The Hunt for Censorship

Remember when the release of The Interview in 2014 had the world worried about North Korea going to war with the United States? Looking back it’s a bit humorous, but it was a moment. Theatre chains across the United States refused to show the film in fear of retaliation. Sony ended up delaying the film and re-edited it for a digital release and a small limited theater run on the same day. Even though it was just another comedy from Seth Rogen, it’s unfortunate when any creative material needs to be censored. Now, The Interview was a film that still came out and for the most part, it was handled as well as it could considering the pressures at the time. We should congratulate Sony for that at the very least because what Universal has just done is a joke.

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In the last couple of weeks, people have begun rallying for greater gun control in the United States. Mass shootings are frequently happening and two have just gone down within twenty-four hours. The outcry is significant, but nothing is happening. The President is moving the conversation away from gun ownership and targeting video games and movies. This is a tired argument that needs to stop being used as the scapegoat. The President tweeted about Universal’s upcoming picture The Hunt indirectly as a movie that “is made in order to inflame and cause chaos”. Shortly afterward Universal decided to pull their film from next month’s release schedule. It is unclear when and how they may go about releasing it in the future.

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The Hunt looks like a good movie from the trailer, nothing spectacular. The context we are given from the trailer also appears to be no different from many other films where the elite echelon of people are using real people as fodder. The idea is similar to The Hunger Games, or even The Cabin in the Woods, Gamer, and so forth. The Hunt is closer to a satire on the world today, but I fail to see how it should be made an example of because of the recent shootings. Hollywood is one of the most vocal groups lobbying against guns, so it seems bizarre that they would have to bow down in this fashion. It’s possible that the studio has a box office failure on their hands and know it. Therefore, they may be able to claim the insurance on it and just release it on a streaming service in the future. The thing is people haven’t seen it yet, although that doesn’t stop it from having critics sight unseen. People need to stop pointing blame where it doesn’t belong and censorship needs to be stopped, especially in this case.

Anyway, here’s the trailer of the movie we maybe will see someday…

Or not.

Robert Ring

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Sony has had a terrible time in the past few years. Not with Sony PlayStation, but with its movie studio, and television sales. There was also that big Sony hack that exposed a ton of private information. It is, therefore, necessary for it to succeed on every investment they are currently producing. It would be assumed that they would have played safer with their Spider-Man franchise with the threat of bankruptcy in site. Instead, the franchise has been fragmented. Sony loaned the Spider-Man character to Disney for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They even chose to gamble on a Venom spinoff without Spider-Man. I thought Venom was a mess of a film, and it reminded me of the Green Lantern film. Luckily for them, audiences flocked to see it, making it a massive hit, especially in China. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a spectacular gamble that paid off.

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

The story centers on Miles Morales, and not Peter Parker. Miles is an intelligent kid, and he is placed in a prestigious school because of his intelligence. It’s not what he wants though. Miles is more of a creative kid who happens to be intelligent. He is being pushed in a direction by his parents and teachers that think they are doing the best for him. Miles’ father is a policeman, very prim and proper. However, Miles looks up to and bonds more with his uncle, who is a bit of a delinquent and free spirit. It’s the freedom that Miles is entertained by. Miles is wrestling between being someone like his father or someone like his uncle. Eventually, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and finds powers similar to Spider-Man. Miles stumbles across Spider-Man fighting with the Green Goblin and Kingpin. Kingpin is trying to open a dimensional door, and Spider-Man is trying to stop him from tearing a hole in time. Alas, the dimensional rift pulls through an array of Spider-Heroes. There are a ton of them from Noir Spider-Man to a Spider-Pig, and a Gwen Stacy (Spider-Woman) too. The plight throughout the rest of the movie is to get these heroes back to their

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse does an excellent job of feeling like it has thrown everything from the Spider-Man lore at us yet at the same time feeling as if there are so many more stories to tell. You don’t feel alienated by any of it either because we are experiencing all the absurd through the eyes of Miles. This movie will mean more to people with an excellent knowledge of Spider-Man, but it won’t take away from the general public. I’m sure I missed a slew of jokes and nods to other material, yet like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it wasn’t so in your face. There are many neat surprises that I did not see coming, and they made me love it more.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the Scott Pilgrim of the Marvel comic book films. It’s hilarious, utterly absurd, and irresistibly heartfelt. I think it is subsequently the best Marvel film yet. It’s the best animated film of the year, and this is the same year The Incredibles 2 came out. The animation is a feast for the eyes. It’s super stylistic, and I hope to see more animated films come out looking like this.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse should not be missed!

Robert Ring

Spider-Man PS4 – Review

After Superman, Spider-Man is my favorite superhero. And if I’m honest, these were the only two I ever cared about. In recent years I’ve begun to enjoy Batman as well. This is in part due to the storytelling portrayed in a game much similar to Spider-Man, which is the Batman Arkham series by Rocksteady Games.

Playing Spider-Man, I couldn’t help, but compare this game to the Batman games. I think that it’s the same way we distinguish the Nolan Batman films as the high point of the superhero movies. It’s almost silly to compare those films to the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. That was my own prejudice on my part during my first half of the Spider-Man playthrough.

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Alright, let’s get on with it.

Spider-Man is an intellectual property that people are starting to grow weary of. It’s only the origin story. People don’t want to see Uncle Ben die yet again, likewise with Batman and the death of the Waynes. Spider-Man on PlayStation 4 by Insomniac decided to skip that part and put the player into the shoes of Spider-Man roughly a year into his powers. This allows for Insomniac to litter the game full of easter eggs that have taken place beforehand, and still be early enough into the lore to watch the origins of some villains. Most notably, Doctor Octavius who we meet in this game as our mentor and an esteemed scientist. Peter isn’t at the Daily Bugle; instead, he is working with Doctor Octavius to work on robotic engineering to help advance those with missing limbs with robotic replacements. That’s where Peter Parker spends most of his time. Parker has also been involved with Mary Jane, although we are not entirely sure what split them apart. As the story progresses, we learn of a villain named Mister Negative. Mister Negative is the overarching villain that is mysterious and unlike anything Parker has faced before. Mister Negative is after revenge against Norman Osborne and will do anything to get his revenge. There are plenty of villains sprinkled throughout the game. Most of them are humanized amid all the usual comic troupes.

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Initially, I may have been burned out by the nature of open world games, and therefore didn’t truly become enamored with the world at first. Sure, it looked good. I just wanted the open world to be revolutionized in this game. The side quests and challenges found all over the map were tedious to me and held me up from continuing the story. Maybe halfway through the game, the pacing got better between story missions and exploration. Once the story gets rolling it’s a roller coaster ride. I wish there had been more story towards the universally known Spider-Man villains like Green Goblin, but the villains appeared in a mostly boss fight manner. The sequel I suspect will do a better job at giving us more backstory into the Sinister Six.

Spiderman

The gameplay takes the Batman Arkham combat and gives it a shot of adrenaline. This was mandatory for Spider-Man. The combat is buttery smooth when you’re in the thick of it and you quickly get a feel for the controls. Most of the game lets you choose to take down enemies silently. I tended to get the first couple down like so before swinging in. There are also tons of gadgets to help you strategically aid you in combat. There are tons of costumes to collect that are usually rewarded with level progression. I unlocked everything, completed the entire game and even got the platinum trophy. Overall, this game has a lot of bang for your buck.

Spider-Man is a good game, not amazing. I think it’s been a little overhyped, but good nevertheless. I would say it’s a mixture of Horizon Zero Dawn and the Batman Arkham series. So if you like those games or even just Spider-Man, you’ll love this.

Robert Ring