.5 readers!

Come with me for a review of…The Bubble, not Cliff Beasts.

My first reaction is this is typical Netflix fanfare combined with typical Judd Apatow fanfare. Large ensemble cast. Basic structure but largely improvised dialogue. Too long. Could have benefitted from some editing. Not very coherent but it ended eventually. I assume Netflix likes such movies because they can spend heavy on the cast and not so much on anything else.

But that’s where I was wrong. This is a very special effects intensive film, largely because they are making fun of Hollywood, the film production process, pretentious actors and of course, action flicks. The ensemble, featuring the likes of Karen Gillian, Keegan Michael-Key, Fred Armisen, Leslie Mann, David Duchovny, that girl who played Borat’s daughter, Pedro Pascal and plenty of others who I’m probably too old to know their names star as the cast of the Cliff Beast franchise, a series of lousy action films in which a team of heroes assemble again and again to defeat evil dinosaur like creatures who dwell on cliffs.

This fact alone leads to the biggest laughs of the film as we get a comparison between how CGI scenes look very cool once rendered vs. what buffoons everyone involved looks like when they are shooting such scenes.

The overall premise is that at the height of the pandemic in 2020, back in the early days of the rona when everyone was so worried that they were wiping down their potato chip bags, a major studio dares to be one of two companies still willing to produce a major film. Accordingly, the cast is cloistered in a posh hotel in the British countryside and are forced to live together, not go anywhere or do anything fun for fear of coming down with the dreaded rona. Hotel staff have to pamper these rich entitled bums who are used to getting their way and are willing to throw outrageous temper tantrums over trivial things whereas the rest of us working stiffs have grown used to not getting our way.

Hijinx ensue that’s pretty much where the coherence ends. Each character has their own subplot and it all culminates in the ensemble yearning for a way off the set, for the film itself becomes a nightmare. Mistakes and errors cause the production to drag on for months and months and there’s no exit from the hotel in sight. The actors try almost every option to get out of the film except, you know, being good actors.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Not really a great film and not something I’d want to watch twice. It does have a lot of laughs and parodies Hollywood extensively. The behind the scenes looks at actors working on a green screen set are a laugh riot. I suppose we’ve come a long way in two years, from the time when people wearing scuba type helmets on dry land seemed like a great idea to now, when a film can laugh at such silliness.

SIDENOTE: I’m not entirely sure a dry land scuba helmet is a terrible idea. I’d wear one if it were socially acceptable.

Tagged , , ,

Movie Review – Nightmare Alley (2021)

Never be a geek, 3.5 readers. Believe me, the last thing you want to be, at least in this film’s definition of the word, is a geek.

BQB here with a review of Guillermo Del Toro’s Oscar buzzed noir flick.

It’s the early 1940s and drifter Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper in a fedora, see?) has just snatched up a paying gig, he’s a carnie and accordingly, all the freaks and geeks of a traveling show will educate him on the ways of flim flam, fakery, deception and of course, the con.

His professors in this master class include Zeena and Pete (Toni Collette and David Strathairn) – a couple who perform as a fortune teller and her assistant bilking the crowd of boku buckeroos with claims of communication with the great beyond. Meanwhile, “geek keeper”) Clem Hoatley (Willem Dafoe) educates the lad (Cooper is referred to throughout this movie as young buck but isn’t he pushing fifty? Oh well, if you’re handsome enough…) on how no one gets ahead without getting their hands dirty. (Sidenote: in this movie, “geek” does not mean “person who collects many Star Wars action figures” as it does in modern times and I’ll leave it at that.)

Rooney Mara rounds out the cast as Molly, she who claims an astounding ability to absorb electricity and Ron Perlman stars as strong man Bruno, Molly’s father-appointed protector who promised to beat up anyone who hurts Molly, thus putting Stan the Man in line for a knuckle sandwich with extra beatdown sauce if he misbehaves.

Long story short, the film is actually two films. The first half, Stan learns the art of the con and the second half, flash forward years later to a time when Stan has perfected the con, performing a mysterious mentalist act with the help of assistant Molly to large, sold out halls in the big city.

Enter Dr. Lillith Ritter (Cate Blanchett). Molly describes her as a stone-faced bitch and frankly, that’s the best description of Blanchett’s typical role I’ve ever heard. In addition to being a stone-faced bitch, Ritter is also a psychiatrist, who views her profession as a legalized con and recruits Stan to use his BS skills to bilk uber wealthy but hella gullible rubes out of their bucks in exchange for Stan tricking them into believing he can communicate with their deceased loved ones.

