From his recent acclaimed video game to movie appearances in Civil War, Homecoming, Infinity war to upcoming roles in End Game and Far From Home in just the last couple of years, Spiderman is once again dominating pop-culture! Even though that is great, there is a risk of over-exposure and possibly rehashing the same story again. However, this new animated movie definitely feels original and has a different central focus: Miles Morales, a half-African American and Mexican. Oh don’t worry, Peter Parker is still in the movie as Spiderman, but Peter’s Spiderman is an older, more jaded Spiderman. The movie also introduces Gwen Stacy as Spider-Gwen, Spiderman-Noir (voiced by Nicholas Cage), Spider-Ham (an actual pig!) and Penny Parker (an anime looking Spiderman). It also has a ton of villains, including Kingpin, Green Goblin, a female Doc Oc, the Prowler etc. With Sony previously attempting such an endeavor with Spiderman 3 and Amazing Spiderman 2, folks were, understandably, nervous that this movie would end up being like those 2 critically-panned movies. Nope, third time’s definitely the charm and this movie is great!
Positives – The animation style in the movie is simply beautiful. From the use of vivid colors to having comic-book esque panels with text in the movie, Spider Verse truly felt like a comic-book come to life. I am one of the people that does not like 3-D but this movie looked incredible in 3-D. This movie is also very emotional and has a lot of compelling family drama. The relationships between Miles and his dad, Miles and his uncle, and Miles and different Earth’ Peter are poignant and add a new layer to this movie. Speaking of Peter Parker, our Earth’s Peter Parker is brutally murdered (SPOILER ALERT) by the Kingpin and Miles witnesses this. You probably thought this was a kid’s movie. Well, not really. The new Peter Parker (voiced brilliantly by Jake Johnson) is from another Earth and that version of Peter is down on his luck: break-up with MJ, out-of-shape etc. After being transported to this Earth, he is initially uninterested in mentoring Miles and just wants to get back home. However, he eventually becomes the Spiderman we all know and love, and that is totally earned. The other Spidey characters also have some really heartfelt moments and cool backstories and I would totally love to see them again in future movies. This movie also embraces the Spiderman mythos and is not afraid to make fun of the many incarnations of the web-slinger but does so in a respectful manner. The sequences where Miles learns to control his powers (shooting webs, turning invisible at will and shocking) are very fun to watch and reminded me a lot of Spiderman 1! What’s also fun and delightful is his interaction with the other Spidey members, including burgeoning friendship with Gwen Stacy. Because of the animation medium, the filmmakers are able to do some really unique things with how Spiderman moves and it’s wonderful to witness that on the big screen. The fight sequences could easily have been a giant mess, especially with so many characters, but that is so not the case and they are pretty well-done. Lastly, there are some great Stan Lee – related moments, which were heartbreaking yet inspiring.
If you can’t tell already, this movie is spectacular / amazing (puns totally intended). But, it does have a couple of minor issues.
Negatives – Kingpin, one of the best villains on TV, unfortunately gets the short end of the stick as the main villain in this movie. He is portrayed as a giant brute who wants to bring Vanessa and his kid back to life using the collider but there is nothing more to it. I also wanted a bit more of the relationship between Miles and his uncle, who turned out to be the Prowler. His death is sad but it would have had a bigger impact if we got to know him more.
Ultimately, Spiderman: into the spider-verse has a ton of heart, good story-telling and really fleshed-out characters. This is easily one of the best movies of the year and worth seeing on the big screen! Please support this movie!
Rating – 4.5/5.