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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

What happened to spider-sense? What happened to the darkness? What happened to the old and corny? The new dude's just not like the old one. He's more like a sidekick, and it feels almost like they're trying to make a new Deadpool out of every one of these guys now. Too much comedy at the expense of themselves.

I do appreciate the Stan Lee cameo (as always), the Captain America PSAs, and the Tony Stark moments were cool too, but it takes all the way until the end of the movie before you really start getting into the Spider-Man vibe. For the bigger part of the movie... it's too much.

And they're getting lazy with the CGI as well. Especially in the early stages of swinging through the city it looked more like game animation than real CGI. Like something they might've borrowed from the animated counterpart (though that one was totally different - in a good way).

This wasn't all it could have been! This really wasn't the reboot I was hoping for. It might've been wrong to boot the same story the same way for the fourth time in a row if they aren't planning to take the same route with the sequels, but this just felt like the wrong way to jump into the story. And what happened to the romance...?

Overall this was a great movie, just not the Spider-Man I'm used to, and the lazy CGI is a pretty noticeable production flaw. I liked it but... I'm a little disappointed too. Plot-wise it's the usual plus a little Iron Man.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

This was the trailer at the end of Venom. The first Marvel movie that truly disappointed me.

The trailer looked good but... it wasn't real, and as such it was a disappointing trailer too, and the first one that somehow seemed to step outside the inanimate Marvel realm. But then again Venom was stepping outside those bounds too. As are Marvel movies as a whole lately. More animate than not.

With that disappointment fresh in mind I wasn't hyped to see this, but I saw it anyway, and in difference from Venom I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint!

Maybe my expectations were lower - as low as they could possibly go in fact - but it's also a parallel dimension thing, and when have you ever seen one of those go the wrong way?

It's a colorful and creative twist to the classic Spider-Man saga too. Or at least to all the ones I've seen so far, which are mainly the main movies. The non-animate ones. Here a bunch of alternative Spider-Men (and woman, and pig, and robot) get together to fight the Kingpin (and stop a little doomsday scenario thing), bond, learn things, and do all kinds of crazy comical comic-kind of stuff along the way!

It's a trip. Fierce, fun and fast-paced in a way that it only can be when it's animated, and since it is animated it feels like conventional restrictions don't apply either. It's a blast from start to finish, and spin-off or no the narrative's pretty strong too. Refreshingly different, but still with that signature Spider-Man wisdom and little mint of melancholy.

And I guess they realized they missed out on the spider sense in the most recent Spider-Man movie (the non-animate one) because here: it's everywhere. Makes sense. Spider sense. Spider-Man's sense though? Eh... maybe not as sensible! Good thing there's at least a couple parallel versions of him who are. This one mixes things up a bit; takes it far.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle (2018)

Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle (2018)

Suddenly Alpha feels very much inspired by something much newer than the old tales that seemed to have inspired it...

Part of me loves this, and part of me hates it. The Mowgli here isn't the same as the old one. He looks weak... but he roars better. A part of the basis for the movie is his overcoming obstacles and learning who he is, so in that regard the weakness feels merited, but at the same time you'd think the jungle would've made him stronger.

His trials are something the old movie left for later, and this one has a darker tone that way too. There's a lot more focus on death, to overcome or else, whereas the old one was just a lot of fun, even if some of it was exciting too. It played with the surrounding, explored it and portrayed it in imaginative and enclosing ways, whereas this one seems to try to capture the most fearful or pompous sides of it - even if those sides aren't the most realistic, all the while portraying the animals in animated states that I just wish they'd kept real!

The albino wolf in particular is so Gollum-like in both appearance and act that it's just wrong, and though there is blood and grit involved all animals come across way too cartoony. Especially the wolves.

But Cyber, you say, wasn't the original one drawn too? Isn't this just like the original? Well it might have been if it was all animated, but when they bring together two worlds like this and just don't manage to make that bridge it comes off so... off.

It did bring me in eventually, and hold the suspense well. It left me feeling, and yet the animated details just irked me until the very end. There's too much fakeness. The law of the jungle seems to demand something more down-to-Earth than this.