Then again, the uber rich aren’t people you want to piss off…and I’ll leave it there, another than to mention turns by Richard Jenkins, Holt McCallany and Mary Steenbergen.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I saw this offered on HBO Max and for a long time I assumed it was some sort of new series that I didn’t feel like investing time in. The movie was long and at times I actually wondered if it would have worked better as a series with Stan conning a new mark every week. I’m not sure it’s Oscar worthy and may not have been in the running had it not been for Del Toro’s direction.

DOUBLE SIDNOTE: In the first half of the film, it is always raining. In the second half, it is always snowing. At any rate, bad weather abounds.

TRIPLE SIDNOTE: Based on an old novel turned into a 1940s film that makes me want to go check out the old film. I doubt I will though because I am incredibly lazy.

SPOILER ALERT:

LOOK AWAY UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN IT!

There’s two endings. I can’t get too deep into them other than to say the first ending required me to suspend disbelief as it seemed unlikely someone so adept at conning would do what they did.

As for the second ending, that was great and fitting and it added some symmetry, bringing it back to the beginning of the film which I felt laid out something terrible and made me wonder if they had just forgotten this part only to go back to it at the end.

Tagged , , , ,

Movie Review – Death on the Nile (2022)

And the murderer is…

You’ll have to watch for yourselves, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of a surprisingly good movie for Hulu.

You might remember in 2017 Kenneth Branagh breathed new life in the seminal work of the great mistress of the whodunnit, she who gave birth to the modern mystery novel and perhaps the modern mystery film by association – the great Agatha Christie. Five years (how have they gone by so quickly) later, Branagh is back as Christie’s signature protagonist, the brilliant (both in mind and mustache) Detective Hercule Poirot.

This film has more stars than your favorite constellation, so part of me is surprised it has flown under the radar. It came out on February yet I just realized it was on my second favorite streaming service which to me is like saying my second favorite bag of doggy doody (but I’ll get into my love/hate relationship with streaming services another time.)

The other part of me isn’t surprised the fanfare for this flick has been lackluster. It’s a historical piece, and a thinker at that. Like most whodunnits, it follows Christie’s tried and true formula of putting several flamboyant personalities into one location, giving them all a motive and then, egads! Murder most foul! Lock the doors and bring in Detective Poirot! You’ll have to follow the clues, take notes and keep track of the evidence…or just be lazy like me and munch popcorn while Poirot does all the work and take his word for it.

Here, the dessert loving stache man has been invited on a pleasure cruise of the Nile, at the behest of newlyweds played by Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer. (Sidenote, there’s a scene where Gal grinds her tucas on Armie’s junk on the pyramids so hey, that’s fun. Oh, sorry for the spoiler…then again maybe you’ll watch for the grindage.)

Long story short, these two are absurdly good looking, absurdly successful and absurdly rich, such that they draw the envy of many a cruise guest and drive one of them commit a most heinous crime.

Letitia Wright of Black Panther’s sister fame, that wild snow girl who dated John Snow in Game of Thrones whose name I can’t remember, Annette Bening, Russell Brand and more whose names I don’t feel looking up. This flick really was a get for the Hoo to the Loo.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Come for the mystery. Stay for the suspense. Feel free to pause it on Gal grinding her hiney. Curse your family’s bad genes that prevented you from being a handsome actor like Arnie who gets paid to have his junk grinded on by Gal Gadot. Oh and eat more cookies. That always helps.

Tagged , , , ,

Will Slaps Chris at the Oscars

Hey 3.5 readers, your old pal BQB here.

Wow. I didn’t bother to watch the Oscars last night, only to wake up and read about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on live TV.

So, without further ado, my thoughts:

1 – My first reaction was it must be a publicity stunt. Oscar ratings are dwindling. Hollywood rarely, if ever, puts out big blockbuster historical type epics like Titanic anymore that made big money while putting butts in theater seats and have Oscar appeal. On this fine blog, I used to opine about the Oscars all the time but eventually stopped because, well, literally every year I had never seen any of the movies nominated so it’s not like I have an incentive to tune in and root for flicks I’ve never seen before.

So I wondered if this was designed to boost ratings, like “you never know what could happen at the Oscars so better tune in next year.”

Also, if you watch the video, Chris Rock barely flinched. He doesn’t skip a beat. He just goes on with the show. I wonder if most people wouldn’t have been flustered and not sure what to do next. Then again, Chris Rock isn’t most people. He has performed live for many years and as a pro he is trained in keeping a show running even under bad circumstances.

