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Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home

It’s difficult to review Spider-Man: Far From Home in its totality. Doing so would spoil so much of what makes the film great. The movie is easily the best Spider-Man film to be released. We’re not counting Into the Spider-verse for that debate. It also challenges the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s really that good.

The film picks up post Avengers: Endgame. Not only does it directly address events from that film, but it also answers many of our questions stemming from it. So many scenarios are thrown out about the impact of the snap. So many quick comments. And so much of it is addressed with humor and realism. And that’s the brilliance of the film.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is able to add massive amounts of worldbuilding and details through simple quick sentences. It’s a movie that’s smart in how it delivers information to the audience. It’s also clearly aware of the weight on its shoulders.

Here’s a spoiler… for Avengers: Endgame

The film deals with the fallout of the death of the heroes, particularly Tony Stark. It questions what’s Tony’s legacy and who will take up the mantle? And that responsibility is thrown on to the shoulders of Peter Parker. Tony saw something in him and that’s addressed here. Helping explore that is Happy Hogan who takes on a more involved role that’s almost fatherly.

End spoiler…

The film itself is about elementals who have come from another dimension to destroy our planet as they’ve done to others. Enter Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio, a mysterious person from a different Earth. He’s a soldier out to stop the elementals who destroyed his world.

It’s also the summer and Peter and his fellow students are off to Europe. There, Peter wants to tell MJ how he feels about her.

You’ve got action, you’ve got mystery, and you have a very cute high school romcom all rolled into one.

The film does an excellent job of using all of its cast. Other than a few students who don’t get much to do, even secondary characters get added depth. Flash Thompson has more added to his character out of two small moments than all of the previous Spider-Man films combined. That’s how smart the film is. We know more about him due to a text he sends and an interaction at the end and it all makes us understand his character. Those two moments are maybe 30 seconds combined and involve one sentence.

Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers are the writers for the film and Jon Watts directs, just as they did for Spider-Man: Homecoming. They clearly get these characters and this world and nail it in every way. Throw money at them and keep them around for as long as possible.

Every actor shines too with Zendaya particularly coming out of her shell from the first film and Tom Holland really showing some depth in acting with emotional moments. Jacob Batalon, as Ned, is given so much more to do and is so entertaining with every line delivery. Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove delivering so much humor to moments. Jake Gyllenhaal feels like he’s just having so much fun with what he’s given. He chews the scenery in a great way. Everyone is amazing and shines. There are no weak parts.

The film’s greatest strength is in every small detail in the script and on the screen. It has a lot on its shoulders with so much to do and it succeeds. It wraps up the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe phase and sets up what’s next. Boy does it. It does the impossible at every turn and delivers a summer popcorn film with humor, depth, and heart. The film has it all and I can’t wait to see it again in the theater.

Overall Rating: 10

Spider-Man: Far From Home Gets Its First Post Endgame Trailer. Spoilers Within!

Spoilers within the video!

The new trailer for Spider-Man: Far from Home is here and not only are there some spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, there’s an interesting reveal within!

Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent!

Spider-Man: Far From Home is out July 2nd.

Movie Review: Everest

everest

Everyone has thought about what it would be like to climb the highest point of the planet Earth. Everyone. However, not everybody has the ability to do so. Instead of risking your life, catch a glimpse of the experience on the biggest screen possible, preferably in IMAX.

Everest follows the story of a small group of people who go on an expedition to climb the highest mount, but as an unexpected storm hits, the crew has to face the worst of conditions.

Baltasar Kormákur, an Icelander who is doing a film of such scale for the first time, is the person behind the camera. He has done a tremendous job at directing Everest—the cinematography, pacing and character development are fantastic.

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Where the movie is at its best—that being the realistic touch that Kormákur has added, you are digging your nails into your palms, literally (at least that’s what I did). I strongly disagree with other reviewers who say the first act is slow. For me it was perfect as we get to know the characters, where and how they take up on this endeavour, who is who.

The realism is unprecedented; never did I think the film would be nearly as close to reality as it actually is. The fact that we see the bodies of the dead climbers being passed by, the ambiguity of it—it’s both selfish and yet understandable.

In a way, the spine-chilling storms, the roaming thunders shattering the ground, the unearthing of the mountaineers who may have survived, and the frozen faces and limbs—they all contribute to truly immersing the viewer to the horrible reality some hikers go through when climbing up the peaks. The strongest theme in Everest is the idea that human nature will be responsible for any occurring death, not due to severe conditions.

