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May 19th, 2019

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Oscar Winner for Best Animated Film

                             ***

There was a media backlash against “Bohemian Rhapsody” for winning the Golden Globe for Best Drama and “Green Book” for winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

          Backlash is an understatement. It was more like a coordinated firestorm of internet fury. If you google Bohemian Rhapsody Deserved to Win and Green Book Deserved to Win, you get a grand total of TWO articles praising “Green Book.” The dozens of other articles are expressions of righteous outrage over the tragedy of these mediocre old-fashioned movies winning major awards.

          Well, I thoroughly enjoyed “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Green Book.” They are well-crafted, charming, feel-good movies about lonely, guarded artists who slowly open themselves up to friendship.

The consensus was that “Black Panther” should have swept awards season. I don’t get it. I don’t know how comic book movie fans can even tell the difference between “Black Panther” and “Iron Man 3” and “Captain America 4” and “Avengers of the Galaxy 26.” I might have made those up. But who knows, really? There are so many comic book movies and they all look the same to me.

In the climax of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Green Book,” real human beings come together in harmony. The climax of “Black Panther” is a battle scene with computer animated people in cat suits fighting each other.

Almost no one in journalism will admit to loving Best Picture “Green Book.” But almost everyone likes Best Animated Film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

The movie introduces us to Miles Morales: an average nerdy teenager in present day Brooklyn. If you are surprised when he gets bitten by a radioactive spider and develops superpowers, you have gone to the wrong theater.

The guys who made “Into the Spider-Verse” know that there are so many Spider-man films that the average American has lost track. The big gimmick of this movie is that we live in multiverse that contains infinite Spider-men. There’s chubby divorcé Spider-man, 1930s film-noir Spider-man. There’s Spider-girl and there’s even a Spider-pig (named Peter Porker).

Screenwriter Phil Lord has no shortage of fun ideas and weird surprises. He also wrote the 2014 megahit “The Lego Movie” and the similarities are striking. They are both stories of average young men striving to be The Chosen One. And they are both family movies with a barrage of sophisticated jokes that only adults will appreciate.

“The Lego Movie” and “Into the Spider-Verse” are both wonderfully entertaining and imaginative. But the “The Lego Movie” has a surprise touching ending while “Into the Spider-Verse” has a battle scene with computer animated people in spider suits fighting each other.

Sorry, folks. I’ll always prefer old-fashioned films like “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” in which real humans come together in harmony. 

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