Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review

In the 21st century cinematic universe, the famed web slinger has been reinvented on a number of occasions – from Tobey Maguire to Andrew Garfield to Tom Holland. SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse is the first one that feels truly inventive. Anyone thinking this animated experience would be a sub par spin-off or money grab will find themselves sorely mistaken. This iteration of the iconic hero has a lot of heart, plenty of action, and a warped sense of humor that elicits genuine laughs. Directors Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman (who co-wrote the screenplay along with Phil Lord) have drawn up what is probably the most satisfying Spidey pic on its own terms.

The picture posits the theory that our title character does his Spidey thing in multiple dimensions and in different forms than just Peter Parker. These characters are familiar to fans of the Marvel Comics and even includes Spider-Ham, representing the hero in pig form. He’s here and he’s fabulous. Our primary Spidey here is Miles (voiced by Shameik Moore), a Brooklyn teen with a police officer father and a potentially shady uncle that he admires. Miles attends a prep school and feels lost in his adolescence just like Peter Parker did. He’s a fan of Spider-Man, who is currently fighting Big Apple crime in the manner we’re accustomed to. That’s until bad guy Kingpin (Liev Schrieber) knocks him off, but not before Miles get a radioactive bite that gives him the well-known powers.

What follows is a visually splendid adventure where it’s clear that the makers really adore the character. At the same time, they take him in unforeseen directions that perhaps only the animated format could allow. Miles’s Spidey teams with an aging and out of shape Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) from a different “verse”, along with Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld) and the aforementioned Ham version. There’s others, but part of the fun is watching them appear without me spoiling it.

Plenty of superhero movies take themselves quite seriously and many have succeeded with that tone. Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool introduced a different dynamic that is evident here. Yet SpiderVerse is not derivative. It manages to take one of the most repeated story arcs in the genre and cleverly turn it on its head. I enjoyed it immensely. The possibilities are many for this particular universe to continue and I’m up for it.

***1/2 (out of four)

Oscars Spread The Love: A Recap

It was an evening in which the Academy was generous with their selections – so much so that all eight Best Picture nominees took at least one gold statue. It was also a night where many of the viewers (including me) may have pondered, “Maybe we don’t need a host after all…”

As far as the Oscars go, the ceremony moved rather briskly with a focus on the categories and minimal filler. The telecast saved the surprises for the end portion and they were fairly significant.

I went 14 for 21 in my picks. The big winner would have to be Green Book, which took Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), and Original Screenplay. Its win in the top race was a bit unexpected as Roma had front-runner status. Alfonso Cuaron did win for his direction and the Mexican drama emerged victorious as Foreign Language Film and for its Cinematography.

The acting races went as planned until the last one. Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), and Ali won. Actress was another story as Glenn Close (The Wife), after taking multiple precursors, lost to Olivia Colman’s work in The Favourite. Her speech was probably the funniest and most genuine of the evening.

It was a good night all around for Rhapsody, which also took Editing and both Sound races. Same for Black Panther, which was honored for Production Design, Costume Design, and Score.

Other winners:

Adapted Screenplay – BlacKkKlansman, marking Spike Lee’s first competitive Oscar victory

Animated Feature – SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Documentary Feature – Free Solo

Makeup and Hairstyling – Vice

Visual Effects – First Man

Song – “Shallow” from A Star is Born

Some other observations:

  • As mentioned, I didn’t miss having a host one bit, but Melissa McCarthy would be fine by me if she accepted next year.
  • In an awards show where musical performances can often be forgettable, the duet between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga was fantastic. The Queen opening was a pleasure to witness as well.
  • 2018 definitely proved itself to be a year where voters had no clear favorite to sweep anything. The wealth was spread.

And that’s my take! Keep an eye on this here blog for many posts to come guesstimating on the next Oscars!

2018 FINAL Oscar Winner Predictions

We’ve had months of predictions and endless speculation on this blog about the 2018 Oscars and now it’s come to this. On Sunday, the 91st edition of the Academy Awards will air with your host…

As you’ve likely read, there actually is no emcee for this year’s ceremony. I’m not here to write about that. I’m here to make my final picks for the winners! Let’s break down each race one by one, shall we? And, of course, I’ll have a piece up Sunday night with my thoughts on how it all went down.

