Here are the quick movie reviews for Aquaman, The Mule and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Aquaman, the first DCEU film to fully embrace the big, chessy fun of it all, in a film universe that many have referred to for being too dark. James Wan has shown in his past filmography as being one of the finest horror directors we have today, from the first two Conjuring films to the first two Insidious films. But here Wan continues to spread his wings for something with a heaping amount of scope, that spans throughout the seven seas, and the ride is so-so. Wan brings some captivating action sequences that bring a lot of energy to the film. But within them are a lot of cheesy moments in the vein of over-the-top 80s and 90s action films, and it’s important to say that James Wan clearly is going for that, as he has even stated so. But all the cheese will definitely test some people, as many will pick at it calling it plainly bad, and there were parts that definitely were graining on myself, but I can’t help but salute James Wan for attempting it. But this film is far from perfect, as it features a screenplay with heaping amounts of pacing issues and paper-thin characters, along with a bloated runtime of over two hours and twenty minutes. But the film’s, for the most part, solid visual effects work and the self-aware performance by Jason Momoa, attempt to combat that, but in the end just simply can’t escape the hobbles of the film.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
One of the most uniquely animated films I’ve ever seen, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is quite possibly the best Spider-Man film to date. This is a film that represents some of the most realized and quality storytelling we’ve seen in the superhero market, as the film precisely executes its storytelling through taking the films mission serious, while also being transparently silly. The films extraordinary visual aesthetic is both wild and contradictory, as it features elements that clash against one another creating a form of dissonant animation jazz. Its visual style almost sits back and laughs at the idea that superhero films have to look any certain way. Its free-wheeling energy, brings forth a film that is hilarious, tragic and dynamic, its wholeheartedly ambitious in practically every way. And with this film being the seventh Spider-Man feature film in 16 years, this character and universe has rarely felt so fresh.
Cranky curmudgeon, the trait that Clint Eastwood has been delivering to his characters for decades now, but with The Mule Eastwood simply brings cluelessness to his character, Earl Stone, an older gentlemen, who at his now ripe age of 90 after losing his business has come into a new line of work, smuggling drugs for a Mexican cartel. Eastwood brings Earl as a breezy charmer and it’s through his affable performance and minimalist approach that attempt to take the motor of the story along a nice and easy ride, and to be frank his attempt doesn’t follow through, as the film gets caught lulling around to points of near boredom. It doesn’t help that the films clunky screenplay, brings no morality questions for Earl at all, playing him as a clueless old man, full of an almost Forrest Gump-like innocence. It’s a type of screenplay where characters blatantly tell exposition right to your face and almost refuse to show and not tell. But it’s Earl’s apparent immorality and lack of curiosity about his new job that at points does feel promising, suggesting that the movie is shaping into a scathing, relevant look at American greed. But that falls off and instead, the story shifts and lumbers toward a redemption story involving the family that he’s been leaving behind for years. And the attempted redemptive heroism is never truly earned. From Eastwood’s awkward lingering shots of scantily clad women grinding on him, that nearly transform this film into a Fast and Furious film, to the wasted talent of Bradley Cooper and Michael Peña, The Mule joins the likes of Eastwood’s previous film just this year, The 15:17 to Paris, as another dropped ball.