2 – Thus, I hate to say it but I think it was genuine, which makes me sad. I always liked Will Smith. I liked him because I feel like he’s an underdog story, like kind of a comedy nerd who put himself out there and hit it bigger than ever. When I went to bed and read he won for King Richard I thought good for him. About time. Now it will be hard to not view him as anything but an a-hole.

3 – A lot of people saying Chris deserved it. First this assumes Chris knew about Jada having a condition that causes hair loss. He might have just thought he was making a silly joke to roast an actress about her hair cut. Who among us has never put our foot in our mouth, said something that, once we learn a new fact, we immediately regret saying it? This would have been handled better with Will talking to Chris backstage, letting him know the facts and maybe Chris could have apologized later.

But still, if he knew, the better approach would have been for Will to just respond verbally. Explain how the joke was low class.

4 – I don’t know. Hollywood has been trying to cultivate a real person image like they’re people like the rest of us and then when a guy slaps another guy on live tv and gets away with it with no charges pressed…this wouldn’t happen amongst regular Joes. Slap a guy in a bar and there’s a chance you’re going to end the night in handcuffs.

Anyway, Chris Rock and Will Smith. Two celebs I have always liked and it makes me sad.

Tagged , , , , ,

Movie Review – The Batman – (2022)

Riddle me this, 3.5 readers.

What’s only going to be read by 3.5 readers and full of SPOILERS?

THIS REVIEW!

(SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS ABOUND)

This isn’t the worst Batman film ever made. I doubt the late 1990s’ Batman and Robin, what with its bat nipple suit on George Clooney, will ever be unseated from that distinction.

It’s far from the best either. 2008’s The Dark Knight has some big shoes that may never be filled while 1989’s Batman, though silly by today’s standards, paved the way for Hollywood to start thinking there might be gold in them thar superhero flicks, so I doubt you’d have any of the Marvel success today without it.

This movie is somewhere in the middle. It’s worth the price of admission, there are some fun twists and turns. However, it’s not something I want to rush to watch for a second time and at 3 freaking hours long, it’s a time commitment. Seriously, the movie is so long that when I walked out of the theater I wondered if so much time had passed that the world had been conquered by damn dirty apes.

My best description? Imagine a noir detective Batman. Like so many 1930s fedora clad private dicks, Batsy narrates the film, explaining to the audience what he’s up to.

It’s also, God help us, millennial Batman. The Caped Crusader fights for social justice and against white privilege (including his own) with his mighty Bat-Fu skills.

There’s even a twist of emo Batman – Robert Pattinson broods with long hair in his face and dark eyeliner.

To the film’s credit, it’s not an origin story. I think Hollywood is finally grasping that we don’t need to see origins of superheroes that we’ve seen a hundred times before. No need to see Mr and Mrs Wayne murdered. No need to see baby Superman’s little spaceship crash in the Kents’ backyard. No need to see Spidey’s Uncle Ben shot by a mugger again.

Yet (SPOILER), the Waynes’ untimely demise(s) feature prominently in the film as part of a larger mystery, so there’s still at least one Hollywood suit out there who is worried there might be one viewer left in the world who doesn’t know Batman became Batman because he’s sad about his dead parents.

Paul Dano brings The Riddle to life in a major creepy way heretofore unseen on film. Past incarnations of the human question mark have always just been a wacky version of The Joker (Jim Carrey’s career making goofball performance in Batman Forever, for example.) Here, Paul Dano plays every millennial’s worst nightmare, the unloved, socially inept incel who broods behind a screen all day, exposing big time dirt on Gotham’s elite with a side of murder and violence to increase online viewer counts. (Gee whiz, even the Riddler gets more readers for his blog.)

Zoe Kravitz is Catwoman though is never called Catwoman, yet she becomes a sidekick/love interest for Batsy as she searches for justice for her deceased friend caught up in the madness. Meanwhile, Colin Farrell is completely unrecognizable as crime boss henchman The Penguin. I literally did not know it was Farrell until I googled it at home. Good performance, yet another handsome guy robbing an ugly guy of an ugly role with the aid of prosthetics and make up. Sigh. If only prosthetics and make up could make an ugly guy handsome, then again who has that much time to sit in the makeup chair every day?

A lot of weirdness. A lot of heavy handed exposition. A lot of telling instead of showing. At times we are spoon fed helpings of backstory and while many films have been able to pull off a three hour run time by keeping you on the edge of your seat, this one doesn’t. By the two hour mark, I wanted to go already.

Though it avoids origin story silliness, it’s still new, early in his career Batman. He makes mistakes. Literally falls on his face at one point. If you came for super awesome grappling hook, zipline, flying around while making it look easy Batman, you came to the wrong place and ultimately…yeah while there’s a decent amount of action but there’s more talking than action.

