Jim and Teal Go Across the Spider-Verse
and visit Condorman and Flash Gordon on the way
Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse hit the movie screens last week to the tune of over 4,000+. It made plenty of bucks, with fans of 2018’s Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, turning out in droves to catch the second installment. By the end of its second weekend, Miles Morales and company could sling as much as $230M in U.S. receipts, besting the entire North American run of the first film.
Jim and Teal were big fans of the first Spider-Verse entry, so what did they think about the sequel?
First, Teal didn’t know Into the Spider-Verse was a two-parter. Spoiler alert! There’s going to be a third movie. Did you think there wasn’t going to be a third movie? The folks seeing it as Teal’s theater didn’t realize this, and how the movie ended perplexed some people. “Everyone in the lobby afterward was complaining about this,” Teal said. “Part of it was that it was opening day, maybe people didn’t know ahead of time, but people were grumpy about it.”
Overall, Teal gives Spidey a mild recommendation, but Jim gives the movie a slight downgrade. “I didn’t care for the story because the way all reviewers are reviewing this film in terms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or all these other comic-book movie universes, I feel the story in itself was so wrapped up in its own mythology about all the different variations of the comic books over the years that I don’t believe I got a story,” Jim said.
A Look at Comic Treatments on Film in the 80s
Condorman (1981) was Disney Studio’s attempt at capturing the popularity of James Bond, and well…Jim and Teal are still determining what. Based on a spy novel, which in turn got a movie novelization that, for some reason, Teal had as a child, Condorman is a movie that boasted the promise of loads of comic superhero fun in the trailer but then pulled a switcheroo on its pre-teen-targeted audience by delivering no joy and no superhero. Condorman, AKA Woody Wilkens, appears twice as the comic writer’s main character, and in the rest of the movie, audiences get Michael Crawford’s lifeless Wilkens.
Teal and Jim look back at their childhood desires to see this turkey and wonder what it was about this movie that appealed to them in the first place. They were both disappointed, thankfully, not scarred, by the experience. Will it be any different this time around? You’ll have to listen to the episode find out, but SPOILER ALERT! It wasn’t.
Flash Gordon (1980.) How much campy fun is this movie? It turns out quite a lot. Jim and Teal were wise enough at ten and nine to know that Flash was a bit of a silly hoot back when they first saw the movie in its theatrical run. Still, they also found it an enjoyable Sci-Fi adventure. Over the years, the pair came to terms with Flash’s less-than-stellar special effects, some of its wooden performances, and intentional or unintentional campy dialogue. However, something happened along the way with Flash Gordon, and today it is a film appreciated for its high-energy, feel-good spirit, and maybe not-so-hidden camp. Plus, the film holds an interesting anti-fascist subtext, contains several Wizard of Oz tie-ins, features insane costumes and set design, the classic Queen score, a host of notable cameo performances, Hawkmen, saucy double-entendres and sexual innuendo, more Hawkmen, a creepy tree trunk scorpion, and serves as a reminder that when George Lucas couldn’t get a Flash Gordon movie made, he just went ahead and ripped it off, from Ewok villages and Dagobah to Darth Vader and Cloud City. There is a ton to absorb with Flash Gordon, leaving Jim and Teal taken with their most recent viewing of the 80’s legend.
Enjoy the episode! Fly Hawkmen! Dive! Dive!