Are tame animals too dangerous to use these days? The old movie was definitely the winner in my book here, even if this was a strong and dark, deep, jungle contender.

It's cool that they're bringing all these old titles back to life lately, I just wish they'd do a better job at it when they do.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Jungle Book 2: Mowgli & Baloo (1997)

The Jungle Book 2: Mowgli & Baloo (1997)

It's another real life take on the Mowgli story! With a new Mowgli, with new animals (I think?), and once again with a new take on the same old story, even though it's a sequel to the original story it's a new take on!

They really mix things together here, not so much with the main story as with different bits and pieces, like Kaa and the Monkey King. The plot:

Pre-teen jungle boy Mowgli gets to human world and is pursued by P.T.Barnum circus scout Harrison who wants to take him to circus as curiosity. Harrison hires local grandee Buldeo for help in tracking Mowgli down. It turns out to be that Mowgli is Buldeo's nephew, and the only obstacle for him to take his late brother's rich estate.

Maybe it is a bit different after all, but as far as the jungle, the animals, and the main characters go this is the one version I liked most of all.

It feels wilder than the previous, despite the narrative twist. And even if it is a sequel to the 1994 version the actors are all new, so it doesn't feel the same at all. Props Jamie Williams on a Mowgli finally done well, and the others. There's not a single bad actor here, villain included. Well-played all.

What really sets this apart from the others is probably the atmosphere though, it's just so genuine in comparison. Compared to the newest attempt it's also much more focused on the comedy, and to me that's how it should be. That's how the original did it too.

Definitely the best version yet.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story (1998)

The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story (1998)

It's a classic! Well, maybe not. It's not the animated version, it's the real life version - the third one not counting sequels, and though the animals are all well-trained, and everything is well-filmed, and the setting a realistically jungular one, it's not really on par with the animal work in say the original Jumanji movie, or George of the Jungle, or all of the other classics.

Though the story and atmosphere does all stay true to the original Jungle Book story it somehow doesn't really capture the essence of it, but ends up more entertaining than inspiring. It's not bad, and it's definately better than this one, It's just all a little tame and obvious.

The animals don't always look like they're really talking or interacting either, which in the end maybe make this one stand out as the coziest of the three. The animals feel a bit more harmless than they do in the others. Fuzzy. Soft. Just hanging around the main character waiting for a hug. It's a different kind of atmosphere than the others, a little brighter, and I like this too even if it just doesn't make for as much excitement.

A movie like this in modern day though, with real animals, and without special effects? That would've been interesting to see.

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Jungle Book (1994)

The Jungle Book (1994)

The Jungle Book?! It's really not. It's more like Tarzan if anything. The little (as in young) Mowgli doesn't look like Mowgli, and the new one looks neither like Mowgli nor like the little Mowgli. Nor is the story true to the original one at all.

What makes it even weirder is that both the sequel to this, and the new one that came after that, and the newest one that came this year are all true to the original... in their own ways. They all feature a different Mowgli however, and all tell the same tale with a few different touches.

If you're looking for a chronological Jungle Book adventure it seems it's just not possible to get one, but I'd recommend the second Jungle Book movie from 1997 over this, and second to that: the newer ones.

The props are good here. The jungle's good. The characters are good, the treasure, the lightning, it's all filmed in a dreamy and genuine way - yet the battles look incredibly fake, the tension's never there, the animals look tame and the main actor (Jason Scott Lee) doesn't make for a real life-like Mowgli at all.

Not to mention the jungle feels like a very closed in place, like a stage more than anything, and in all these areas both of the ones after this were better. This whole thing feels more like a Shaw Brothers take on a classic film, similar to this old thing.

It's not a bad movie per say, but it just doesn't capture the atmosphere, the characters, or the continuity you need for a good film. The stereotypes also all feel outdated, and I don't think it's only because Mowgli's all grown up.

Props on the good people doing a good performance despite the bad movie, and it's always fun to see John Cleese play a part, but this definitely wasn't one of his stronger roles. Nor Jason's.

The alternatives do this particular title better justice.

 rated 3/5: not bad

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