Thursday, August 10, 2017

Movie Review: “Annabelle: Creation”



Annabelle: Creation

***** out of 5
109 minutes
Rated R for horror violence and terror
Warner Bros. Pictures

Article first published at TheReelPlace.com

A few issues were working against Annabelle: Creation. Mostly, that the first movie was not that great. While the first Annabelle had a few moments that helped it find a place as a Conjuring spin-off, it was nowhere near on par with either of the Conjurings. Then there’s director David F. Sandberg — whose own Lights Out was one of the worst films of last year — and screenwriter Gary Dauberman returning from the first Annabelle. But something funny happened on Annabelle’s return to the big screen: they got everything right and Creation is the scariest film of the year so far!

Traveling even further back in time (1957), Samuel Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) is a doll maker who has just finished creating the first ever Annabelle doll. Life is good for the Mullins — including his wife Esther (Miranda Otto) and daughter Bee (Samara Lee), but not before Bee is run over by a car and killed. Twelve years later, the Mullins have turned their home into an orphanage. Along comes a busload of children and teens — most importantly Linda (Lulu Wilson) and Janice (Talitha Bateman) who has a bum leg thanks to polio — brought by Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) who just wants the girls to have some kind of normalcy. But just wouldn’t you know it, a locked door holds dark secrets and soon enough, demons, possession, and terror abound.

Sandberg instantly seems to be paying homage to Guillermo del Toro’s Devil’s Backbone putting the Mullins’ home in the middle of a deserted countryside full of evil spirits. It also shares the honor of being every bit as terrifying, if not more so. You’d be hardpressed to find a bigger fright machine that Annabelle: Creation, and can proudly wear the moniker until Pennywise returns next month in It (which Dauberman also co-wrote only making me even more excited for it). Until then, Creation is full of terrifying visuals and scare sequences that don’t simply rely on jump scares. Sandberg and Dauberman make sure to squeeze every ounce of mayhem possible out of every situation. Where most films would cut away after something horrific happens, the camera never moves and we get to watch the horrific sequence continue. Scarecrows, crawl spaces, chair lifts, even a crucifix, are all used to maximum effort.

It helps having such a game cast to put through the wringer. While Wilson is no stranger to the genre — a standout against the older cast in the other superior prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil — Bateman manages to steal the show away from everyone. She gives Janice an arc most horror characters could only dream of. To put it bluntly, Sandberg and Dauberman have outdone their previous efforts and are completely forgiven for their past discretions. The Conjuring finally has a usurper, yes, Creation is even scarier than that first film that kicked off the whole Ed and Lorraine Warren Universe. But if they keep making them even halfway as scary as Creation is — next up is The Nun (Dauberman again) — then Warner Bros. certainly has their own horror multiverse full of carefully crafted monsters the likes of which Universal can only envy. Annabelle: Creation is the best and scariest horror film of the year, now that’s something for horror fans to scream about.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Movie Review: “The Dark Tower”