Best Picture

Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice

Analysis: First things first. It’s extremely rare that the winner here doesn’t have its director nominated. Therefore, two films that might have served as the biggest competition to Roma could now be seen as longer shots: A Star Is Born and Green Book. You could correctly point out that Argo achieved a victory just six years ago without Ben Affleck getting an individual nod. However, it had been 23 years prior to that (Driving Miss Daisy) when it had occurred previously. BlacKkKlansman and The Favourite are upset possibilities, but the smart money is on Alfonso Cuaron’s Netflix Mexican drama and it would mark the streaming service’s first win in the big race.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Director

Nominees: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)

Analysis: I feel even more confident that Cuaron will take the gold here, even if Roma somehow comes up short in Picture. He’s run the table on precursors, including the DGA prize. It would be his second win in five years, after winning for 2013’s Gravity.

Predicted Winner: Cuaron

Best Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Analysis: This is a tough one as Malek and Bale have split a number of precursors. With the SAG Awards, I deemed it a coin flip and picked Malek. I was right. At the Golden Globes, they both won due to category splits. I won’t be surprised to see either win, but my 50/50 feeling going with Malek worked before

Predicted Winner: Malek

Best Actress

Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Analysis: Aparicio and McCarthy should be honored to be nominated. Colman and Gaga are threats, but Close has fared best in previous ceremonies and there’s the fact that she’s a highly respected performer who’s yet to win despite multiple nods.

Predicted Winner: Close

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Analysis: This category features the last two Oscar winners as Ali won in 2016 for Moonlight and Rockwell took it last year for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. They have far different chances to become two-time victors. Ali is the front-runner. Supporting Actor has seen upsets, but Ali looks strong.

Predicted Winner: Ali

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Marina de Tavira (Roma), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Analysis: Even though King didn’t get a SAG nod, they bestowed their award to Emily Blunt for A Quiet Place and she’s not even nominated. An Adams name call is feasible since she’s never won, but King will probably be crowned Sunday evening.

Predicted Winner: King

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, BlacKkKlansman, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, If Beale Street Could Talk, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Star could perhaps shine here, but this really feels like the race where voters will recognize BlacKkKlansman. 

Predicted Winner: BlacKkKlansman

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: The Favourite, First Reformed, Green Book, Roma, Vice

Analysis: This one is legitimately difficult and I think you can make a case for all of them. Roma is a distinct possibility as the Picture favorite and Green Book could make a showing. Yet my slight favorite here is The Favourite.

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Capernaum, Cold War, Never Look Away, Roma, Shoplifters

Analysis: This could be interesting. As revealed above, Roma is my Picture pick. So it’s automatic that it wins here right? Not so fast. Cold War could get the consolation prize and I feel that’s even more possible since it nabbed a surprise nod for director Pawel Pawlikowski. I’m tempted to pick it, but I’ll say Roma manages the double win. However, if you wish to get creative in your office pool, this could be the race to do it.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Animated Feature Film

Nominees: Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai, Ralph Breaks the Internet, SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Analysis: Pixar has dominated this field for years. In most years, it would be risky to bet against them – therefore Incredibles 2. This might be the year to do it as SpiderMan arrived late in the year, swung the momentum, and swept the precursors.

Predicted Winner: SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Best Documentary Feature

Nominees: Free Solo, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Minding the Gap, Of Fathers and Sons, RBG

Analysis: One of the biggest shockers when nominations came out was the omission of Mr. Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. I likely would’ve picked it to win had it been nominated. Now I believe this is between Solo and RBG. Reverence for the latter could swing it that way, but I’ll give a small edge to Solo.

Predicted Winner: Free Solo

Best Film Editing

Nominees: BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Vice

Analysis: Bohemian Rhapsody won the significant precursor for its branch and The Favourite or BlacKkKlansman could factor in as well. My gut says Vice may get this one, however.

Predicted Winner: Vice

Best Cinematography

Nominees: Cold War, The Favourite, Never Look Away, Roma, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Major love for the foreign pics here and Cold War has a shot. This is probably Roma’s race to lose though.

Predicted Winner: Roma

Best Production Design

Nominees: Black Panther, The Favourite, First Man, Mary Poppins Returns, Roma

Analysis: This one comes down to Panther and Favourite in my view and I’ll give the latter an ever so slight edge,

Predicted Winner: The Favourite

Best Costume Design

Nominees: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Black Panther, The Favourite, Mary Poppins Returns, Mary Queen of Scots

Analysis: Like Production Design, Panther and Favourite are the favorites. The best bet could be The Favourite, but Panther has to win something right?

