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  • Mary Poppins Returns

    Mary Poppins Returns

    ★★★★

    Director Rob Marshall is still kind of lousy at staging musical numbers for the screen (unless they're on-stage in-universe), and the film is probably 30 minutes too long for a children's movie, but MARY POPPINS RETURNS is dazzling nevertheless. A smart script by David Magee finds ways to echo both P.L. Travers' original stories and Disney's 1964 film without feeling completely beholden to either--mixing perhaps a touch more medicine and a bit less sugar for a more bittersweet tale than…

  • Creed II

    Creed II

    ★★★

    Although more broadly melodramatic and less elegant than its predecessor, CREED II does its job and does it well. The fights are well executed and appropriately rousing, and the soapy connective tissue between them is just strong enough to work. It's more than a bit silly to make a second movie about the Very Serious Implications of ROCKY IV, the original series' least serious entry, but Steven Caple, Jr. finds a way to do that and then some, by incorporating…

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  • Spider-Man: Far from Home

    Spider-Man: Far from Home

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Despite devoting all of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING to the notion that teenage superhero Peter Parker should stop trying to be the next Iron Man, and should instead be the first Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, here comes it's sequel, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, to tell you: "never mind." I hope you're ready for IRON MAN, JR., because that's pretty much what you're getting. FAR FROM HOME works overtime to obliterate pretty much everything that was special and unique about Spider-Man within the context…

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Rian Johnson's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is easily the most original and innovative film in the Star Wars saga since at least 1980. It is designed from top to bottom to obliterate fan expectations in pursuit of a very simple question: "What is Star Wars?" The answer may surprise you.

    **** WARNING: THIS IS A FULL SPOILER REVIEW ****

    Still here?

    Good.

    If Star Wars, to you, is superficial stuff like lightsabers and spaceships and mythology-informed family drama--in other…