MOVIE: SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
STARRING: SHAMEIK MOORE; JAKE JOHNSON; HAILEE STEINFELD; LIEV SCHREIBER
DIRECTED BY: BOB PERSICHETTI; PETER RAMSEY; RODNEY ROTHMAN
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
When we go to the movies it's an escape. We just want to get away, eat some popcorn maybe, and feel like a kid again. The only movie in 2018 that made me feel like I was 13-year old Leo again was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Instead of the typical live-action interpretation of the web-slinger, something we've seen six different times already, we get an animated feature, and it's just as good as any other Marvel movie we have seen before. With gorgeous, colorful animation, a story that feels like a fresh injection of energy, and a vocal cast that delivers a bundle of laughs, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse makes a great argument for more movies just like it.
Walking in, I knew little about where this story sat in the Spider-Man timeline. We've heard about Peter Parker before, shy kid, falls in love with Mary Jane Watson, is bitten by a radioactive spider, and becomes a powerful hero fighting bad guys in New York. Spider-verse still exists in that world, but also introduces us to a new kid by the name of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). He's an artistic young man, who can never seem to please his father, but one day when he too is bitten by a radioactive spider, he happens upon the evil Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) in the middle of creating a powerful alternate dimension. In doing this, he kills Peter Parker, only to open up five different dimensions, each one inhabited by a different version of Spider-Man. That's a lot of heroes in one world.
Typically, when Marvel or DC Universe characters are interpreted through animation, it's in the form of a direct to DVD version or a Sunday morning TV Series. That is not the case here at all. Not only is Spider-Verse visually gorgeous, the story from Phil Lord has a unique ability to slice through cliched origin story fluff and allows the audience to truly get to know Miles. Each new Spider-Man that we meet brings something different to the table, a new representation, a cooler look, and kick-ass powers. One of the best fight sequences of 2018 has to be one involving Miles, an older, squishier Peter Parker (perfectly voiced by Jake Johnson), and Gwen Stacy's Spider-Girl (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) versus Doc Ock (Kathryn Hahn) and her collection of evil drones. You will be entertained and your kids will stand up and cheer.
An argument could be made that this fresh, cool, animated path is what Marvel and comic-book movies should go towards. It's not wrong to say that the same, redundancy of a new superhero every few months leaves audiences wanting more. Black Panther was a fresh beginning and this months Aquaman might bring a new look, but these movies do blend together. The hero becomes the chosen one, an insignificant villain is defeated, and the hero learns something along the way. Not in Spider-Verse. Maybe some of those themes are there, but this movie moves fast, with the action leaping off the screen. My craving for more Spider-man was tingling.
With a trio of directors- Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, a vocal cast that includes Nicolas Cage and John Mulaney equally making us crack up, and some of the best animation of 2018, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a smash hit. Incredibles 2 was a nice sequel and all, but the animation category for Oscar should be going to Spider-Man this year. He is the hero that we all deserve, no matter what dimension he fights crime in.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady