‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Review: The Definitive Spider-Man Film for a New Generation

Here’s our review for ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ — a movie that feels like a comic book brought to life only better…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Going into the theater to watch the new animated film ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, I was admittedly skeptical.

When it comes to reviews, I tend to avoid reading anything from my peers online and instead base my judgment solely on the movie I just witnessed so I can give my unabashed opinion before seeing what anybody else had to say about it. The same could be said for this animated film from Sony — except it was impossible to ignore the glowing headlines that lit up social media when advance viewings of this film were made available.

There were some critics who called this the best Spider-Man movie of all time with others hailing it simply as the best comic book movie ever made.

Considering we’re in the midst of arguably the best year for comic book movies in history thanks to ‘Black Panther’, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ as well as solid offerings from ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ as well as ‘Deadpool 2’, it was tough to believe that an animated film from Sony — the same company who made ‘Spider-Man 3’ and the new ‘Venom’ movie — were somehow responsible for this praise worthy film.

In many ways, I’m actually glad I went into the theater expecting to be disappointed somehow because what unfolded over the next two hours managed to take me back to my childhood while simultaneously getting me excited for how this movie might just create the next generation of comic book fans — and it all left me feeling like I had just witnessed something truly original and special in a space where creativity is king.

And by no means does this new ‘Spider-Man’ film diminish just how great Tom Holland was as the latest Peter Parker for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ or the new ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’. If anything, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse’ will just make you hope Miles Morales makes an appearance in that upcoming sequel.

If you read no further, just know that ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is just as good as advertised — it’s funny, poignant, heartwarming and heartbreaking and ultimately spins a web of joy that should satisfy fans of old and new alike.

With that said, let’s get to our full review of ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’…

Plot

Miles Morales is a teenager living in Brooklyn — son of a cop and a nurse — who just got transferred into an upscale high school where he doesn’t feel like he quite fits in. That’s why Miles feels much more at home hanging out with his Uncle Aaron and spray painting elaborate graffiti in underground subway stations.

That is until one day when Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider — and well you know the rest of that origin story — or do you?

Miles gets powers just like Spider-Man — the famous vigilante who swings around New York rooftops — but he soon finds out that there’s more to this superhero thing than he first expected.

Add to that, the evil Kingpin has built a machine that allows him to open up a wormhole to reach out to alternate universes and before long Miles is surrounded by a cast of webslingers from across the multiverse including an aging, somewhat pudgy version of Peter Parker, an anime Spider-bot controlled by Peni Parker, a wise-cracking teenage girl named Spider-Gwen and even a hard boiled noir detective Spider-Man (voiced by Nicolas Cage) not to mention a slop slinging talking pig named Spider-Ham.

If that all sounds bizarre, just wait until all these pieces fit together in one giant Spider-Verse as they are forced to team up to take down the Kingpin before he destroys all of them.

Acting

Voice acting is obviously quite different than live action but the selections made to voice the characters in this film were spot on.

Shameik Moore steals the show as Miles Morales, somewhat expectedly because he is the heart and the soul of the movie. The rest of the cast is just as important to this movie, especially when you hear familiar voices from Brian Tyree Henry as Miles’ dad and Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as his Uncle Aaron.

Toss in a really well done performance from Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy as well as Jake Johnson killing it in a comedic role as the Peter Parker from an alternate universe and the casting choices for this movie were just out of this world.

Nicolas Cage plays the noir Spider-Man from the 1930’s and his hard boiled voice is recognized immediately — and he hits every beat without fail. You’ll also hear Chris Pine as the original Spider-Man as well as Liev Schreiber donating his incredible voice to serve as the Kingpin.

All in all, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ was filled with ‘A’ list stars and everybody turned in A+ performances.

Directing and Writing

Rather than directing, we’ll look at the animation and this film was an absolute visual delight. Perhaps the best part about ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ was the way that the animators mixed in different palettes from hand drawn sections to those digitally created but it all meshed together so well to really become an eye-pleasing movie.

That may have been one of the strongest parts of the film is that this ‘Spider-Man’ movie really felt like a comic book come to life. Obviously it’s easier to do that when you’re animating a movie versus recreating everything in live action but this truly felt like a story lifted straight off the pages of a Marvel comic and brought to life on the big screen.

When it comes to the story and dialogue, this movie is filled with heart and humor not to mention plenty of comedy mixed in as well.

The reason this film feels like the ‘Spider-Man’ movie for the next generation is because you are getting such an awe-inspiring cultural mix with this film, staring at the top with Miles Morales as the star.

From a culturally diverse cast of characters also spawns an important message that really drives the narrative behind this movie — and for once in a Spider-Man film it’s not ‘with great power comes great responsibility’.

Instead the message of this film is everyone can be Spider-Man — men, women, boys, girls, black, white, brown and anything else in between — we’re all capable of being heroes. At the heart of it all, this movie is about inclusivity and that’s really a message that you’ll carry out of the theater and hopefully carry on past this movie.

Final Verdict

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ really is the feel good movie of 2018 and helps to close out the year on a very strong note. This may be an animated film — and it’s definitely kid appropriate — but if you’re an adult, don’t shy away from this movie just because it’s rated PG.

Instead go see this film to feel like a kid again — because this movie really will make you remember why you loved superheroes to begin with.

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ gets five out of five on the Skolnick Scale

 

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