Movie Review: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Media by Sony Pictures Animation

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Sporting a creative comic-like animation style, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” delivers a spectacular Spidey story equipped with a powerful narrative that can only be compared to its superhero fights.

One day, Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (a righteous Shameik Moore) is bitten by a radioactive spider that imbues him with – you guessed it – spider powers. At the same time, the crime boss Kingpin (a grumbly Liev Schreiber) opens an interdimensional portal that accidentally summons five different incarnations of Spider-Man, but because the portal has the potential to destroy New York, the six Spider-Men and Women must team up to stop Kingpin from using it again.

The full cast of Spiders includes the aforementioned Miles Morales Spider-Man, the traditional red-and-blue-clad Peter B. Parker Spider-Man (an irresponsible Jake Johnson), the new yet incredibly popular Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman (a more-passionate-than-usual Hailee Steinfeld), the gritty black-and-white Peter Parker Spider-Man Noir (a stoic and dedicated Nicolas Cage), the adorable anime esque Peni Parker (an emotive Kimiko Glenn managing to sound about 15 years younger) accompanied by her robot named Sp//dr that she shares a telepathic connection with and the cartoony Peter Porker Spider-Ham (a John Mulaney consisting of about 70 percent more ham and humor).

And while a Spidey dream team movie sounds perfect, “Into the Spider-Verse”’s abundance of characters comes out to be it’s only flaw. Miles Morales and Peter B. Parker are the main characters and receive dynamic, well-constructed development that enhances and makes sense to the story. Despite the rest of the cast being static, Gwen and Peni’s characters stick out but suffer from screen time taken by the inclusion of Spider-Man Noir and Spider-Ham, as the latter two mainly serve as comic relief or extra combatants in action sequences.

Photographed by Sony Pictures Animation
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Man (John Mulaney) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.

And how do you even get all these characters on screen without narration? You don’t, actually. “Into the Spider-Verse” uses narration more stylistically to not only introduce characters but also to show development and create a strong full-circle ending.

Speaking of full-circle, “Into the Spider-Verse” uses Chekhov’s gun to no end. Any element of Miles being an incompetent hero when he first gets his spider powers successfully returns later on with surprisingly strong feel-good moments. It’s an impressive feat accomplished by screenwriters Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman that partially redeems Sony for the colossal failure of “Venom” earlier this year.

“Into the Spider-Verse” also features a unique and creative style of animation that mimics modern comic books. No one would have been angry if Sony used regular 3D animation that is commonly seen in animated Disney or Pixar movies, but this comicy version of the Webhead truly brings the Spider-Verse to life.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” tells an incredible tale with striking animation while only being hindered by its ambition to please fans, and it is more than qualified to be the superhero film of the year.

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