Simple Review: My spidey-sense is tingling! ( does that excite you?)
There are a few superheroes that are recognizable to even non-nerdy audiences. Most people know Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man even if they haven’t read a comic book in their entire life, which explains why we have seen several incarnations of these characters on the silver screen. The ” big name” superheroes are able to appeal to most audiences by being characters that are relatable to each of us even though they have these extraordinary powers. Spider-Man is easy to connect with as he started as an awkward teen dealing with high school issues, that we have all had, and gains superpowers, yet he still has the everyday issues that even superhuman abilities cant help him solve. While we can’t climb up walls we have all been awkward teens and dealt with bullies, new love and getting a job! This week we have a new spin on the Spider-Man film series as we swing into the life of the latest candidate for the Spider-Man mantle, Miles Morales with the new animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Does the movie deliver great power and great responsibility, or should we hit this arachnid with a heavy dose of bug spray? Let’s squeeze into our spandex super suits and dispense some vigilante justice on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!
If there is one thing I have always been with you, my reliable reader, it is honest. In fact, I am the most honest person in your whole life right now! The government lies to you, the media lies to you, your friends lie to you, your significant other lies to you, hell you even lie to you, but me I am always honest with you, love. As such, I have to tell you when I first heard of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I said to myself, ” Self, do we really need yet another Spider-Man movie? Hasn’t Marvel restored the character to his proper place in the superhero cinematic universe?” Well, brothers and sisters, I am here to testify that this movie puts the “amazing” back into the Amazing Spider-Man! Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follows Miles Morales as he goes from normal teen to the new Spider-Man. After an accident at a supercollider, Miles is introduced to different Spider-heroes, and one pig, from alternate universes and each will help him find his identity as Spider-Man, as well as try to defeat the villains. I am going to hang upside down and full on kiss the review of this movie!
There is so much to love about this movie that it is difficult to find a starting point. Directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, as well as screenwriter Phil Lord, have done an incredible job crafting a story and world that brings a unique take on a character we have seen in six big screen adventures. By following Miles Morales, we get the same beats as the Peter Parker origin story, but with enough new emotional moments that I never felt like this was a retread of territory previously seen. As the universe opens up and new Spider-heroes are introduced the most amazing thing happens: smart, talented filmmakers balance a big action movie with real character development and emotional moments that Miles has to deal with. All of the Spider-heroes have their moments to shine, yet the film never seems to be stolen away from Miles’ story. This IS his origin story but handled with such love for the history of Spider-Man that I sat in the theater as we waited for the obligatory end credits scenes, wondering why live-action movies can’t be this well crafted. I am staying away from spoilers but just know this isn’t some kid flick, this is a well-crafted story that rivals any live-action Spider-Man movie we have seen before.
Since this is an animated feature we must discuss the animation, obviously. I love the animation style incorporated in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The most obvious thing is this film is like a comic book in action, and the filmmakers have so much fun playing in that sandbox. There were moments that reminded me of the Deadpool movies, not the R rated parts, but characters react to their own inner monologue as it pops up on the screen like a comic book. This comic book style heightens the action pieces and puts you right in the middle of the chaos, swinging along with our heroes. It isn’t always in your face, however, and the filmmakers know when to pull back during the serious moments so the animation doesn’t distract from the emotion of the scene. Lord, why can’t more directors learn to balance the action and emotions like they did in this flick?!?!
The voice acting in the movie is spot on and it is going to be difficult to watch the next live-action Spider-Man movie without hearing these voices coming out of the actor’s mouths. Shameik Moore shines as Miles, bringing such heart to that character that I cannot wait to see more of this version of Spider-Man. Jake Johnson is a riot as this Peter Parker as well as becoming a mentor to Miles and learning how to be the hero he once was from Miles. Character arcs are a wonderful thing. Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney and Kimiko Glenn voice the team of Spider-heroes with each adding life and humor to their respective characters. ( It was great to hear Cage’s voice coming out of a Spider-Man character) I could go on and on with this cast! Whoever did the voice casting deserves an award and a big raise.
So, Movie Psycho, are there any negatives to be had with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, you may be asking me. Very little my friend is my reply. Outside of the main baddie, the rest seem to be just there because they are Spider-Man villains. As much care as our spider-heroes receives, the villains are just there as obstacles until the final boss battle. A tad more development here would have added weight to some of the fight scenes. There is a lot of humor in the film, with most jokes landing, but, like other Marvel movies, sometimes a joke is put in at a time when it hurts some of the emotion of the scene. I will say this doesn’t happen as much as live action Marvel movies, but it does happen a few times. The only other criticism I have is that after watching this I really want to see the Han Solo movie that Phil Lord was working on before He and Chris Miller parted company with Lucasfilm. Yep, I went Star Wars nerd on you there, it is true to who I am.
We have crawled to the top of this review and we can look out to the horizon with a renewed hope for superhero movies. I fully recommend seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in the theater as it is one of the best Spider-Man movies ever made and only behind Avengers: Infinity War as my favorite superhero movie of the year. This movie is a well-crafted film that is full of heart, humor, and action that will make you leave the theater looking for a nibble from a radioactive spider or pig!
By the way, definitely stay for the end credit scenes and the Stan Lee cameo will bring a tear to your eye!
I hope you enjoyed this review and please like, comment and share so we can spread the word to the masses!
As always, thanks for your time!
The Movie Psycho