Review of 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse'

spider-verse.jpg A wild and fun animated romp into the world of Spider-Man.

Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) is a young man trying to figure his place in the world with an understanding but concerned mother and policeman father who send him to a special school which they believe will foster his talents. At the new school Miles feels out of place which is not helped by his father insisting he says that he loves him in front of his fellow students when dropping Miles off at the front door. Outside of school Miles finds a soulmate in his Uncle Aaron (voiced by Mahershala Ali) who encourages Miles' artistic side. When his uncle takes him out tagging (creating graffiti) in a disused part of the subway he is bitten by an unusual bug (sound familiar?). The next day Miles starts experiencing all the symptoms of becoming a Spider-Man (sticking to objects, spider-sense, etc). Returning to the tunnel where the spider bit him Miles witnesses a battle between Green Goblin (voiced by Jorma Taccone) and (the real) Spider-Man (voiced by Chris Pine) which takes them under Fisk Industries where Kingpin (voiced by Liev Schreiber) is attempting to start up a Super Collider. After Kinpin eventually unmasks Spider-Man and kills him (!) Miles flees. Unknown by Miles, the Super Collider has opened a gateway to other dimensions allowing other Spider-People to come to our world…“Spider Gwen”, “Spider Man Noir”, and silliest of all “Spider-Ham” (yes, an animated pig Spider-Man). With the help of one of these travelers, an older Spider-Man who has lost his way in life, Miles and the rest of the group must find a way to stop Kingpin and get back to their own dimensions…

I have to say I did not really know what to make of this film when I saw the trailer but decided to give it a go anyway. I am very glad I did. This is the most original superhero film I have seen in years which manages to capture the fun and exuberance of a comic book on the big screen. Indeed, it looks like a comic book that has come to life complete with visual metaphors of panes and written-out sound effects (“Bang!”). Refreshingly it never takes itself too seriously. This wit and playfulness is witnessed with the frequent “Ok let's start again…” segments which explain the different Spider-People's stories each with their own slightly different twist but told in the same way.

Yes, Stan Lee does make an (animated) appearance.

The animation is slick and vibrant as the action moves along very quickly. There is a lot to take in and it never fails to entertain but at the same time the main Spider-Man issues of identity and coming of age are very much evident with grounding in reality (it can't get any darker than the death of Spider-Man…) that engages us with the characters who all have their very human faults and insecurities. Despite all of the action time is spent getting to know and understand these characters.

I know that many people feel animations are for kids (which is simply not true, but I digress). For fans of action and super-hero films, put aside any preconceptions you might have and give this a try, you will not be disappointed. This is a really fun and exciting film.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2019-05-06

Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman

Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)

Year: 2018

Length: 117 minutes

Genre: Animation