The Dark Tower

*** out of 5
95 minutes
Rated PG-13 for thematic material including sequences of gun violence and action
Sony Pictures

Article first published at TheReelPlace.com 

My first trip to the top of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series was unsuccessful. After plowing my way through the first four books, I hit a roadblock when I reached the fifth. I considered it unreadable and stopped, dead in my tracks. Cut to a few years later and the Tower kept calling me back. I wanted to finish the series and decided that maybe the best way to do it would be to embark on a quest of my own. After weeks of research I put together a pretty definitive reading list, putting them in order by how they’re connected, and started from scratch. (The reading order will be listed below for interested parties.) Taking just over a year to complete, I made my way through and came out the other side of the door, say thankya. So with the film finally on its way after 10 years in development hell, I knew it was time to hit the road with my favorite literary ka-tet and try to make another run through before it came out. While I may only have made it 70 percent through Wolves of the Calla, The Dark Tower screening has come and gone. I have seen the film and while it’s far from perfect, it’s still another turn of the wheel. For those who feel the most burned, it comes down to this: the film in their head was way better than what co-writer/director Nikolaj Arcel finally delivered. And while it may come with King’s own blessing, along with Robin Furth’s (Stephen King research assistant, Dark Tower Concordance author, DT comic book writer), there’s no denying that this Dark Tower may be an empty shell of an epic eight book series. There’s plenty of fun to be had for those willing to chuck khef out the window and just be thankful that we ever got anything at all. While the film may never have lived up to expectations, the best thing to do is just skip the first four steps of the grieving process and come to accept that this is the cinematic Dark Tower. We still have the books at our disposal. While it may not be new and improved, if Star Trek can have an alternate universe, then so can The Dark Tower. The whole series runs on the existence of multiverses and this movie just exists on a different level of the tower — which is the whole point to begin with. It was always said to be a “sequel” to the books. Even though this may be the loosest use of the word — Roland (Idris Elba) being in possession of the Horn of Eld as the only clue — therein lies the film’s biggest flaw. There are only one or two lines of dialogue that even remotely reference the books. One is better than the other, while the other is a huge spoiler for anyone who may not get through the books before the movie comes out. For the rest of us, we’re left scratching our heads as to how a complete reboot can be considered a sequel. t Then there’s the issue with Arcel — and co-writers Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, and somehow-Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman — cramming in as many references to other King films rather than focusing on what makes the series work: character. Thank Ka we got Elba cast as Roland. The man is our beloved Gunslinger, he’s just stuck in a really bad reimagining. If there happens to be more films — we’ll see what happens with the TV series, which is supposedly going to be a straight adaptation of the fourth book, Wizard and Glass — Sony Pictures has some serious making up to do. Aside from the film’s many, many issues, Matthew McConaughey is surprisingly being one of the biggest flaws. He always looks bored, completely sleepwalking his way through a literary icon and it shows that he only spent a few days in the role. (Confirmed by Elba on Jimmy Fallon.) The last scene of the film is one of the most obviously tacked on studio-meddling sequences in recent memory. There’s no way studio interference didn’t bring this one about. It’s abominable. Let’s just say that with how meta the books get, I’ve got a great idea to make the next movie even more so. Call me! As it stands, The Dark Tower seemed to have three camps walking out. 1) Those who love the core books and are more casual King readers loathed the film with every ounce of their being. 2) Those who have never read a single book who seemed to enjoy it for what it is. 3) Those who may be a little in over our heads when it comes to The Dark Tower who feel complacent. That’s really the only word for it. The saddest part is they cater so much to fans while dumbing it down for everyone else that it turns the whole movie into a giant muddled mess. Even my wife — currently finishing up Wizard and Glass — was thoroughly confused. They spend so much time simplifying the story and even more time on exposition. It doesn’t help that the plot is culled from multiple books, some even from outside the core. For anyone who wants more information as to why the Breakers are so important, read Black House immediately! Long story short, there was no way The Dark Tower was ever going to live up to anyone’s expectations. It’s nothing short of a miracle that the film exists at all. Arcel does the best he can in trying to wrangle in an entire multiverse of storytelling. Could it have been better if he was given free reign to make a straight adaptation? Absolutely! But it could have been far worse. Early versions of the script were way worse from early reports so it’s a testament to Arcel for getting anything up on the big screen. Let alone something that so dearly loves King and all his works. For those willing to go along for the ride, most of the gang’s all here. Sombra, Taheen, Manni, oh my! Even the opening production logos features one for the Tet Corporation. Now that I think about it, maybe that should be the first clue for what you’re getting into. Maybe this is their version of the books? It certainly puts an even more meta spin on things. Considering how lazy some of the movie is, that’s giving it too much credit. However, if they would like to take credit, I’m happy to provide a mailing address for a royalty check. The Dark Tower was always bound to piss most people off. After 40 years, there’s no denying the power of the beams was too powerful to make something palatable to modern audiences while appeasing the rest of us. On the flip side, considering we live in a time where we have three Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones, it only shows how much more room there was for Arcel to get it right. As it stands, a Dark Tower film finally exists and that is the truth.

