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

What really is there to say about Spider-Man at this point? He’s one of the most well known, beloved, and profitable superheroes of all time. You all know who he is, so nothing really has to be said, I am excited to talk about this different take on the franchise.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”.

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is just your average guy, except for the fact that he’s been bitten by a strange spider and has received Spider-Man-ish powers. And at the same time as he’s trying to get the hang of these new abilities, he discovers that Spider-people from other dimensions have shown up. So now Miles has to team up with his inter-dimensional namesakes to save the multiverse. And I absolutely loved the story here. It’s a fast-paced and fun comic book adventure that flies by fast than you can say “thwip”. It manages to be a good origin for this character that a lot of mainstream audience members might not know anything about, while also presenting a big multiverse adventure that should please a lot of comic book fans. But even amidst the fast-paced insanity, it knows when to slow down a bit and let the dramatic moments simmer a bit, making this whole ordeal a bit more engaging. So yeah, this is a great plot.

The characters in this are colorful, unique, fun, and just really interesting. Shameik Moore plays Miles Morales, this average guy who has a bit of trouble fitting into his current life. And when the Spider stuff comes into his life it forces him to evolve a bit as a person, and the development Miles gets is quite interesting. And Moore does a really good job voicing him. Jake Johnson plays Peter Parker, a cynical slob who’s also god damn Spider-Man. Not gonna say how he got there, but it’s funny and interesting, and he too gets some good development here. And Johnson does a really good job in the role. Next we have Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy, another interesting character who gets some decent development. And Steinfeld does a great job voicing the character. We also get supporting performances from people like Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, LIev Schreiber, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Kimiko Glenn, Kathryn Hahn, Chris Pine, and MANY more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Daniel Pemberton, and I think he did a great job. While there of course is a lot of the heroic orchestral stuff throughout, Pemberton also mixed in stuff from hiphop, electronica, jazz, and even rock to create a sound that is both familiar and unique, which gives the movie its own sound. There’s also a fair bit of licensed tracks used throughout, and while I personally wouldn’t find myself listening to them on my own time, I thought they worked very well within the movie.

So this is an animated movie, and I seriously loved the animation here. At first some of it might look like it’s missing frames, but it didn’t take too long for me to get over that. And from that point on I got to experience one of the most visually stunning things ever. I don’t even know how to fully explain it, it’s just like someone put a fucking comic into a machine that would make the panels fully animated. It’s colorful, it’s fluid, it’s stylish, it’s unique, and it’s just some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever had the pleasure of looking at. Which also makes for some truly amazing action scenes. The movie also has a lot of comedy throughout, and all of it made me laugh, this is absolutely hilarious. Some of it subtle dialog, some of it broad slapstick, and some in-between stuff.

This movie just came out, but it has already been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8.8/10 and is ranked #30 on the “Top 250” list.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is an absolutely magical movie, filled with great stuff for both comic book fans and casual movie goers. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, amazing animation/action, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a 9,90/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is now completed.

2018 is a great year to be a Spidey-fan.

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12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Final Part)

It’s time, ladies and gentlemen. The final part in this year’s 12 Days of Christmas series. It’s been fun, but it’s time for it to come to an end. So let’s go out on a note.

I was considering going with “Jingle All the Way” for this last one, as it was on tv earlier. But then I decided against it because I’d prefer to not get annoyed by a movie on christmas fucking eve. So instead I went with a different thing that was on tv, something that airs every year, same Bat-time, same Bat-channe- damn it, wrong old thing. This is “From All of Us, to All of You”. In this interesting piece of Disney animation, Mickey Mouse and Jiminy Cricket host a sort of christmas show in which they give us some “christmas cards” from various characters. These “cards” are short films, some actually christmas related, and some just clips from movies like “Cinderella” and “The Jungle Book”. And for some unknown reason, it has aired on Swedish television every year since 1960. So yeah, living here in Sweden all my life, I’m kind of familiar with this. I feel nostalgic about seeing it, but at the same time it almost gets a bit same-y, since nothing new is added. Okay, I lied, at the end they show clips from new/upcoming Disney movies, but other than that, it’s the same thing as always, with only minor edits throughout the years. That said, there’s something a bit nice and warm about it, and it brings a nice sense of joy every time I see it. “From All of Us, To All of You” is a charming little compilation with a fascinating legacy.

