REVIEW: Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

MJ (played by Zendaya) and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) trying to escape the public eye in Spider-Man: No Way Home — Photo: Matt Kennedy / Sony Pictures.

Directed by Jon Watts — Screenplay by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers.

Next year is the 20th anniversary of the first-ever live-action Spider-Man film, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, which catapulted an already immensely popular comic book and animation character into big screen superstardom. A lot has happened since then. At this point, three different actors have played Marvel’s beloved wall-crawler on the big screen, and all of them have devoted fanbases. This, Spider-Man: No Way Home, is the third solo film in Tom Holland’s tenure as Peter Parker, but it is so much more than that as trailers have revealed. Rest assured, this is a spoiler-free review that will not reveal anything you wouldn’t already know from promotional material. Promotional material — trailers and posters — have revealed that No Way Home will feature villains (and the actors that originally played those villains) from the previous two Spider-Man sagas and thus connect the different cinematic universes. It is a massive crossover event for Spider-Man fans. My one worry going into the theater was that this movie might be too big to work, but, ultimately, I don’t think that is the case. Because at its heart, this is very much a Spider-Man movie, and I think they manage to balance the various elements of the film remarkably well.

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REVIEW: Invincible – Season One (2021)

Omni-Man (left, voiced by J. K. Simmons) and Invincible (right, voiced by Steven Yeun) in “Invincible,” — Photo: Amazon Studios.

Series Created by Robert Kirkman — Available Now On Amazon Prime Video.

It’s always nice to see, when something you’ve loved for years is adapted successfully. Over five years ago, I read the first forty issues, or so, of Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, a superhero comic book series from Image Comics. I loved the comic book series back then, I still do, and I was excited when it was announced to be adapted as both an animated series and a film. That interest reached a fever pitch when the voice cast was announced. Steven Yeun (voicing Mark Grayson, Invincible), J. K. Simmons (voicing Nolan Grayson, Omni-Man), Sandra Oh (voicing Debbie Grayson), and Gillian Jacobs (voicing Atom Eve) voice the most pivotal characters, but it doesn’t stop there. Other great actors such as Seth Rogen, Mahershala Ali, and Walton Goggins all play important characters. Once you actually watch the show, you’ll see exactly why the cast is so star-studded. Because Invincible could be the ‘next big thing.’

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REVIEW: Palm Springs (2020)

Andy Samberg as Nyles (left) and Cristin Milioti as Sarah (right) in Palm Springs. — Photo: Hulu.

Directed by Max Barbakow — Screenplay by Andy Siara.

I am a sucker for time loop movies, and, like most people, I have been a huge fan of these films since I saw Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day as a kid and fell in love with the concept and the film. Although I had seen him in the original Ghostbusters film prior to my first viewing of Groundhog Day, his quintessential time loop classic from 1993 was actually the film that made me a true fan of Bill Murray.

Similarly, Edge of Tomorrow, another fantastic time loop film, boosted Emily Blunt’s career, and, though it may be too early to tell, the Happy Death Day-film series ought to do the same thing for Jessica Rothe. Every time loop film released after 1993 stands on the shoulders of Groundhog Day, and, even though Edge of Tomorrow and Happy Death Day are great films in the subgenre, there are many films that fail to build off of that formula in a satisfying way. Fortunately, Max Barbakow’s Palm Springs is a refreshing and timely (more on this later in the review) time loop film.

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