*As promised, in order:
The Eyes of the Dragon
The Little Sisters of Eluria
The Gunslinger (Book 1)
The Drawing of the Three (Book II)
It
The Stand
Night Surf
The Talisman
The Waste Lands (Book III)
Rose Madder
Insomnia
Wizard and Glass (Book IV)
’Salem’s Lot
Jerusalem’s Lot
From a Buick 8
The Wind Through the Keyhole (Book IV.5)
Low Men in Yellow Coats
The Shining
11/22/63
Doctor Sleep
Wolves of the Calla (Book V)
The Dead Zone
Cujo
Dreamcatcher
Bag of Bones
Song of Susannah (Book VI)
Duma Key
The Mist
Lisey’s Story
Black House
Everything’s Eventual
1408
The Dark Tower (Book VII)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Movie Review: “Atomic Blonde”


Atomic Blonde

**** 1/2
115 minutes
Rated R for sequences of strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity
Universal Pictures

Article first published at TheReelPlace.com

If there’s any actresses always proving how much of a badass she is, it’s Charlize Theron. While she’s always been one of Hollywood’s best assets, she really coming into her own after after stealing the show from Mad Max himself in Fury Road and taking on the lead protagonist in The Fate of the Furious earlier this year. But it’s with Atomic Blonde that she really comes into her own. Proving to be more than just a John Wick ripoff — comparisons abound with the film directed by one half of the first Wick’s directors, David Leitch — Atomic Blonde is the perfect action vehicle for Theron to kick ass and take names with the best of them.

In 1989 Berlin, James (Sam Hargrave), a spy, has just been tracked down and taken out by Yuri Bakhtin (Jóhannes Jóhannesson). Yuri takes a watch containing the tried and true spy film MacGuffin: a complete list of active agents. Ten days later, Lorraine Broughton (Theron), a British agent, is brought in for debriefing. Eric Gray (Toby Jones) and American Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman) want to know what happened to their informant Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), and try to find out who the double agent known as Satchel is. A series of flashbacks throw us into the middle of espionage and fisticuffs as Lorraine teams up with David Percival (James McAvoy) and Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella) to keep themselves alive.

Leitch may have gone uncredited as co-director of the first John Wick, but every fight scene in Atomic Blonde prove he was every bit responsible as Chad Stahelski. While Stahelski went on to one up themselves with John Wick 2, Leitch gives us a fantastic display of what he’s capable of on his own. For anyone who doesn’t know, Leitch is currently hard at work finishing up directing Deadpool 2 and if he’s able to come even close to the amount of carnage on display here, we’re in for one wicked ride.

Fast-paced, hard-hitting, action-packed, and a sense of humor to boot, Atomic Blonde is everything action fans could dream of this summer. Theron gives one of her steamiest performances — it’s been said that she even did a lot of her own stunts. This shines through the most in a 10-minute single take showdown between Lorraine and a gaggle of killers that never lets up and is as breathtaking as it is brutal. This fight sequence is one for the books fitting right alongside any fight scene in either Raid films, the hallway scene from Netflix’s Daredevil, and the subway scene from Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. It is phenomenal and a complete showstopper.

While it may run just a tad too long, some of the twists are more obvious than others. Leitch loves his Tarantino as much as the next — he even goes so far as to recreate an Inglourious Basterds scene complete with David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” — but it’s filled with jawdropping fight scenes, an asskicking performance from Theron, and one of the year’s best soundtracks. Atomic Blonde’s plot revolves around an “atomic bomb of information” and the film almost lives up to that. Pacing issues and length aside, this is one of the best action films of the year.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Movie Review: “Dunkirk”


Dunkirk

***** out of 5
106 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense war experience and some language 
Warner Bros. Pictures

Article first published at TheReelPlace.com

War movies are not my favorite. While you could say they’re usually just fact-based action films, I should like them more. So imagine my confliction when Christopher Nolan announced that his follow-up to the masterpiece headtrip Interstellar would be Dunkirk. Thankfully, not even Nolan can keep from making a Nolan film. While it may not feature any kind of twist — sticks to the facts and never goes Tarantino — he does have a few tricks up to his sleeve, making the film even more enjoyable than if it were simply another war movie. Dunkirk still is, but Nolan makes sure to keep it extremely interesting.