Andy Serkis plays a believable Alfred. Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) plays buddy cop to Bats, but it almost reminded me of the cheesy 1960s Batman where Batman would work directly with the police while in full costume and no one thought it odd a mystery man in cape and cowl was consulting with the police. Here, everyone does think it is odd, but its like the writers felt there needed to be some obligatory lines like “Hey why are we working with this costumed guy” and so on.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. It’s acceptable but not great. It builds a world that I’m not, at this time, really chomping at the bit to see and it’s not just because I’ve seen it a hundred times before. And I’ll admit, I’m old, and comic book movies are for the young, so maybe the younguns will enjoy Millennial Batman fighting for truth, justice and wokeness.

I would point out though that back in the day, I thought 2005’s Batman Begins was great but at the time, I thought it would just be a one and done. That film paved the way for 2008’s powerhouse the Dark Knight so you never know, with a little tweaking this franchise might (I’ll believe it when I see it) but might just have a masterpiece sequel on the way if everyone plays their cards right.

Tagged , , , ,

Movie Review – The Adam Project (2022)

Ryan Reynolds stars as himself, traveling to the past to join forces with…his younger self.

BQB here with a review.

This movie is fun but somewhat basic. It’s typical Ryan Reynolds fast talking funny guy schtick, mixed with some great special effects. Not the most captivating backstory, one of those films you’ll munch popcorn to while it happens but the next day you’ll forget all about it. In other words, it’s standard Netflix fare.

RR stars as middle aged Adam from the future, who travels to the past to evade evildoers of the future who want to abuse the time travel tech his father Louis (Mark Ruffalo) invented. Along the way, he joins forces with his 12 year old self (Walker Scobell doing a pretty funny kid version impression of Reynolds). Jennifer Garner rounds out the cast as mother to the Adams.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but not a lot more to say about it.

Tagged , ,

Movie Review – The King’s Man (2021)

Wow 3.5 readers. Europe is so fragile all it takes is one dead archduke to eff things up beyond repair.

BQB here with a review of this historical action movie.

I have to say it up front. This one is not as good as the other two in the series. For the uninitiated, the first two installments take place in modern times and follow British delinquent Eggsy (Taron Egerton) as spy Harry (Colin Firth) recruits him into a secret espionage organization and turns him from a wayward punk into one of Her Majesty’s top clandestine agents. Somehow, the films manage to combine zany, over the top slapstick comedy, globetrotting hijinx, action and yes, even heart as we see Eggsy confront his shortcomings to become a better man with the help of characters who urge him to put country over self.

Don’t get me wrong. This film is good and worth a watch. However, it is very serious, often times quite sad and generally lacks the humor that made the first two films great. While it explains how the Kingsman organization got its start, it is set during WW1 which, let’s face it, if you’ve been watching the news lately, humor and raging global conflict are two subjects that do not mix, so you can’t blame the producers for abandoning the yuk yuks altogether.

While I wonder if it wouldn’t have been a greater box office success for the studio to have gotten Egerton and his mates together for a third installment set in present day (history pics tend to not put butts into theater seats) I have to say it did educate me a lot about how WW1 broke out, albet in a comic book fashion. Did you know that Kaiser Wilhelm (Germany), King George (England) and Tsar Nicholas (Russia) were cousins? I did not know that. The movie suggests the Great War had its roots in the era when the boys would play fight war games under the disapproving eye of their granny-in-common Queen Victoria of England.

Anyway, the plot? Lord Orlando Oxford (Ralph Fiennes) was once an adventurous do-gooder, using his vast family fortune to intervene in war, to broker peace and deliver aid whenever possible. Alas, when his wife is shot during one such junket during The Boer War, he cloisters himself in his estate, vowing to shield his son Conrad (Harris Dickinson) the only family member he has left, from harm.

Alas, when World War 1 breaks out, Orlando realizes he can’t stay on the sidelines anymore. Young Harris sees war as a chance to prove his mettle and find great honor, despite his father’s protestations that there’s nothing but pain and bloodshed and no greatness to be found. Rather than let Harris go it alone, Orlando braves the world again as father and son go on a whirlwind adventure, from Russia where they take on the villainous Rasputin to other Euro locales where history’s greatest baddies are conspiring to commit heinous deeds most foul.

Along the way, they found the King’s man organization, meeting out of a tailor shop, recruiting other “knights of the round table” and relying on the assistance of a vast network of domestic servants who overhear what their powerful bosses are up to and report the dirt back to Oxford’s housekeeper Polly (Gemma Areton) with backup from butler Shola (Djimon Hounsou).

