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SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (2018) – My rating: 8/10

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a computer-animated superhero film, based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales, aka Spider-Man.  Morales  becomes one of many Spider-Men as they team up to save New York City from Kingpin.  The film is produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Marvel, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing.  Into the Spider-Verse  is the first animated feature film in the Spider-Man franchise, and is set in a shared multiverse called the “Spider-Verse”, which has alternate universes. The film was directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman from a screenplay by Phil Lord and Rothman.  I had never heard of the Spider-Verse but for good reason, this is the first of the Spider-Verse series.  Judging by the weekend box office of 2/3, $175,424,664 and over $347M worldwide, we will see more.  Actually, I liked this film and am having trouble distinguishing between other animated features as to which is the best one.

Miles Morales / Spider-Man (Shameik Moore) is a teenager who admires Spider-Man. He struggles living up to the expectations of his parents, especially his father, police officer Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry), who sees Spider-Man as a menace. After school, Miles secretly visits his uncle Aaron Davis / Prowler (Mahershala Ali) , who brings Miles to an abandoned subway station where he can paint graffiti. While there, Miles is unknowingly bitten by a radioactive spider and begins to develop spider-like abilities.  After an embarrassing encounter with a classmate, Miles realizes the changes he is undergoing as a result of the bite. Searching for the spider, Miles returns to the station and unintentionally runs into a particle accelerator built by Wilson Fisk / The Kingpin (Liev Schreiber), who wishes to access parallel universes to find alternative versions of his wife and son who died in a car crash.

****  SPOILERS  ****

Spider-Man / Peter Parker (Chris Pine) of Miles Morales’ universe, whose death inspires Miles to become Spider-Man, is trying to disable the accelerator while fighting off Fisk’s enforcers, Green Goblin / Norman Osborn (Jorma Taccone) and Prowler. Spider-Man also discovers that Miles has abilities similar to his. He vows to teach him how to control his powers, but is gravely wounded by an explosion during the battle that kills Green Goblin. Spider-Man gives Miles a USB drive to disable the accelerator and warns that the machine could destroy the city if turned on again. Miles then watches Fisk kill Spider-Man in horror before fleeing from Prowler.

While attempting to master his new abilities, Miles inadvertently damages the USB drive. At Spider-Man’s grave, Miles meets Peter B. Parker / Spider-Man (Jake Johnson), a depressed and worn-down version of Spider-Man from another dimension. Peter has been brought into Miles’s dimension by the accelerator and needs to return home, so he reluctantly agrees to train Miles in exchange for help stealing data to create a new drive. While breaking into Kingpin’s research facility, they are confronted by Fisk’s chief scientist Olivia “Liv” Octavius / Doctor Octopus  (Kathryn Hahn), who reveals that Peter will deteriorate the longer he stays in their dimension and eventually die.

Being a young person has it’s props.  An adult might get totally lost in this rather hectic story or not!  While I think the plot is excellent, I think you’d better pay attention or else.  I like the message this version of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sends and I think the cast is outstanding.  There is much more to this story — a must see in order to understand the intensions of the writer.  This animated film is more organized than some of the others I’ve seen this year (2018).  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not for everyone, as this is strictly a children’s flick.  Check It Out, it’s worth it!

[Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature Film]


NO ESCAPE (2015) – My rating: 9.3/10

NoEscapeI haven’t been this excited about a movie since 2015 began.  I’ve seen thousands of movies but never one like this.  No Escape is a thriller like none other.  Owen Wilson who usually plays a comedic role, gave the character of Jack Dwyer a decent portrayal as a husband to Annie Dwyer (Lake Bell) and father of two little girls, Lucy and Breeze Dwyer.  The movie opens with the Dwyer family flying from Texas to Southwest Asia where Jack is starting a new position heading up his water manufacturing company as an engineer.  While at the airport, the family befriended a man they met on the plane, Hammond (Pierce Brosnan) who, along with his side kick, gave them a lift to the hotel because their ride never showed.  From the moment they arrive, nothing is working.  No internet, no TV, no telephone service, no messages from the company and noticeable traffic missing in the streets among other things.  Disappointed and apprehensive, they called it a night with hopes of a better day in the morning.  The next day when the hotel was unable to provide a newspaper, Jack had to walk a block or so to buy one from a local vendor.  On the way back, all hell broke loose when a violent, bloody coup erupted.  Unbeknownst to anyone, the Prime Minister had been assassinated earlier, then without regards for anyone else, the rebels went after everyone who wasn’t a member of the coup, especially Americans.  The killings were ruthless and the scenes were so intense, I felt as if I was there.  The situation was so hopeless, I didn’t see any way out.  The worse part was the language barrier and the lack of information.  Why was this happening and when was it going to end?  Some of the scenes involved tactics that had me crying and softly repeating “OMG” over and over.  I found it hard to get hold of myself.  I am not usually this emotional but I couldn’t contain myself.  I felt helpless and frightened, something I’ve never experienced at any movie.  Intense is an understatement.  I couldn’t understand why these rebels were so savagely cruel.  No Escape was directed and co written by John Erick Dowdle  and Drew Dowdle (known for writing horror movies) who took us on a definite thrill ride you won’t want to miss.