Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Writers: Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman, Dan Slott
Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry
Synopsis: Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and crosses paths with his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.
2018 has been a year of great animated movies. We’ve had Isle of Dogs, Incredibles 2, Ralph Breaks the Internet, and now Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It’s the first time in a while that the Oscar race for Best Animated Film might actually be competitive. But, if it were up to me, that award would go to Spider-Man, no contest. Though I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most of the animated films this year, none of them came close to inducing the awestruck stupor I experienced while staggering out of the theater after Spider-Man. I’ll probably go as far as to say it’s my favorite superhero movie of the year as well, sorry Black Panther, Infinity War, and probably Aquaman…
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is, at its core, a coming of age story for Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). Miles is a relatable, funny, awkward teenager- he’s the perfect protagonist for this movie. Especially when paired up with Jake Johnson’s middle aged, jaded Spider Man/Peter B. Parker that everyone else can relate to. It’s hard to summarize the plot of this movie without spoiling it, but if you’ve seen the trailers you get the idea. Something happens that causes Spider-People from other universes show up, they have to fight bad guys, and save the day. Typical superhero movie plot, especially if you’ve been watching certain tv shows from the DC universe. We get to meet a variety of cool Spider-People, including Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir, John Mulaney as Spider-Ham, Hailee Steinfeld as Spider-Gwen, and Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker. The story puts an emphasis on embracing the things that make you unique, and always be yourself. It’s a great message for a PG rated movie and I was not expecting it. Honestly, I wasn’t super excited for this movie after the first trailer. I didn’t understand why they were making a random animated Spider-Man movie just after adding the character to the MCU and Sony not including him in Venom. But after the second trailer and when some reviews started coming out, I knew I needed to see it.
One of the best things about this movie is the animation. It’s incredible and deserves all the awards and recognition coming to it. My brain kind of hurt after watching it, (there’s a lot going on on-screen at times) but it was worth it. They take every cool illustrator trick from comic books and put it in the movie. You can see brush strokes, chat bubbles, sound effects whooshing by, hatching, ben-day dots, etc. I had heard that each different Spider-Person was going to have a unique animation style and I wasn’t sure if that was going to mesh well while they were all on screen, but it does. It’s amazing to see all the art styles used at once. I need to see it again to try to spot all the things I missed. The final fight scene is an achievement on its own, it’s mind-blowingly good.
There were so many good things about this movie, I know I’ll probably forget to mention a few. I loved comically huge Kingpin. That is exactly how Kingpin should be from now on, I don’t care if it’s animated or live action. Spider-Man Noir is my new favorite thing and I am going to go buy all the comic books. Being voiced by Nicolas Cage was a bonus. I also loved Jake Johnson’s Peter B. Parker so much, he was a great addition to the cast. He’s hilarious, I would love to see him do more voice acting in the future. The relationship between Miles and his dad, voiced by Brian Tyree Henry, is another positive. It’s adorable and full of embarrassing dad-cop moments. The movie is filled with animated cameos (including Stan Lee), and references (or jabs) to past Spider-Man movies, comics, merchandise, and tv shows. Please stay until the end for the best post credits scene I’ve seen in a long time, probably ever. The music was also amazing, but I’m disappointed “Spidey-Bells” isn’t available on iTunes. Spidey-Bells is the Christmas song we all need this year.
Overall, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a fantastic film. It is a great coming-of-age story that teaches us we are all unique and that’s what makes us great. I highly recommend this film to everyone, kids and adults, superhero fans or not, I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying this movie. It definitely made it on to my top movies of 2018 list.
Overall Grade: A
Hear our podcast review on Episode 304: