Tag Archives: Hailee Steinfeld

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Review

Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Shameik Moore as Miles Morales/Spider-Man
Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man
Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman
Mahershala Ali as Aaron Davis
Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis
Lily Tomlin as May Parker
Luna Lauren Velez as Rio Morales
Zoë Kravitz as Mary Jane Watson
John Mulaney as Peter Porker/Spider-Ham
Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker/SP//dr
Nicolas Cage as Peter Parker/Spider-Man Noir
Kathryn Hahn as Olivia “Liv” Octavius/Doctor Octopus
Liev Schreiber as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Mile Morales (Shameik Moore) suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), he soon realizes that there are many others who shar his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin (Live Schrieber), a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.

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There had been an incredible amount of hype for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I personally didn’t know what to expect, all I knew that it was an animated Spider-Man written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and was being regarded as the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I wasn’t hugely hyped for the movie but hearing all the overwhelming acclaim from critics and fans alike made me really interested and seeing it, I can say that it absolutely delivered on every aspect.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s script was fantastic, the whole movie is entertaining from start to finish. The movie is hilarious, with great comedy throughout. At the same time, the movie also really works on an emotional level, its very heartfelt. If you’re a Spider-Man fan you are going to have a euphoric experience with this, there are so many references and Easter eggs here that you’ll recognise and love. That’s not to say that you need to be a big Spider-Man fan to love the movie, it still works reasonably well for a general movie goer, you just might love it a little more if you’re familiar with the comic books. Although the concepts of different worlds of Spider-Man colliding might sound ridiculous and convoluted on paper, it really isn’t. There are two credits scenes, both of them are worth sitting through the credits to see.

I’m not that familiar with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as a character, this was my real introduction to him and I think they did a great job at essentially giving him an origin story for him here. He’s also much lacking in experience compared to the other Spider-people and this movie is very much an origin story for him. The whole movie is about him coming into his own as Spider-Man, in a world where Spider-Man once existed and Spider-people in other universes exist. Jake Johnson was also a great Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man from a different universe compared to the one in Miles’s universe. Along with Miles Morales Spider-Man and Peter B. Parker Spider-Man, we also have Spiderwoman/Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Man Noire (Nicolas Cage), all of them are great. We get to know about their general backstories but don’t get to spend as much times as we do with Miles, aside from him, Peter B. Parker is the one we get to know most. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with a movie with so many characters, there’s only so much that you could delve into these characters (not to mention we’ll probably get to see them in future Spider-Man animated movies, given that they are all Spider-people). Other supporting characters like Miles’s father (Brian Tyree Henry) and his uncle (Mahershala Ali) were also handled quite well in the story. I guess the weakest link in terms of major characters is Kingpin/Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber), who wasn’t bad by any means. On top of being powerful and menacing, he does have clear motivations but just didn’t feel as strong as a character compared to the others, although it doesn’t detract from the rest of the movie.

Into the Spider-Verse is not like any other animated movie I’ve seen before, even just for the animation style. This is just a stunning looking movie, and the action scenes and really everything that happens on screen is just so fluid and smooth. Another thing they did is that they do play with the fact that this is a comic book movie, whether it be split screens or speech bubbles, sometimes its for style, sometimes is for comedy. For this type of style of comic book movie, live action is not able to achieve what an animated movie can, and they definitely take advantage of the fact that this is an animated movie. I will admit that after watching the movie I had a bit of headache, though I can’t tell whether it was because of how I was feeling at the time or whether this type of animation caused it. I do think it is worth mentioning that for some, it will take some time to get used to the animation style.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was an incredibly surprising movie, with a fantastic story and script, great characters and is just entertaining all round. It’s one of the best movies of 2018, the best comic book movie of 2018, one of the best comic book movies ever, and might actually be the best Spider-Man movie yet. Apparently there are more animated Spider-Man movies in the works and I am incredibly hyped for them. Even if you’re not super interested in this movie, check it out. If you’re a Spider-Man fan in the slightest, this is essential viewing.

