Critics Consensus

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Is Certified Fresh

Plus, Mortal Engines is clunky, The Mule is minor Eastwood, Deadpool doesn't work quite as well without the naughty bits, and If Beale Street Could Talk is Certified Fresh.

by | December 13, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got a superb hero (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, featuring the voices of Shameik Moore and Jake Johnson), a steampunk future (Mortal Engines, starring Hera Hilmar and Hugo Weaving), a curmudgeonly cocaine courier (The Mule, starring Clint Eastwood and Laurence Fishburne), and a fundraiser to fudge cancer (Once Upon a Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds and Fred Savage). What are the critics saying?

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) 97%

The world has seen a few different iterations of Peter Parker since 2002’s Spider-Man, including a franchise reboot in 2012 and Tom Holland’s introduction as an MCU character in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. But we’ve never seen any version of Miles Morales on the big screen, and that all changes with Sony’s animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Shameik Moore provides the voice of Miles, a regular teen living in an alternate universe Brooklyn who is, yes, bitten by a radioactive spider and develops powers initially out of his control. Thanks to the shenanigans of local mobster Kingpin, however, Miles comes into contact with spider-people — including a middle-aged Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) — from parallel universes who team up with him to save the day. Critics say Into the Spider-Verse benefits from a fresh, well-told story and an impressive voice cast that includes Bryan Tyree Henry, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Lily Tomlin, and a few surprise guests. It’s not only a feast for the eyes, but a fun, kinetic, heartfelt, and highly engaging treat for the whole family.

Mortal Engines (2018) 27%

Back in 2009, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson began developing a film based on a dystopian steampunk novel written by British author Philip Reeve, but there was little to report on it for several years. Then in 2016, frequent collaborator Christian Rivers was announced as the film’s director, and he hoped to utilize new technology and the skills he learned working with Jackson and special effects house WETA to bring the book to life. The result is this week’s Mortal Engines, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic Europe and centers on a young woman who spearheads a rebellion against the tyrannical leader of the mobile, predatory city of London. Critics say it’s a whole lot to absorb in one sitting, and it’s exacerbated by a convoluted plot that largely drains the story of its momentum. As expected, the visuals are consistently impressive, but even with seasoned pros like Hugo Weaving and Stephen Lang in key roles, this is one overstuffed fantasy audiences may find a little suffocating.

The Mule (2018) 69%

Clint Eastwood hasn’t starred in a film since 2012’s Trouble with the Curve, and he hasn’t directed himself in a film since 2008’s Gran Torino, which makes this week’s The Mule a rare beast. And like five of the seven films Eastwood has helmed since Gran Torino, The Mule is based on a true story, specifically about a struggling horticulturalist who unwittingly — at first, anyway — becomes a cocaine courier for a Mexican drug cartel. The job comes easy to the unassuming, inconspicuous 90-year-old, until the DEA come sniffing around and he’s forced to make some tough decisions. Critics say The Mule is, at times, surprisingly poignant and charming despite its subject matter, and Eastwood certainly feels at home in the role, but it also lacks a certain dramatic heft, and it can’t help feeling a bit inconsequential compared to his full body of work.

Once Upon a Deadpool (2018) 51%

Deadpool 2 hit theaters earlier this year in May, opening to an impressive $301 million in global box office earnings and confirming the success of the first film wasn’t a fluke. Naturally, the next logical step would be to recut the same film for a tamer PG-13 rating, shoot some framing scenes with Fred Savage, and re-release it as a holiday film, right? No? Well, if any character can pull it off, it’s Deadpool, and if you’re wondering why you should consider seeing it, Ryan Reynolds has provided a reason: $1 of every Once Upon a Deadpool ticket sold will be donated to the (temporarily renamed) nonprofit foundation Fudge Cancer. So if you were hesitant to take your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, godchildren, or anyone else under age to Deadpool 2, there’s now a slightly family-friendlier version you can watch together and help fudge cancer in the process.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • The Second Time Around (2018) , about a woman who finds a connection with a man in her senior home, is at 86%.
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (2019)Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel about a young Harlem woman whose relationship with her fiancé is tested when he is arrested for a crime he did not commit, is Certified Fresh at 93%.
  • Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) , a Lebanese drama about a boy living on the streets who sues his negligent parents, is at 76%.
  • The Quake (Skjelvet) (2018) , a Norwegian disaster film about a major earthquake that rips through Oslo, is at 71%.
  • Maine (2018) , about a married woman on a solo hike of the Appalachian Trail who bonds with another hiker she meets, is at 67%.
  • The House That Jack Built (2018) , starring Matt Dillon in Lars von Trier’s dark profile of a serial killer reflecting on his murders, is at 61%.
  • Bird Box (2018) , starring Sandra Bullock in Susanne Bier’s thriller about a woman trying to survive a mysterious affliction that has decimated the world’s population, is at 61%.