Predicted Winner: Black Panther

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees: Border, Mary Queen of Scots, Vice

Analysis: A Border win isn’t out of the question, but Vice is the likely recipient here.

Predicted Winner: Vice

Best Sound Editing

Nominees: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, A Quiet Place, Roma

Analysis: First Man and Panther could get this, but that Wembley Stadium sequence could cause Rhapsody to achieve gold status.

Predicted Winner: Bohemian Rhapsody

Best Sound Mixing

Nominees: Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, First Man, Roma, A Star Is Born

Analysis: Even though Star didn’t get in the other Sound race, Mixing seems like where it could be picked. I wouldn’t count out First Man, but I’ll guess Star wins here.

Predicted Winner: A Star Is Born

Best Visual Effects

Nominees: Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Robin, First Man, Ready Player One, Solo: A Star Wars Story

Analysis: It was a bit surprising that Black Panther missed the cut here. Its MCU counterpart Infinity is possible, but I’ll say this is the sole victory for First Man.

Predicted Winner: First Man

Best Original Score

Nominees: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk, Isle of Dogs, Mary Poppins Returns

Analysis: Another chance for Panther lies here, but I’m going with a coin flip between BlacKkKlansman and Beale Street.

Predicted Winner: If Beale Street Could Talk

Best Original Song

Nominees: “All the Stars” from Black Panther, “I’ll Fight” from RBG, “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns, “Shallow” from A Star Is Born, “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Analysis: My last race is the easiest. “Shallow” is the massive favorite here.

Predicted Winner: “Shallowfrom A Star Is Born

And there you have it. Enjoy the show Sunday night!

February 8-10 Box Office Predictions

After a sleepy box office weekend that’s normal for when the Super Bowl is played (which was sleepy as well), things pick up considerably in this second frame of February. There’s four newcomers that could populate those top four slots. They are the animated sequel The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Taraji P. Henson comedic remake What Men Want, Liam Neeson action thriller Cold Pursuit, and horror flick The Prodigy. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/29/the-lego-movie-2-the-second-part-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/30/what-men-want-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/30/cold-pursuit-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/31/the-prodigy-box-office-prediction/

The Lego follow-up should have little trouble topping the charts, but I have it debuting significantly under the $69 million achieved by its predecessor four years ago.

I have What Men Want placing a strong second with Cold Pursuit having a middling start in third. The five-spot could be a battle between The Prodigy and holdover The Upside. The latter should experience a smaller drop than three-week champion Glass, which means it may fall from first to sixth.

And with that, my top 5 projections for the weekend ahead:

1. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Predicted Gross: $48.6 million

2. What Men Want

Predicted Gross: $26.4 million

3. Cold Pursuit

Predicted Gross: $12.8 million

4. The Prodigy

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

5. The Upside

Predicted Gross: $5.8 million

Box Office Results (February 13)

Super Bowl weekends are never bountiful ones at multiplexes and that held true this year. It was the worst SB frame in 19 years. Glass stayed in 1st with $9.5 million, cutting close to my $9.8 million prediction. Its total is $88 million.

The Upside was close behind in second with $8.6 million (I said $9.1 million) for $75 million overall.

Action flick Miss Bala was the sole newbie and it was third with $6.8 million, ahead of my $5.8 million forecast. That’s nothing special, but not too shabby considering the reported $15 million budget.

Aquaman was fourth with $4.8 million (I said $5 million) for $323 million total. SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse rounded out the top five with $4.5 million (I said $4.6 million). The Oscar favorite for Best Animated Feature is up to $175 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

February 1-3 Box Office Predictions

It should be an extremely quiet weekend at the box office, as it typically is during the Super Bowl frame. There’s only one wide release out and it’s the Gina Rodriguez led action thriller Miss Bala. You can peruse my detailed prediction post for it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/25/miss-bala-box-office-prediction/

I’m not expecting Bala to reach double digits and my estimate probably puts it in third place behind current holdovers Glass and The Upside (it could go lower). It’s quite possible that no picture will hit double digits this weekend as the 1-2 combo should hover right around that mark.

The rest of the top five should be held by Aquaman and The Kid Who Would Be King, but with the possibility that SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse could vault over King after its weak debut. I’ll say that happens. It’s also feasible that the drop for Green Book could be insignificant and it could jump into the top five. I’ll put it just behind Spidey, however.

