Review – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)

by Armando Vanegas

Just to start, I was very surprised with how much I enjoyed this movie as a lot of animated movies are hard to really win me over. A lot of them are okay but most are mediocre and more than happy to play to the cheap seats. This is disappointing because this is animation so anything is possible but more often than not, they’re so scared to take risks. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse understands this. Like the best kind of entertainment, it knows my time is valuable and as a result, this movie really takes advantage of that in so many unexpectedly brilliant ways. Seriously, this movie works on so many levels. It’s intense, action packed, funny, suspenseful, exciting, unique, and a lot of other words that could be used to describe how great it is. I love how much it’s willing to play with the form. More movies should do this because it’s what makes the theater experience fun.

Miles Morales was a fun character throughout. I think the best thing about Spider-Man is that he should be like a little kid no matter how old he is. In terms of all the Marvel characters, he’s always been my favorite because he acts like how kids would act in his predicament. Miles, in particular, was cool because as a black latino, it was nice to see that representation on screen. But he just was such a strong character in his own right and he had his own agency. It was just nice to see a different origin story with a completely different perspective than some random white kid. Diversity is good and all, but I need a good story around all that, and there’s a lot to appreciate here in that regard. His whole world feels lived in and like a real comforting experience. The best movie experiences to me is when I meet characters that I really want to spend time with and join on their journey and they managed to make me feel that here. He’s someone a lot of people can get behind and you sympathize with how he has to deal with being Spider-Man along with dealing with the typical high school struggles. Even when all these other characters come into play, the movie is actually willing to give him enough depth to make him a character worth caring about. I don’t need every character in this movie to be lovable, but Spider-Man definitely needs to be lovable like he is here. I need to have a blast every time he’s on screen and I did. The best parts of superhero movies, and especially Spider-Man origin stories, is whenever someone’s figuring out their powers and this movie has fun with Miles in that regard.

As Spider-Man, actor Shameik Moore adds charm to Miles and makes him as interesting and entertaining as the character needs to be. He’s very relatable in the way most kids are relatable. Most kids want to be a superhero and they make a convincing point for what makes Spider-Man such a compelling character to both kids and adults alike. It fully understands what makes him so enjoyable and fun to many people. Even outside of Miles, the other characters are intriguing in his own right. For example, the relationship with his father is rather poignant and it says a lot that no matter how much this trope is played, it still manages to resonate here. Many of the other characters feels like a real person and are well established. Now, granted, there’s a lot of familiar narrative beats to be seen including the stuff with Miles’ father. That doesn’t make it bad or unoriginal because as long as it’s done with effort and imagination, then it can make for a well done story like this.

Jake Johnson as an older Spider-Man is a lot of fun because he’s basically just playing himself if he was Spider-Man. He’s basically put into the Tony Stark role that we saw in Homecoming, but he’s more fun and goofy in the role. Yes, this is a movie based on a comic book but it really makes use of the comic to the most literal use of the word. Liev Schreiber is fun as the villain Kingpin, whose technology causes all the trouble of bringing all the other Spider-People to Miles’ universe. The other Spider-Men or Spider-Women, including a funny John Mulaney as Spider-Ham, Nicolas Cage being Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir, and Kimiko Glenn as an energetic Peni Parker, are all entertaining in their own right. This is mostly because they actually serve a purpose but they’re also allowed to be characters, no matter how small their screen time was. Spider-Woman is the most prominent of the alternate universe Spider-People and she was an entertaining character. She had enough depth and dimension to make me want to see what’s going to happen with her. She and Miles have an interesting relationship and how they built it throughout the movie feels organic. I look forward to what’s planned for the entire Spider-Man gang in the next movies as they were a blast to watch and all brought their own unique personalities to the movie.

As a whole, this is a visual feast for the senses. My cousin and I both saw this in 3D and we were really impressed with what manages to do with the animation and how it takes advantage of the 3D. It even creates some tension out of it somehow in the more suspenseful moments of the movie. It’s very creative with the story and manages to be exciting to someone like me who doesn’t really care for most of the Western animated movies that come out. The voice cast really delivers when they need to and really help to move the movie along in the more calmer dialogue driven moments. It doesn’t talk down to me or pander to the kids. The movie talks and treats me like a regular person who has common sense. As a result, it’s a pleasure to see what the movie had up its sleeve, making this one of the most entertaining times I’ve had at the theater in recent memory.

I am giving Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse a 5 out of 5 Hairpieces!

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