Tag Cloud

Music aliens Rocky 2017 composers Columbia Pictures Martial Arts Spring TV miniseries dramedy medical drama Creative Arts Emmys Trailer Interview DirecTV adventure teaser festivals Action anime Lucasfilm war 20th Century Fox BBC comic Teen Kids & Family Hulu Thanksgiving politics Rocketman Set visit Nickelodeon witnail Quiz Sundance Disney Stephen King 21st Century Fox Paramount Network Brie Larson ABC Sundance Now cinemax Warner Bros. CBS All Access Country TV Land Grammys Freeform Extras E! mockumentary Ellie Kemper MTV Winners sequel Musicals Rom-Com ITV Film Festival The CW Vudu Mudbound Mary Poppins Returns crossover Amazon Prime Marathons Summer Ovation theme song See It Skip It President SXSW Cannes Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Song of Ice and Fire Tarantino space CBS sitcom casting Fall TV Infographic mutant Best and Worst psycho Disney Channel 24 frames golden globes DC Universe television FXX doctor who Elton John Premiere Dates social media supernatural Calendar boxoffice TCA anthology Red Carpet transformers 2016 GLAAD Horror Nat Geo CW Seed travel discovery Adult Swim science fiction Amazon Trophy Talk BBC America Reality Competition zero dark thirty historical drama harry potter OWN adaptation NBC binge Ghostbusters cops award winner X-Men Superheroe YouTube Red Pop WGN APB Year in Review Comic Book BET based on movie Paramount Drama Starz RT21 justice league Crackle Pixar cults Captain marvel PaleyFest Epix CNN Biopics NYCC Mary poppins TLC Tomatazos TruTV nature Certified Fresh 45 Superheroes Spectrum Originals Countdown Shudder crime drama TIFF RT History Star Wars finale GIFs Netflix IFC dceu cooking Women's History Month MCU dc MSNBC zombie elevated horror Universal Tumblr YouTube Premium streaming TNT Election hist Mystery IFC Films Acorn TV VH1 Photos The Witch unscripted LGBTQ Emmys Dark Horse Comics Schedule 2019 DC Comics Awards FX Sci-Fi Black Mirror Holidays Spike AMC Fantasy USA Network Cosplay ABC Family History docudrama what to watch GoT Musical police drama SundanceTV TBS Pet Sematary Reality Esquire Watching Series DC streaming service period drama green book Comedy Comedy Central Video Games Nominations Super Bowl Fox News Christmas New York Comic Con Animation Cartoon Network Valentine's Day strong female leads Podcast Mindy Kaling American Society of Cinematographers Winter TV CMT ESPN vampires technology facebook Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Showtime Bravo Sony Pictures Masterpiece thriller crime thriller serial killer dragons Comics on TV Mary Tyler Moore El Rey Opinion zombies The Arrangement 2018 sports natural history Sneak Peek true crime HBO ratings Box Office diversity cats Rock TCM spider-man romance blaxploitation National Geographic USA spy thriller Lifetime PBS Western Awards Tour 2015 Britbox crime Apple Character Guide singing competition psychological thriller Marvel Oscars San Diego Comic-Con Pirates talk show jamie lee curtis Writers Guild of America Toys First Look Heroines Anna Paquin Logo Food Network YA 007 Walt Disney Pictures TV comiccon FOX political drama disaster E3 richard e. Grant Trivia Lionsgate A&E Polls and Games VICE TCA 2017 robots Syfy Shondaland SDCC DGA biography Star Trek