It’s 1940 and WWII is booming. We are split into three separate narratives focusing on different timelines of the Dunkirk evacuation where British, French, Belgian, and Canadian troops were trapped by Germany during the Battle of France.
  1. The Mole: One Week finds soldier Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) seeking safety on the beaches alongside British Army Private Alex (Harry Styles) while Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh) tries to get as many wounded piled onto boats.
  2. The Sea: One Day leads us to Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance), a mariner who is tasked with heading out to Dunkirk to help the trapped soldiers. Along with his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) and assistance from the young George (Barry Keoghan), they stop to rescue a Shivering Soldier (Cillian Murphy) on their way.
  3. The Air: One Hour whisks us into the skies with Royal Air Force pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) as he dogfights the enemy swirling the beaches.
Considering Nolan is at the helm — he wrote this one all by himself — it should come as no surprise that it’s one of the year’s absolute best. Relentless, thrilling, moving, terrifying, a technical marvel, there’s no stone left unturned. Coming up with the idea 25 years and a mere 76 pages later — this is his shortest screenplay to date — the technical prowess is astonishing. Nolan is firing on all cylinders creating a palpable sense of dread, putting viewers right in the middle of the action from the very first shot. Accolades are bound to come pouring in year end with everything from Nolan’s directing, the acting — even Styles is exceptional! — Hans Zimmer’s score, Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography, Lee Smith’s razor sharp editing, right down to every other technical merit.

This is wham-bam summer spectacle at its finest. Running a mere 106 minutes shows that Nolan doesn’t have to delve into “self indulgence” to put on a grand time. While you would never call a film like Dunkirk “awesome,” it is flat out one of the most intense films of the year. Had it been any longer you’d have to check your pulse at the door. And make sure to see it on the biggest and loudest screen possible. Nolan loves his 65mm IMAX and it’s on full display here more than ever before. Most of the film is shot with IMAX cameras capturing every detail. If it happens to be feasible to see it on film it will look even better. As good as digital IMAX movies look, they always leave a little something to be desired in the visual aspect. No matter how you see it, Dunkirk will leave you breathless from the opening logo to the blackout of the end credits. Operation: Do Not Miss is in full effect!

Blu-ray Review: “The Fate of the Furious”

Movie: **** out of 5
Video: *****
Audio: **** 1/2
Extras: ****

Article first published on Blogcritics.com

Every time a new Fast and Furious film comes out it seems a little harder to believe. The little film series that could has taken on a serious life of its own after kicking into high gear with a new writer and director who were able to throttle the mayhem into serious fun. Don’t get me wrong, none of these are high art, nor do they ever pretend to be. But even the eighth entry, The Fate of the Furious, finds plenty of life left in the franchise despite having to fill the hole left by the untimely passing of star Paul Walker. As they say, the show must go on, and when your films start grossing more than $1 billion worldwide, there’s no reason to stop it dead in its tracks.

Catching up with the family, F8 finds Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) on honeymoon in Cuba. But just wouldn’t you know it, soon enough the conniving Cipher (Charlize Theron) comes calling and blackmails Dom into becoming the team’s biggest conflict yet. Before they know it — Letty, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) — are swept up into a race against time by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) to stop Dom from helping Cipher get her hands on nuclear launch codes from the Russians. But don’t be surprised to find them getting a little help along the way from some familiar faces.


Universal Pictures crashes the Blu-ray party with The Fate of the Furious racing to the finish line with a top tier presentation. Watching the film on my brand new 75” 4K TV makes me only wonder how much better it would look in full 4K. With the 1080p upscaled, it’s still  a spectacular sight. Colors are bright without bleeding or blooming, crush never kills shadow delineation, banding is nowhere to be seen, aliasing is AWOL, and details are impeccable. From clothing textures to facial features, everything is on full display. You’re able to count every bead of sweat on Johnson’s head right down to the veins in his ginormous arms.