Bumblebee (2018) Review

Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence & scary scenes
Cast:
Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie Watson
John Cena as Jack Burns
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Memo
John Ortiz as Dr. Powell
Jason Drucker as Otis Watson
Pamela Adlon as Sally Watson
Director: Travis Knight

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee the Autobot seeks refuge in a junkyard in a small California beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the brink of turning 18 years old and trying to find her place in the world, soon discovers the battle-scarred and broken Bumblebee. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns that this is no ordinary yellow Volkswagen.

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Bumblebee was a movie I was curious about. I watched the first three Transformers movies many years ago and while I liked some of them, they were mostly just dumb action movies. However with Hailee Steinfeld but most of all Travis Knight, who directed Kubo and the Two Strings, involved, I was somewhat looking forward to it. Bumblebee is rather formulaic with its story, but it does a great job at what it is.

Now to get it out of the way, Bumblebee has a rather familiar story, it can be compared to The Iron Giant and E.T. and so it follows similar beats to those movies. Not that this is a huge negative but you can sort of tell which direction the story will head in, with not many surprises. The movie is rather straightforward, mainly driven by the relationship between Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) and Bumblebee. It also features the Decepticons hunting Bumblebee, the military trying to find Bumblebee, and that’s it. I bring this up because some of the Michael Bay Transformers movies could be overstuffed at times with plotlines and characters, unnecessarily so, Bumblebee however keeps things simple. There is nothing unnecessary in this 1 hour and 50 minute runtime. Something also really refreshing is that it feels very personal and not large scale. To get the idea about what I mean by personal story, The Iron Giant and E.T. comparisons are pretty accurate. This is really the first Transformers movie I saw really I actually care about the human characters, and the tone is very sincere and genuine. This film is set in the 1980s and throughout there is a feeling of nostalgia. For much of the movie it’s just focussed on Charlie and Bumblebee and their interactions, with much of the large scale events not necessarily being in the forefront of the movie. The stakes become world ending towards the end of the movie, but even then it still feels smaller scale and not overblown. So the third act doesn’t feel like a betrayal of the rest of the movie or anything. On top of that, while the ultimate antagonists of the film are Decepticons, it’s really just 2 of them (voiced by Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux, didn’t know that while watching), and none of them are Megatron (refreshingly he doesn’t appear in the movie at all). The writing itself was really quite good, nothing groundbreaking but it felt right for the story it was telling. Not to bring up comparisons to Michael Bay’s movies yet again … but the humour here works and isn’t like Bay’s disastrously hit or miss humour. As for the connections to the other Transformers movies, I’m not quite sure whether Bumblebee is a prequel to the Bay films or if it’s essentially a reboot. I guess we’ll find out as later films come out.

Hailee Steinfeld is the lead character and as usual she’s great. Her relationship with Bumblebee is one of the driving forces of the movie. Yes, the relationship does follow beats from Iron Giant and all that, but it nonetheless works really well. Steinfeld essentially has to sell it on her own as she doesn’t even have a voice to play off of, and she is great with it. John Cena plays the main military guy and he’s pretty good in his role, however he’s a little better at the more comedic aspects than the serious aspects.

Travis Knight’s direction is great and added a lot to the movie. Almost all of the CGI is great and really works, it definitely helps that it doesn’t use an absurd amount of CGI, only when it’s necessary. I think there were a couple shots in the climax where the green screen looked noticeable, that’s it really. The work on Bumblbee was particularly fantastic. Not only does he look like he’s there when he’s on screen but there are times where Hailee Steinfeld actually physically interacts with him, so you can tell that they probably built part of a seemingly real looking Bumblebee and made it look seamless. The action was also great. The Michael Bay Transformers movies can feature some great action scenes, however it can be very shaky, too up close, or completely not shown on camera, leading to some of the scenes being incomprehensible. Bumblebee’s action scenes on the other hand show everything and it’s really smooth and works well. Along with that, we do get to see some scenes featuring Cybertron and looks really great.

Bumblebee is by far the best Transformers movie. The direction and effects are great, and the story despite being familiar, feels personal and genuine and is done well overall. I know some people really don’t like the Transformers movies and that might put them off watching it (along with the fact that December is packed with plenty of movies), but I really do recommend checking this one out in the cinema because it’s really good, and I’d love to see more of these movies, especially with Travis Knight at the helm of them.