December is giving us two comic book movies before the end of the year? That’s pretty much already a Christmas gift to us fans. With Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse getting raved reviews before its release date, can this really be the one movie featuring the web-slinger be worth the time? Yes, it definitely does.
What’s the Story: Afro-Latino Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore, Dope) is bitten by a radioactive spider giving him the powers to make him become Spider-Man. But once a portal called the Collider is opened, he meets Peter Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson) and many others with the same abilities.
The announcement of an animated Spider-Man movie from producers Phil Lord & Christopher Miller featuring Miles Morales sounded like it could have some promise. But I’ve been very excited about this ever since the first trailer dropped online a year ago showcasing what’s to be expected. And since I’m a huge fan of the famous superhero, this had to be great because if you look at the track record of the movies he’s been a part of, there has only been three greats, three disappointments, and whatever Venom was trying to be. Believe the hype as the animation Gods gave us a phenomenal animated superhero movie that everybody will love, even if you’re not into comics.
Talking about the colorful animation first is a top priority because it was all I was thinking about even before I actually sat down. Most of the comic book movies that I have loved have that sense of feeling it’s pulled from the source material, but it’s amped up here. Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, this is some of the most versatile animation style ever put to screen that feels like a comic book ripped from the pages with text bubbles and panels that feels energetic. What makes it more special is that it’s both hand-drawn and computer-animated.
Having the story focus on Miles Morales was the best idea. He’s usually a fan favorite Spider-Man from the comics that isn’t Peter Parker since his debut in 2011, and I can understand why. He doesn’t have the best relationship with his cop dad (voiced by Brian Tyree Henry) when he likes hanging around his Uncle Aaron (voiced by Mahershala Ali). And he goes to this high-up school where he doesn’t feel like it’s a good fit for him, even though he’s talented. Miles is such a relatable character that fans will be attached to early on. I’m glad we finally get to see a movie with Miles as the main character and not just a side character to be there just because.
The fact that Peter becomes Miles’ mentor into how to be the perfect Spider-Man was a great idea. It seems weird seeing a Peter Parker that looks older, tired and a bit overweight, but there’s a good reason that I actually bought into him. And I love the chemistry between the two of them and Moore and Johnson lend themselves perfectly into their respective voices. It was a perfect way to helping out each other in their own struggles.
Along the way, we get to see the other Spider-men and women from the other dimensions into Miles’ universe, including Gwen Stacy/ Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider Man-Noir (Nicolas Cage), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney). Having this many characters would ruin the story since I thought it was gonna focus more on Miles, but it was a delight with these iterations coming together trying to find a way back.
Its sense of humor is really what this has going for it. There are some clever jokes in here that doesn’t fall stray into being bad humor or anything that ruins the tone. I was constantly laughing from beginning to end. Also, the Easter eggs in the backgrounds are something to keep a sharp eye on. No surprise that Phil Lord co-wrote the screenplay with Rothman. They also have a unique way of showing the origin stories in an excellent way that’s quick and gets to the point.
And all of the action is never dull as it’s always there to capture the fun of what. The animation of it all keeps your attention and are beautifully well-made.
But I was surprised by the amount of heart that was brought to this. Besides Miles, I actually cared about the others and his universe in the process. No joke, I teared up about three times. Even when it knows that it is supposed to have its moments of fun in what makes the hero likable, this was able to bring some serious moments that anybody can relate to.
The only thing that kept this from being perfect is having Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (voiced by Liev Schreiber) as the main villain. Sure, he’s a huge guy and has a purpose for opening up the Collider, but he doesn’t come off as threatening.
One of the many things I take away from the good Spider-Man movies is that you’re able to be whoever you want to help others and it’s up to you to discover who you really are and make your destiny a reality. Many people grew up wanting to become Spider-Man or any superhero because they want to stop crime and save the ones they loved. And I love how this movie is made for a younger audience so they would understand even more. Essentially, anyone can be Spider-Man.
As soon as it was over, I wanted more, and the possibilities are endless for another movie like this to happen. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse makes me appreciate the hero even more, especially with Miles. Not only this is now the best-animated movie of 2018, but it’s my favorite comic book movie of the year. Spider-Man 2 is probably still my favorite, but this is a close second, in my opinion. Thank you, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for creating a one of a kind superhero that anybody can relate to and become more. Both of your presence will be missed.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a fun, spectacular animated adventure topped with clever jokes, stellar action, outstanding animation, and a feeling that fans everywhere can fully enjoy.