STATUS: It’s a good film that I fear will probably be swept under the rug. Lots of action. Great special effects. You will learn a lot about history. Obviously, much license is taken with the facts but if you weed through the chaffe you’ll pick up some tidbits of info here and there. I’ve always found WW1 to be quite complicated and this film did a better job of explaining how it happened (if you can look behind the comic bookish bits and realize the real scoop.)

Alas, the movie’s downfall is it’s not funny like its predecessors. Understandable because again, watch the news as of late and you’ll find yourself not laughing, but it doesn’t quite fit with the other two hilarious films in the series. Quite good as a stand alone.

Tagged , , , ,

Movie Review – Spiderman – No Way Home (2021)

I finally got to see it, 3.5 readers and it is the best Spiderman movie ever made.

BQB here with a review of the latest film about our friendly neighborhood webslinger.

Don’t get me wrong. All the Spidey films have heart and the first two installments of the Tobey Maguire version really did bring superhero films into the modern era. Without them, I doubt you’d have the Avengerfest of today. The Andrew Garfield films were fun though I think maybe they just came too close on the heels of the Tobey films and the world wasn’t ready for a reboot just yet.

The past two Tom Holland films were epic, owing in large part to the Avengers-verse that Marvel has created. When a rich, backstory filled structure has been built, it isn’t that hard for a new Spidey to come in and sling his way into the 2020s with great gusto.

Following Mysterio’s big reveal that Spiderman is Peter Parker in the last film, the anonymity jig is up for Peter (Holland), and his partners in crime, girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and BFF Ned (Jacob Batalon). Their lives are ruined under intense public scrutiny as the wall crawler and anyone who assisted him is raked over the coals by media blabbermouth J. Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons).

When Pete seeks the assistance of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the great wizard agrees to help with a spell that will make everyone forget that Pete is Spidey, but Pete’s own blabbermouth during the incantation causes the spell to go awry and well, the rest is movie making history.

Magic makes worlds collide and those older Spiderman movies? Turns out they weren’t just movies. They were alternate worlds. The multi-verse is real, with infinite versions of you, me, Spiderman and his foes.

Truly a Herculean effort that required cooperation between different studios and different actors of various incarnations of the franchise. Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, The Lizard, and Sandman team up to unleash chaos in our current world and it’s up to Team 3-Pete, Holland, Garfield and Maguire (three Spideys, no waiting) to save the day while Willem Defoe, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, Thomas Haden Church, and Rhys Ivans reprise their villainous roles. Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau return as Aunt May and Happy Hogan.

At almost 2 and a half hours, it’s the longest Spiderman movie ever made, though there’s so much going on you’d hardly notice it. It’s quite ambitious with a lot of moving parts, my only criticism is it feels like there might be a few plot holes but honestly, I couldn’t tell you if these are really plot holes of if it’s just something I didn’t quite get on a first viewing with everything moving so quickly.

It’s definitely a movie we all needed, what with the pandemic scaring movie buffs out of theaters, closing theaters, and causing Hollywood to shut down or delay production of big time flicks. Personally, this is the longest I’ve gone without checking out a superhero movie, because a) I literally was unable to buy a ticket at my local theater for the first month because every time I tried they were all sold out online and b) alas, my local theater closed down because it couldn’t stay afloat in the pandemic, which means I just won’t be able to see movies as much as I used to. Is that a good or bad thing? I don’t know.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, and proof that people will go to the movie theater if a film is awesome enough. Hang in there Hollywood, keep making those blockbusters and try to help theaters stay alive any way you can.

SIDENOTE: 40, 30 and 20 something Spidermen all on one screen. Where has the time gone? Memories, like the corners of my webbed up mind…

DOUBLE SIDENOTE: Kudos to this movie for thinking of a new way to rehash old(er) characters. The problem all superhero reboots and sequels suffer from is we’ve already seen the story before. We don’t need to see Pete get bitten by the radioactive spider again. We don’t need to see Norman Osborne go nuts and become G-Gob. Sure, younger actors can take on these characters but it usually just feels like a rehash of something that has already been done. With the spell gone awry plot device, we can immediately return to our old Spidey baddy faves without having to re-tell the stories we already know.

TRIPLE SIDENOTE: I know the Academy hates comic book movies but I wonder, given the fact this film put butts into theater seats in record numbers at a time when theaters are closing and people are avoiding social gatherings might not have merited some Oscar consideration. If theaters do go the way of the Dodo, I truly fear we will see a stark decline in the quality of moviemaking overall and we need films like this to save the industry.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,