Wesley Stenzel’s review published on Letterboxd:
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut doesn’t offer much for musical skeptics. But for anyone with an existing soft spot for the medium, it’s an emotionally-involving and exciting display of how theatrical energy can still feel fresh on the screen. The film fuses Jonathan Larson’s gorgeous music and witty lyrics with excellent editing and solid visual compositions to find a happy medium between Broadway and Hollywood.
It tells a familiar but exemplary struggling-artist-in-the-big-city story, and ends up accidentally being Andrew Garfield’s best Spider-Man movie — his protagonist attempts to balance odd jobs, romance, passion, and a sense of duty to make the world a better place, complete with a love-hate relationship with New York and, well, Andrew Garfield, who’s as charismatic as he’s ever been. I was shocked by how powerful and moving the last thirty minutes were — the romantic arc is simple but incredibly effective thanks to Garfield and Alexandra Shipp’s bittersweet chemistry, and Larson’s real-life tragedy is just impossibly poetic and infuriating. I can’t wait to watch it again.