Friday, December 17, 2021

Spider-Man: No Way Home - Movie Review


    It is especially challenging to do a spoiler-free review of a movie that's just loaded with wonderful story moments that we can't discuss without taking away from the fun of seeing it yourself.

   That's the problem with Spider-man: No Way Home, the third movie starring the amazing Tom Holland in the title role (not counting two Avengers movies and one Captain America film. Spidey gets around).

   This movie picks right up where the last one ended - with his secret identity exposed to the world. This has terrible effects on his family and his friends, and in his desperation to fix it, he turns to Dr. Strange (another star turn for the much-in-demand Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell to make everyone forget his secret. (I love the interactions between Spidey and Strange - the perfect Odd Couple of comics.)

   Things don't go well, and (as seen in the promos), the most powerful villains from other universes are drawn into the modern reality - so welcome Dr. Octopus (wonderfully realized by Alfred Molina), Electro (with a sly Jamie Foxx making the most of this new reality) and the Green Goblin (with Willem Dafoe very nearly stealing every scene he's in, putting his mark on the title of "best film version of a comic book villain ever").

   In a movie loaded chock full of great bits of business, the best of the bunch is how Spider-man reacts to the idea of sending these villains home. It's a truly heroic take on a hero making a really difficult decision.

   The story also gives lots of fun moments to M.J. Watson (the luminous Zendaya) and Pete's best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), his "man in the chair."

    Look, there's so much more to say, but to say more would spoil things, and we're not going there. 

    My advice is avoid the Internet (except this site, of course) and go see the film. It's not perfect (a few minor plot points are a bit fuzzy), but it's a lot of fun. Heck, I haven't heard an audience cheer during a movie - and applaud at the end - since Endgame.

    Go. See. Enjoy! (You can thank me later.)


Grade: A+


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Ghostbusters Afterlife - Movie Review


    Just got back from seeing Ghostbusters Afterlife, and I'm happy to report that I enjoyed it! 

    I wasn't sure if it would work with kids at the heart of the story - and like all too many modern movies, it probably runs about 10 or 15 minutes longer than it should - but there's a lot of goodness in there.

    It follows a down-on-their-luck family (Mom, teen son and teen-ish daughter) who go to the extremely rural farm owned by their father / grandfather who abandoned the family for mysterious reasons. 

    What follows is lots of discovery, some nice character beats, a good mix of action, humor and just enough horror to make it fun.

    By the finale, I will admit (without giving anything away), I was in tears of joy. A wonderfully satisfying ending. 

    The movie leans hard on the original film but has an extremely clever basis for doing so, and has fun with some throwback moments to the original. (Don't blink or you'll miss J.K. Simmons in a hilarious cameo.)

   It's not perfect, but it was lots of fun - what more do you want? 

   Oh, and there are two scenes in the credits - one early and one at the end, both worth waiting for.

    Your mileage may vary, but I had a great time - for the first time, a worthy sequel to the original! (I see you standing there, Ghostbusters II.) 

   I can't wait to see it again!

Grade: A