The DTS:X (downscaled to 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio for myself) track does leave the tiniest bit to be desired. Bass never seems to deliver as it should and you really notice the missing speakers during moments of panning. Directionality, at least, is spot on. And dialogue is never engulfed by the chaotic sound structure or drowned out during explosions or music swells. It may not pack the wallop one would hope — I prefer Dolby Atmos to DTS:X — but it more than gets the job done. Additional audio tracks include Spanish and French (Canada) DTS 5.1, and a DTS Headphone:X option. Subtitles include English SDH, French, and Spanish.

As if the film doesn’t have its own fair share of overkill, the same can be said of The Fate of the Furious’s special features. The only thing not included on the disc is the “Extended Director’s Cut” which is a digital exclusive and comes with a separate download code from the theatrical version. Kicking things off in style is “The Cuban Spirit” (8:04) where we find the cast and crew living it up and loving being the first major motion picture to film in said country. “In the Family” is split into four featurettes: “Betraying the Family: Cipher and Dom” (6:35) where we hear everyone praise the dynamic of Diesel and Theron. It also features the most hilarious line of dialogue when Theron calls screenwriter Chris Morgan an “incredibly smart” writer. The man may know how to write a FF film, but these are far from smart; “Leaderless: A Family Lost” (5:00) covers the plot of Dom going rogue and how each team member reacts; “Shaw Family Values” (3:56) recovers Shaw’s newly disclosed background, how he may not be such a bad guy after all, and the dynamics of working with the one and only Helen Mirren; “Meet the Nobodys” (5:45) shows how much fun Russell and Eastwood had working on the film, something that’s clearly obvious onscreen.

“Car Culture” has three sections: “The Hero Cars of Fast” (10:24) goes into way too much detail about the cars featured in the film — at least for the less car-enthused fan; “Zombie Cars” (5:35) displays the practical elements that went into creating one of the film’s action centerpieces; “The Ripsaw” (5:22) is a fun piece where we get to see the Army vehicle in indestructible action. “All About the Stunts” is self explanatory and showcases three of the biggest set pieces: “Malecon Street Race” (6:15), “Iceland Stunt Diaries” (6:45), and “The Streets of New York” (5:27). “Extended Fight Scenes” are two longer versions of “Prison Fight” (3:01) and “Plane Fight.” The best part of these being able to watch Statham slip back into Transporter mode and kick some major ass. Finally, director F. Gary Gray delivers an in-depth “Audio Commentary” offering up the usual behind-the-scenes tidbits and insights.

The Fate of the Furious continues to prove the franchise knows exactly what it is and continues to deliver exactly what we want. Lots of ’splosions, fist fights, and fast cars. You’re never left wanting more so long as you know what to expect, and given the film’s worldwide box office take we still love the franchise, even if that little piece may be missing with Walker gone. Fate’s Blu-ray shows Universal loves the franchise with demo-worthy video and excellent, if not top notch audio, and shovels a plethora of special features down our throats to boot.

There’s no denying the films still have plenty of fun in the pipeline which is good news considering there are at least two more headed our way. If they can keep the momentum going, this will wind up as one of the most successful franchises of all time. Fans will never question whether to pick the film up on Blu-ray or 4K and will not be disappointed.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Movie Review: “Wish Upon”


Wish Upon

** out of 5
90 minutes
Rated PG-13 for violent and disturbing images, thematic elements and language
Broad Green Pictures

Article first published at TheReelPlace.com

Horror movies can get away with a lot when they’re fun. I’ll be the first to admit, the Final Destination franchise is one of the dumbest out there, but they are such a good time, who cares? In the case of Wish Upon, it descends into a level of so-bad-it’s-good hilarity, something I’m sure director John R. Leonetti (Annabelle) and screenwriter Barbara Marshall did not intend. And speaking of Final Destination, Wish Upon is sadly just a bad PG-13 rated carbon copy of those films. Something no one wants, nor would ever wish for.

For teenage Clare (Joey King), high school is a bitch. Still having nightmares over her mom’s (Elisabeth Röhm) suicide 12 years ago, she makes it through the day thanks to a little help from her friends June (Shannon Purser) and Meredith (Sydney Park). It doesn’t help that her deadbeat dad Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe) keeps dumpster diving across the street from her high school. One day, while Jonathan is out scavenging, he comes across a sealed box covered in Chinese writing and brings it home to Clare. What Clare soon discovers is that the box makes her wishes come true, but doesn’t realize until it’s too late that they are granted with dire consequences.