On the last of christmas’ days, Markus wishes your ass, happy holidays, and a merry fucking christmas.

Movie Review: Solo – A Star Wars Story (2018)

Hey, finally a non-christmas movie. Nice to have a bit of variation. Anyway, let’s go on a space adventure, you scruffy looking nerf herders.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Solo – A Star Wars Story”.

The story follows Han (Alden Ehrenreich), a young and determined guy who wants nothing but to get out of the shitty slum life he’s been part of his entire life. And such an opportunity presents itself when he joins a crew of space scoundrels who have been tasked with delivering a very valuable fuel resource to a notorious gangster. So now we have our “Star Wars” prequel. And while the plot here isn’t anything special, I found it to be a bit of fun. As a big fan of “Firefly” and “Cowboy Bebop”, I have a soft spot for these kind of ragtag space misfit stories. In it’s entirety, the plot is just fine, not something I’d put among the all-time greats. But it’s a fun and fast-paced space adventure, and I don’t mind that.

The characters in this are likable, somewhat interesting, and quite entertaining. Alden Ehrenreich plays the young version of Han Solo. In this, Han isn’t quite the jaded smuggler that we know him as in the older movies, but we see hints of that here as he enters the scoundrel life. He’s quite a fun protagonist. And I thought Ehrenreich was really good in the role, he definitely had a lot of that sly charm one would expect from the character. Next we have Woody Harrelson as Beckett, the guy that Han starts working with who sort of becomes his mentor. A hardened badass with a lot of charisma, he’s quite an enjoyable character. And Harrelson is great in the role. Next we have Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra, childhood friend and love interest of Han. And that’s all I’m gonna say, because any further details would technically be spoilers. But she’s an okay character. And Clarke is pretty good in the role. Donald Glover plays the young version of Lando Calrissian, the smoothest son of a bitch in the galaxy. Not much else to say, he’s a smooth-talking, tricky, and clever guy who could charm his way into the heart of a mountain. And Glover is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Joonas Suotamo, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jon Favreau, and more, all doing well in their respective roles (even if one or two of the characters is less than well-realized).

The score for this movie was not composed by the one and only John Williams. Instead it was done by John Powell. And while there are some familiar themes used throughout, he still brought a lot of his own stuff to it to create one of the best scores of the year. I’m not just saying that because of my love for any piece of “Star Wars” music, he brought his fucking A-game on a fair bit of the tracks here. Yeah, the music here is great.

This movie was directed by Ron Howard, and I think he did a really good job with it. He manages to work with a lot of the typical “Star Wars” visual stylings, while also bringing in some stuff of his own, and even a little bit of old school western. The movie is just well shot and has a nice overall flow here that makes it a joy to watch. And the action here too is a lot of fun. Some good shootouts, a nice fight or two… there’s just a lot of fun to be had with the action here. And I don’t think I need to say anything about the visual effects at this point… it’s fuckin’ “Star Wars”, y’all know that stuff is gonna look great.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not anything special, “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is a damn fine space adventure full of charisma and fun. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/action/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is an 8,86/10. So I’d definitely say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is now completed.

You know what another title for this movie could be? Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. *Ba-dum-tss*.

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 8)

BAH, HUMBUG. There, I did the thing. Can we get on with the talks about the christmas-y thing now?

There are many adaptations of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. There’s the Patrick Stewart one, there’s the Muppet one, there’s the Bill Murray one, there’s the creepy CGI Robert Zemeckis one… so picking one wasn’t easy. But I finally decided to settle on the first version I ever saw. This is “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”. You all know the story, cranky cheapskate Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck/Alan Young) is a dick (or duck, ba-dum-tss) to everyone around him. So when he goes to bed he is visited by the three ghosts of christmas, and they show him how he’s a giant fuck-up, and like I said, you know what happens. Everybody knows this story. The only real difference here is the use of beloved Disney characters instead of actor/humans. But I like it, adds quite a bit of charm. Plus, Scrooge as Scrooge is a match made in obvious. But the animation is good, the story is timeless, the voice cast is stellar… plus, it’s only like 25 minutes, so it won’t consume much of your day. “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” still holds up 35 years later.