Jake-Gyllenhaal_Everest_2015

As far as acting goes, it’s stellar across the board–Jason Clarke, Thomas Wright, Ang Phula Sherpa, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Goodman-Hill, Josh Brolin and everyone else do a fine job at portraying the struggles of the characters.

Everest is a film centred around the ambience, harshness, physical impact, and sound of the extreme weather and magnificence of the Himalaya. With powerful character moments, fantastic scenery and visual effects, the film shows how small and insignificant we, the humans are, in comparison to the Mother Nature. To be fully immersed, Everest must be seen in 3D on the largest screen possible.

Overall Score: 8

star-rating-8-out-of-10

See it!

Review: Nightcrawler

It didn’t take much of my first semester in college as a journalism major to realize why it’s so necessary to have entire courses dedicated to teaching journalists not to be jerks.

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It makes all the sense in the world that Journalism Ethics classes exist while courses dedicated to the ethics of crafts like painting, acting, and creative writing don’t exist. The incentives are wonky in journalism, putting reporters in an environment in which what’s going to make them the most money in the fastest amount of time is often against the public’s best interest. It’s much more efficient and economically-solvent to simply use interview subjects and events for selfish goals. Almost any injection of morality leads to less financial profit and more amounts of work. Nightcrawler, an Oscar-nominated film directed and written by Dan Gilroy, represents this in a fully accurate manner, delivering a thrilling tale anchored around its main character Lou Bloom who embodies the most ruthless and efficient kind of journalist.

From the outset it’s clear that Bloom is a shifty individual determined to be the best damn capitalist he can be despite his well-deserved status as an outcast. One night, he stumbles into a career of filming disaster footage of privileged people who fall victim to crime and serious accidents to sell to a desperate and money-grubbing local news station. Moving at a solid pace, the film catalogues Bloom’s rise from a roaming scrap-metal salesman to a powerful freelance provider of video footage who gets whatever he wants, which extends beyond the realm of cash.

Bloom is a fascinating character made absolutely riveting thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal’s stellar performance. He is an utter bastard with no actual regard for anyone but himself. He does show positively charming affection towards multiple other people throughout the movie, from the very first scene to the very last scene, but it’s all fake, all an uncaring means to a self-serving end. Bloom scours the internet to do research of an academic level, giving the character an elusive and mysterious aura. He keeps everything secret that he needs to be secret, and only lets anyone peek behind the curtain when it suits him: a look behind that curtains tends to frighten and intimidate people, which are things he can use.

Watching all of Gyllenhaal’s nuanced facial expressions and body language proves constantly intriguing. Every fake smile and fit of analysis is acted out with the utmost control. Bloom almost always has things under control, all according to a given plan. Occasionally, things veer a bit away from what he’d like, but it’s clear these detours aren’t a complete surprise to him. Even rarer are the few times his plans completely tank, which prove to be the movie’s most horrific moments. This guy is almost perfect when it comes to getting done what he wants to be done, and he knows that and seems to take a ton of pride in that; whenever anything happens that goes against his self-image, he explodes.

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To call Bloom’s actions as a journalist unethical is an understatement, from tampering with crime scenes solely to get a better shot to directly causing disastrous events just so he can film them. The environment he finds himself in is similarly vicious, first evident whenever a woman behind the scenes blatantly explains to Bloom that footage of white victims of minority criminals should be pursued because it brings in more viewers. It’s all believable, too, bringing the thrill to a whole new level. Bloom’s life gets progressively more luxurious as he keeps up with his unethical reporting practices, solidifying his motivations. The people he works for are characterized nicely as struggling local news providers, willing to sacrifice thoughts of ethics in order to get by.

Much the film takes place at night, and it all looks great. The darkly-tinted colors of the night pop before they fade away. The movie moves at a break-neck speed at many points with a camera that keeps up with a constantly well-framed view of the action. Bloom’s adventures take him on high-speed car rides and frantic on-field filming, all of which constantly exciting. Every major performance in this film gets the job done brilliantly, from the woman who finds herself as somewhat as a love interest to Bloom’s loud-mouthed competitor.

Nightcrawler is a big success, always managing to be thought-provoking and thrilling. While the movie always makes it clear that the main character isn’t on the right side of morality, he does indeed win in the end. Unlike many madmen in fiction, Bloom is smarter than everyone he has to deal with.

Lou Bloom is the reason why journalists like myself have to complete courses on ethics in journalism.

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