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If you are looking for s fun movie this holiday season that the whole family can enjoy, then you may want to check out Sony’s new animated film Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The movie tells a tale of Miles Morales becoming Spider-Man and how he is joined by other Spider-Man based characters from around the multi-verse who have banned together to stop the Kingpin and his henchmen from destroying Earth. While the basic plot is a bit on the corny side, it was offset by stellar animation, strong voice casting, and good character development. The film has a number of big name stars lending their voice talents to this project including Chris Pine, Nicholas Cage, Liev Schreiber and Lily Tomlin. I thought the strongest performance came from Shemeik Moore who voiced Miles Morales. He did a really good job bringing the character from the pages of the comics to the big screen. The animation was very different from most animated movies you will see this year, but I thought it blended the feel of a comic with life-like animation well, especially the facial expressions of the characters. The movie is filled with plenty of action to keep the younger viewers entertained as well as some funny and emotional moments that will keep the older viewers happy. This film features one of the last cameo appearances of the late Stan Lee which had me tearing up a little. Besides that, the movie included a number of cool easter eggs for older Marvel cartoon viewers, including an after credit scene that is not only cool but pretty funny. This is the third animated movie I’ve seen in as many weeks including Wreck It Ralph and The Grinch. While I did enjoy all three movies, I thought this was the best of the three. Going into this movie, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I really enjoyed it and recommend you check it out. Grade: B+
Obviously I am a bit late to the party with this review. I’ve been tied up covering a little event called New York Comic Con so did not get a chance to see the new Marvel Venom movie from Sony until last night. I did catch a few of the early reviews for the film that compared it to the likes of Catwoman, so honestly I went in last night with pretty low expectations. To my surprise the movie wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. That is not to say this is a great movie, because it’s not. At best I would call it a mediocre movie with a number of spots that will make you laugh, mainly at the internal interactions between Eddie and Venom. The overall story is so-so with a plot that involves a corporation called the “Life Foundation” led by a madman CEO named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who manages to obtain sentient alien lifeforms known as Symbiotes that he wants to merge with human beings to support life off-planet. Without going into too many plot details, Drake’s plans go wrong and one of the Symbiotes merges with a washed-out reporter named Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy). After that, you are treated to some good comedic moments and multiple action sequences including a wild motorcycle chase through San Francisco and a climactic battle with the villain. The CGI is decent but a little iffy at times. Compared to modern Marvel Cinematic Universe films like Infinity War, the CGI is somewhat laughable at times. Like I said, the saving grace is the interactions betweenn Eddie and Venom. I also recommend staying for a very cool after-credit scene. With the weekend just about over, I am guessing most die-hard Venom fans already took the plunge to see the movie. If you haven’t, the movie has just enough to make it worth going - although I might recommend a cheaper matinee screening. If you aren’t a huge Venom fan or think this will reveal anything new about Tom Hardy’s Spider-Man, then I would say with wait for home rental or pass all together. Grade C