Very much a first film - a promising first film, that finds Moorhead & Benson making a lot of good choices about getting the most from meager resources. But a first film nonetheless, with some very flat-footed scene transitions and inconsistent pacing. It's heavily idea-driven, asking us to think about the way stories are constructed and specifically the degree to which savvy horror audiences do or don't want our genre films to be actually subversive, and that's cool, but I much…
Every one of these has gotten a tiny smidgen less "Adam Sandler's people have notes" and a tiny smidgen more "Genndy Tartakovsky blows up Sony Pictures Animation from the inside", and that's finally ended up in a movie that's more enjoyable than painful to watch on balance. Frequently feels more like Tartakovsky's homage to Bob Clampett than an attempt to do his own thing, but there are also a couple of welcome ghosts from the dead Popeye project he was working on. I love how openly the climax is a bright & smiling "fuck you" to the last 17 years of corporate animation.
Second viewing frees me up to make some Extravagant Claims:
-Best superhero film* since Spider-Man 2
-Most enjoyable Pixar film to watch since Up
-Michael Giacchino's best score ever
-First truly great action setpieces in an American animated feature.
I will perhaps have some more by the time I write the full review.
*"Crime drama that, for reasons, puts its hero in a bat suit" is a different genre, IMO.