With that, my projections for the uneventful frame ahead:

1. Glass

Predicted Gross: $9.8 million

2. The Upside

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

3. Miss Bala

Predicted Gross: $5.8 million

4. Aquaman

Predicted Gross: $5 million

5. SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Predicted Gross: $4.6 million

Box Office Results (January 2527)

Glass held the top spot with an expected hefty sophomore dip at $18.8 million, in line with my $19.6 million estimate. The M. Night Shyamalan mashup, with middling audience and critical reaction, has made $73 million (which is nearly three times its meager budget).

The Upside continued its strong holdings in second with $11.9 million (I said $9.8 million) for a three-week tally of $62 million.

Aquaman was third with $7.2 million compared to my $6.4 million prediction. The DC tale is up to a terrific $316 million.

The aforementioned King Arthur based family flick The Kid Who Would Be King got off to a poor start in fourth with just $7.1 million, under my take of $10.8 million.

SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse rounded out the top five with $6.1 million (I said $5.2 million) for $169 million overall.

Finally, the Matthew McConaughey/Anne Hathaway crime thriller Serenity bombed in eighth position with only $4.4 million. I was a bit higher at $5.1 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

January 25-27 Box Office Predictions

Two new titles attempt to gather eyeballs this weekend with the kiddie rendering of the King Arthur legend The Kid Who Would Be King and Matthew McConaughey/Anne Hathaway thriller Serenity. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/16/the-kid-who-would-be-king-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/17/serenity-box-office-prediction/

I’ll say the Kid manages to just top double digits and that could give it a second place showing. As for Serenity, my mid single digits forecast of $5.1 million puts it just outside the top five in sixth.

Current champ Glass should have little trouble staying in first place, but I am predicting a sophomore frame drop of over 50% due to middling critical and audience reaction.

Holdovers The Upside, Aquaman, and SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse should round out the top half of the charts. As for Dragon Ball Super: Broly, it debuted with terrific results this past weekend (more on that below). However, I anticipate a front-loaded nature for its earnings and a fall in the mid 50s range. That puts it outside the top 5 in my view.

Here are my projections for the weekend ahead:

1. Glass

Predicted Gross: $19.6 million

2. The Kid Who Would Be King

Predicted Gross: $10.8 million

3. The Upside

Predicted Gross: $9.8 million

4. Aquaman

Predicted Gross: $6.4 million

5. SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

Box Office Results (January 1821)

The long MLK weekend saw M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass rule with the third highest opening of this particular holiday at $46.5 million. That is a bit below expectations and under my $58.1 million estimate. However, it nearly doubled its reported $25 million budget in four days.

The Upside went down to second with $18.3 million, ahead of my $15.4 million prediction. The Kevin Hart/Bryan Cranston comedic drama stands at a strong $46 million after two weeks.

Aquaman was third with $12.7 million (I said $13.8 million) as it crossed the triple century mark at $306 million.

The aforementioned Dragon Ball Super: Broly was fourth with a fantastic $11.9 million over the traditional weekend and $22 million since its Wednesday premiere. I’ll sheepishly admit that the anime feature was not properly on my radar and I didn’t do a projection for it.

SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse was in the five-spot with $10.1 million compared to my guesstimate of $8.3 million. Overall haul is $161 million.

A Dog’s Way Home was sixth at $9.9 million (I said $9.1 million) for a two-week tally of $24 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

The PGA Goes Green

The eyes of Oscar prognosticators were on the Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards and for good reason. In this decade, the Best Picture Award has matched the Academy’s 6 out of 8 times (there’s a little fudging here because in 2013 there was a tie between Oscar recipient 12 Years a Slave and Gravity). The non matches occurred in 2015 when the PGA selected The Big Short over Spotlight and the following year with La La Land winning and not Moonlight.

Two scenarios could have changed the Oscar landscape in a significant way. A victory for Roma (coming off its Critics Choice honor) could have solidified standing as a front-runner. If A Star Is Born took the top prize, it would have marked a much-needed win after some high-profile precursor snubs.

Neither scenario happened as Peter Farrelly’s Green Book was named. This is a surprise and it opens up an already uncertain race for Best Picture at the big dance. It certainly lessens Green Book winning the Oscar being seen as an upset. It’s a real contender along with Roma and Star.

Tonight’s ceremony also gave yet another animation award for SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse. Coupled with its Globes and Critics wins, it now appears Spidey is the Academy favorite over Incredibles 2.

Bottom line: the PGA made the Oscars a bit murkier. We got ourselves a race.