On the eighth day of christmas, Markus gives y’all a hug, because he doesn’t wanna tell you “Bah, humbug!”.

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 7)

Good day to you all! Hope all of you are doing well! Man, I’m in a good mood today, let’s do this!

I was considering doing “Alvin and the Chipmunks” for today’s thing, but then I decided to not be cruel to myself like that. So instead I went with something that I hadn’t seen, but was based on something that always brings a smile. It’s “A Muppet Family Christmas”. So what’s it about? Simple, Kermit, Animal, and the rest of the gang travel to Fozzie’s mother’s home to celebrate the holidays. Cue the singing, heartwarming talks, and funny hijinks that one expects from these lovable cloth creatures. And that’s really it. The only real twist here is that characters from both “Sesame Street” and “Fraggle Rock” show up to join in the fun. Not much that can be said, I love Muppets, and they use them to great effect here, giving me a nice, cozy feeling. It’s the frickin’ Muppets… how could one not get all warm inside? “A Muppet Family Christmas” brings much joy for the holidays.

On the seventh day of christmas, Markus brings to you, the Swedish Chef once again speaking gobbledygoo. 

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 5)

Well hello there! Thanks for coming. Sit down and relax while I jabber on about today’s film.

Earlier today I was thinking, “What should I do today?”, as I wanted to be slightly more creative with today’s pick. Then I thought “I should do a Harry Potter movie!”, as most of those flicks have a part set around the holiday. Then it came down to which one I would do. And in the end I decided to pick my favorite out of the bunch, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. It’s time for Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) to do his third year at Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry. But of course he can’t just have a “normal” school year for once, as he has to look out for Sirius Black (Gary Oldman), a killer who has escaped from Azkaban prison. And you know the usual shenanigans that happen, Harry questions things, Snape (Alan Rickman) looks angry, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) is secretly a dick, and Harry and his friends end up in some dangerous situations. But they put some nice twists on these things here with the inclusion of certain revelations regarding the past of Harry’s parents, as well as the looming horror of the Dementors. It stands out thanks to one of the more engaging plots in the series, combined with the confident and stunning direction of Alfonso Cuarón. And while this movie doesn’t go “Happy Christmas” as blatantly as some of the other ones, it does have a bit set in a very snowy Hogsmeade, and it all just gives me a very christmas-y vibe. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” works both for christmas-y and casual viewing.

On the fifth day of christmas, Markus brings to you, an actual good film, woohoo!

Movie Review: Sweet Country (2018)

Australia. Beautiful scenery, deliverer of my favorite band, origin of so many great actors… there’s a lot to appreciate, but there’s also things that one won’t appreciate. Like snakes… and spiders… and the fact that not even the country at the end of the world has been free of racism. Oh well, let’s go down and under and back in time a bit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sweet Country”.

Australia, the 1920s. We follow an Aboriginal farmhand (Hamilton Morris) who has to go on the run after he shoots a white man in self defense. So now we have our historical Aussie western. And I thought the plot here was good. It has an interesting premise, the events unfolding are somewhat engaging, and the entire story is pretty well told. It gives an interesting glimpse into what it was like in the outback during those times… but despite all this, it never really grabbed me. It was interesting enough for me to follow along, but there was never any point where the story had me in its grasp. I don’t know how to properly explain it. Yes, the story is good, but it’s not one of those that really dug itself into my mind.

The characters in this are decent, not ones I’ll be remembering, but they worked well enough in the movie. Explaining their arcs like I usually do is hard as to not get into some spoilers, so I’ll just skip that and list the actors (who are all really good). Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Tremayne Doolan, Sam Neill Ewen Leslie, Matt Day, and many more.