I wish I could I could say that the unintentional hilarity was reason enough to bare witness to Wish Upon in theaters, but this is a spectacular case of a film that should have gone direct-to-video. Marshall’s screenplay feels extremely outdated. Every death is laughably executed making Leonetti’s Annabelle look Oscar worthy. This is far funnier than Baywatch. The acting is mediocre at best. Except Phillippe, who completely steals the show as Sax Dad. That may be worth the price of admission alone — along with the very last scene. I dare you not to laugh out loud.

Wish Upon is a disaster from start to finish. It may not be bad enough to wish upon your worst enemy, but it’s not worth trekking out to see in theaters. However, I can see it winding up being a favorite among teen girls gathering at slumber parties to yell at the screen. Faint praise at best, but it is unintentionally hilarious enough it could wind up being a new cult classic. Now that’s a scary thought!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Movie Review: “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

Spider-Man: Homecoming

***** out of 5
133 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
Sony Pictures

Article first published at TheReelPlace.com



An amazing thing happened to the Marvel Cinematic Universe last year when Sony Pictures finally played ball with Disney and allowed Spider-Man to join the fight. Captain America: Civil War not only brought to life one of Marvel’s best story lines, but it also showed that as fans, we can have our cake and eat it too. And what sweet cake it is. Director Jon Watts — being yet another low budget director handed the keys to the castle — was a left field choice, considering he’s only directed a horror movie (Clown) and a thriller (Cop Car). But it was a brilliant choice in that he knows how to keep a film grounded, thus making Spider-Man: Homecoming the best Spider-Man ever.

In this issue of Spider-Man, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is working with his crew cleaning up after the New York attack in The Avengers, but not before the U.S. Department of Damage Control — led by Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) — swoops in, putting Adrian and his men out of work. Eight years have gone by and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is reliving the glory days of when he took a super secret trip to Germany with the Avengers. Two months later, Peter is stuck on hiatus, waiting for his call to become an Avenger.

With Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) on speed dial, Peter lives out his teenage life attending high school, being geeky with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), pining over Liz (Laura Harrier), and keeping his friendly neighborhood antics under Aunt May’s (Marisa Tomei) nose.

Everything seems to be going perfectly well, but little does Peter know that Adrian has been developing high tech weapons from leftover pieces of Chitauri technology. Spider-Man is hot on the case, while a new supervillain, The Vulture, lurks about selling his weapons on the street. Peter tries to warn Tony, but keeps getting brushed off because he’s only a kid. Soon enough, The Vulture turns things personal, and Peter must take the fight into his own hands in order to keep everyone he loves safe.

Watts’s Spider-Man has a lot going for it — most of all, the comedy. This is hands down the funniest Marvel movie to date. But don’t worry, there’s also plenty of web-slinging action to go along with the teen angst. Watts nails the teen high school movie angle. It certainly helps to have cast Holland who just might be one of the best casting choices since Downey put on the Iron Man suit almost 10 years ago. With his cat-like reflexes, snarky wit, and athleticism, Holland was born to play both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. No offense to Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield, but this is the Spider-Man we’ve been waiting for.

And so is the film itself. Filled with spectacular — yet surprisingly not too over-the-top — action sequences, characters we adore, jokes aplenty, and even a thrilling score courtesy of Michael Giacchino, Spider-Man: Homecoming proves that the title works on multiple layers. With this being high school set, there is a homecoming dance, but what it really stands for is Spider-Man’s return to where he belongs: right in the middle of the MCU. Make no mistake, the MCU currents run strong and deep throughout Homecoming, and it works all the better for it. While some have complained about how hard Marvel tries to weave the films into each other, it works in spades here. Is this the best Marvel movie to date? It’s hard to say. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon and make the declaration, but it’s without a doubt one of the best. However, it is absolutely the best Spider-Man film yet, and I can’t wait to see where the Sony/Marvel team take it from here.