Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

[3 stars] [IMDB Link]

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

It's a sequel to a movie I watched in the theater nearly five years ago. And I wasn't overly impressed with that one! Nevertheless, I'd heard good things. And it is ranked as #26 on the IMDB list of the best movies of all time! Above the original Star Wars! Above Terminator 2! Above Gladiator and The Lion King! Above… no, I'll stop there.

It's long, clocking in at two hours and twenty minutes. Still, after a TiVoed Jeopardy! episode and a Simpsons rerun, I had time to fit it in before bed. So:

The main character is the winning Miles Morales, occupant of an alternate universe just slightly different than ours. He got the radioactive spider bite in the previous movie, displacing, sadly, the Peter Parker Spidey. But it introduced him to a raft of Spider-Folk from other universes, including most notably Spider-Gwen Stacy. She's back again, trying to help Spider-Miles defeat a new nemesis, "Spot". Spot has the uncanny power to create space portals, which can transport him and others to different locations instantly. And he's out for revenge against Miles for … gee, I just watched this last night and I've forgotten already.

Anyway, Miles' and Gwen's efforts bring down the wrath of something like the Spider Continuity Cops. Miles in particular has disrupted the "Canon". What's that? This I do remember but I'm not gonna tell you. Too much of a spoiler.

So after two hours and about ten minutes in, I was saying: boy, they're going to have to wrap this up pretty quickly. Ah, guess what? There's a big fat "To Be Continued" at the end.

It's more than a little heavy on the family drama. You want to say: OK, I get it already. Back to the action! But it's very funny in spots. And very visually imaginative. I'm sure I missed some extremely amusing sight gags because they were only onscreen for 0.28 seconds.

So I'm probably going to be around for Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse to be released … sometime in the future.

Last Modified 2024-01-09 6:47 PM EDT

What's a Motto With U?


Well, good news everyone: the University Near Here (apparently) has a new motto. It is:

Possibility in every direction.

I must admit, it's an improvement over the last motto I made fun of: "Welcome to UNH, a flagship public research university on the edge of possible." But its prettiness is marred by the fact that it's pretty meaningless.

I assume that its use by UNH won't invite legal trouble from this Greek logistics company or this Indian logistics company or this Dubai logistics company or this Florida logistics company or this Philippines railroad company or the Port of Portland (Oregon) or… well you get the idea. Even though it's meaningless, master marketers find it catchy.

Unfortunately, there's just one recent possible direction for student enrollment at UNH, and that is down.

Also of note:

  • Monocultural monotony. At City Journal, Renu Mukherjee shakes his head at One-Party States.

    Shortly after Hamas launched its attack on Israel, a coalition of more than 30 student groups at Harvard released a now-infamous statement blaming Israel for Hamas’s brutality. “We, the undersigned student organizations,” the statement read, “hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”

    Harvard president Claudine Gay eventually acknowledged Hamas’s savagery, first in a 119-word statement released three days after the attacks (her statement on George Floyd’s death was nearly 500 words) and again in a two-minute video message sent to members of the Harvard community on October 12. While Gay began the video by noting “Our university rejects terrorism. That includes the barbaric atrocities perpetrated by Hamas,” she focused the better part of her message on the importance of free speech, suggesting that the student groups behind the statement at issue should be excused. “Our university embraces a commitment to free expression,” Gay explained. “That commitment extends even to views that many of us find objectionable, even outrageous. We do not sanction or punish people for expressing such views.”

    Of course, Harvard does sanction and punish people for expressing views that people like Gay find objectionable. In fact, as has been widely reported, in the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression’s most recent college free speech rankings, Harvard received the lowest score possible—a 0.00—and was the only school out of the 254 surveyed with an “Abysmal” speech climate rating.

    Yeah, Harvard is awful. And (worse) its president is so deeply ensconced in her cocoon of confirmation bias that she doesn't even recognize its awfulness.

    And since I slagged UNH above, I will point out that it ranks #3 nationwide in that FIRE report.

  • I won't reuse that Atlas Shrugged joke here. (But if you missed it, here it is.) Jeff Jacoby writes on Jeff Bezos moving to Florida from Washington. He says it's to be near his parents, which is nice. But Jacoby concentrates on the tax differences:

    To begin with, Washington has a new capital gains tax, which was upheld by the state's highest court in March. The tax takes a 7 percent bite of all investment gains above $250,000. In 2020 and 2021, when Bezos sold several million shares of Amazon stock, the proceeds totaled $15.7 billion. Assuming he disposed of stock he had owned since Amazon went public in 1997, Walczak calculated, Bezos "saved nearly $1.1 billion in taxes by selling those shares before the new state capital gains tax went into effect." By relocating to Florida, he ensures that future stock sales will likewise remain untouched by Washington's new capital gains levy.

    That's not all.

    Washington had no estate tax during the years when Bezos was building Amazon into a commercial giant, but that changed after 2005. Now Washington has the steepest death tax in the nation, with a top rate of 20 percent on estates worth more than $9 million. Florida, on the other hand, has no estate tax at all. For a man with a personal fortune of more than $160 billion, the move from Washington to Florida could be worth $30 billion or more to his heirs.

    That's still not all.

    Democrats in the Washington Legislature have been pushing for the adoption of a 1 percent wealth tax on all state residents with $1 billion or more in assets. Virtually all the revenue raised by such a measure would come from the minuscule number of superrich billionaires living in the state, Bezos among them. Of the $3.2 billion a year that state economists estimate the tax could raise, some $1.4 billion, or 45 percent, would have come from Bezos alone. By decamping to Florida, the Amazon founder has at a stroke rendered those estimates meaningless.

    That's a lot of money the Washington government will have to learn to do without.

  • A reminder: "Never Again" is now. Rand Simberg points out two journalists Bearing Witness to Hamas atrocities: Michael Graham and Nancy Rommelmann. From Graham's report:

    I have seen the dead of Oct. 7. And now I must speak for them.

    It wasn’t my idea. The Israeli Consulate in Boston contacted me about a screening of “highly sensitive footage from the horrific Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.”

    No recording devices would be allowed, no phones in the room. It would be what’s called a “pad and pen briefing” in the news business.

    And I was told, “The footage is extremely graphic, difficult to watch, and potentially triggering. It includes raw video filmed by Hamas terrorists of murder and other violent and distressing images.”

    Did I want to participate? Absolutely not.

    But I couldn’t say no, either. And so I went.

    Both reports are hard to read. And (as the Israeli Consulate implied), Graham and Rommelmann found the videos even harder to watch. I don't have the guts to watch, maybe you do.

Last Modified 2024-01-28 2:54 AM EDT