The score was composed by… no one? Yeah, there’s no music here except for the end credits and like one really high pitched note at one point. But other than those… no music. Hmm…

The movie was shot and directed by Warwick Thornton, and I think he did a really good job with it. He has a way of keeping you engaged through his tight and often kinda tense directing, while also giving us some great shots of the Australian outback. It’s well shot and well directed. Not much else that can be said on that front.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

While “Sweet Country” didn’t enamor me like it has the critics, I still think it’s an incredibly well made historical western-drama. It has a good plot, okay characters, great performances, no music(?), and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, despite the plot in itself being really good, I wasn’t that engaged by it. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Sweet Country” is an 8,51/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Sweet Country” is now completed.

G’day.

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 4)

What? Did you think all these would be made-for-tv schlock? Wrong. Sometimes I do old stuff too.

As you could probably guess from the header image, today we are talking about Rankin/Bass’ beloved 1964 classic, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. And you guys already know the story. Even if you haven’t seen this thing, then you’ve absolutely heard that song. And if not, then I wonder what cave you’ve been living in for the past millennium. But to recap, there’s this reindeer, his name’s Rudolph, he has a red nose with the watt count of a fucking spotlight (and it apparently also has a dimming option). This little thing makes the other reindeer mock him, despite it doing no actual harm to anyone. So we follow him as he tries to fit in. That’s basically it. All I wonder is how in the shit they stretch this out to a 50-minute runtime. I mean, the inclusion of snow monsters, an elf that wants to become a dentist, and a prospector packing heat certainly might help in extending it a bit. But this is also the aspect that drags this special down a bit… that runtime feels dragged out. 25 – 30 minutes would have sufficed, but somehow it’s 51 minutes long. Yes, this special has a ton of charm and some really catchy tunes… but it all feels a bit dragged out. I mean, it’s good… I’m just not in love like those who grew up watching this.

On the fourth day of christmas, Markus decided to pick, a thing telling you not to be a dick.

Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

And the 2018 catch-up continues. Admittedly I don’t have a super specific series set up, but catching up on the year’s movies is what one have to do when nearing the end of said year. Enough rambling, let’s shrink.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has to once again don the Ant-Man suit, but instead of using it to steal some shit, he has to use his abilities, as well as the assistance of his ally Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to get hold of some tech to try and pull Janet Van Dyne out of the Quantum Realm. But this quest will prove challenging as opposing forces want this technology for their own purposes. So now we have our “Ant-Man” sequel plot. And it’s good, a fun comic book romp. Has a few decent dramatic moments. Not much I can say, it’s just a fun superhero plot. Doesn’t do much, but doesn’t do little either. It’s fast-paced and easy to follow while expanding on a few of the ideas set up in the first movie. It doesn’t do anything special, but it also doesn’t need to. It’s just an easygoing and fun plot.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and really entertaining. Paul Rudd of course returns as Scott Lang, the charming ex-con/superhero with a heart of gold. He’s fun, he’s someone I care about, and he is just generally an enjoyable protagonist. And Paul Rudd is great in the role. Next we have Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. She was just sort of a tough sidekick/teacher in the first movie, but here she gets to do a lot more, especially since she now has her own super suit to play with. And she’s quite an enjoyable character to follow. And Lilly is great in the role. Michael Peña returns as Scott’s best friend, Luis, and he’s just as hilarious as he was the first time around. Michael Douglas returns as Dr. Hank Pym, and he’s once again pretty great. Newcomer time! First up, Hannah John-Kamen as “Ghost”, a mysterious new villain with a pretty compelling arc that I won’t say more about here, but I found it to be pretty cool. And John-Kamen is really good in the role. We also get Walton Goggins as some shady black market dealer, and he’s as Goggins-y as ever, and while his character doesn’t have much to actually do, Goggins is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, T.I., Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

Like with the first movie, Christophe Beck did the score for this one. And it’s just as fun and enjoyable as the first time around. It’s bouncy, irreverent, and just overall fits the lighthearted tone that the movie generally goes for. The added use of synth and (for lack of a better word) bouncy percussion really helps keep the pace up. It’s just fun. And there are a few licensed tracks used throughout that work well enough in their respective scenes.

As with the first movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was directed by Peyton Reed and I think he did a good job with it. His directing is fun, fast-paced, and just generally has a certain energy that makes it all quite enjoyable to watch. The action scenes too are quite solid, giving us some good close quarters combat, as well as the shrink/grow superhero stuff we came to see. There’s of course also a lot of comedy throughout this movie, and I found most of it to be quite funny. A few jokes weren’t the best, but none of them made me want to tear my brain out. Some mild nose-wrinkling, some chuckles, a few out loud laughs… yeah, it’s funny.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a fun movie… not one of the best of the year, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is now completed.

Baba Yaga…

Series Review: Castlevania – Season 2 (2018)

I am so excited to write about this. Partly because it’s another Month of Spooks review, and partly because I’ve been looking forward to season 2 of this show for over a year. And now we’re here, ready to talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Castlevania” season 2!

Picking up very shortly after the end of season 1, we once again follow Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) on his quest to find and take down Dracula (Graham McTavish). But this time he’s not alone, as he’s joined on this quest by sorceress Sypha Belnades (Alejandra Reynoso), as well as Dracula’s own son, Alucard (James Callis). So now we have our vampiric plot. And I thought the plot here was great. The first season already set up a good enough plot/foundation, but it was a bit on the short side with only four episodes. This time we have eight episodes, which means you can let things develop a bit more, which works very well for the show as I found this plot entertaining, compelling, exciting, and just overall really well told. It even managed to tug at my heartstrings a bit. Great stuff.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, really interesting, and also pretty entertaining. First up we have Richard Armitage returning as Trevor Belmont, the last member of the legendary Belmont clan. He’s kind of a sarcastic asshole, but not to a degree where I utterly dislike him, as you can tell that a lot of this comes from his broken life. Also, it’s just entertaining to see him play off of the other characters a bit. And Armitage does a great job with the role. Alejandra Reynoso returns as Sypha, a scholar and sorceress that has joined Trevor on his quest. She’s a tough-as-nails lady that is also smart, charming, and just generally interesting. And despite an accent that is weird and inconsistent, Reynoso does a really good job in the role. Next we have James Callis as Alucard, the half-vampire son of Dracula. He had a good life that then turned to shit after something happened that, and now years later he of course wants to take down his own father. Alucard is a clever, badass, fun, and just overall interesting character that I love seeing at the forefront like this. And Callis is great in the role. And finally have Graham McTavish returning as Dracula, this time having a much more prominent role than in season 1. He’s a tragic figure who has understandable motivations, but extreme methods, and I think he’s one of the most interesting villains in recent years. And McTavish is fantastic in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like Theo James, Peter Stormare, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Emily Swallow, Matt Frewer, Jaime Murray, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the score here was composed by Trevor Morris, and it is utterly fantastic. It’s big and bombastic, but it’s also subtle and contemplative. Badass, but also emotional. His score, which utilizes brass, strings, choirs, and sometimes even synth, perfectly fits into each scene and elevates it all to a whole different level.

Based on the classic video game franchise of the same name, and written by Warren Ellis, this might be the most well crafted video game adaptation of all time. It has a lot of fun nods to the games, while still working on its own if you haven’t played them. The animation here is great. The designs look great, and everything just has a crisp quality to them that I like.  And holy shit, the action scenes in this are utterly fantastic, being fast-paced, fun, badass, and brutal as all hell… so much blood. What I was a bit surprised by this season is just how funny it was. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a comedy series in the slightest, but there’s a fair bit of humor spread throughout the season, and I found it all to be really funny without taking away from the darker and more dramatic parts of the show.

The season just came out, and doesn’t have so much data on my usual sites. It exists on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but has no score as of writing this review. But on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

Season 2 of “Castlevania” takes what was good about the first season and ramps it up to fucking 11. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic writing/directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Castlevania” season 2 is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Castlevania” season 2 is now completed.

Best video game adaptation ever? Damn right, it is.