Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Review (2018)
SHOULD YOU WATCH IT? ABSOLUTELY
IMAX?: YES - 3D?: NO - MID-CREDITS?: NO - POST-CREDITS?: YES
A PERFECT SOUNDTRACK, PERFECT VOICE ACTING, REWARDING ACTION, A HEARTFELT STORY AND A NECESSARY RETELLING.
Peter Parker is Spider-Man. That’s what the casual moviegoer understands and accepts. After all, they’ve been fed the story a dozen times between cartoons, movies and video games. They’re right, of course, but not wholly. In 2011, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagely created A Spider-Man for the Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man relaunch of the Ultimates continuity for Marvel comics. This time, after the death of Peter Parker shortly after his career started, under the mask is a young Afro-Latino high school kid named Miles Morales. His origins were very different but he quickly became a fan favorite. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse attempts to bring Miles to the big screen for the first time. It’s a different tale than Peter’s and even from the comic iteration of Miles but if this movie did one thing it was prove that anyone could be Spider-Man.
In Miles’ world there’s only one Spider-Man, just like in the casual moviegoer’s. He’s fantastic. He’s amazing. He’s spectacular. He’s Spider-Man. Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is just a regular kid, trying to deal with a new school, a hard but loving police officer for a father, Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry) and a busy nurse for a mother, Rio Morales (Luna Lauren Velez). With a passion for graffiti, Miles was encouraged by his uncle Aaron Davis (Mahershala Ali), much to the dismay of his father. On one of their outings, a radioactive spider found its way to Miles and you know the rest. Trying to come to grips with what he can now do, he retraces his steps to where he was bitten by the spider and stumbles upon Spider-Man trying to stop Green Goblin, The Prowler and Kingpin from opening the gateway to another dimension. The portal, of course, had the potential to destroy life as we know it on a multi-dimensional scale.
After Spider-Man fails, Miles decides to help in any way he can. On the way he realizes several other Spider-People have crossed dimensions. In order to save the day, they team up for an epic showdown to save reality.
First things first, and I say this without hesitation: this is the best Spider-Man movie. Period. As much fun and heart as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, with the awkward teenage friendships and requisite mentoring from Spider-Man: Homecoming. For good measure, you’ve even got the wit of Amazing Spider-Man. This film gets everything right.
Guys, voice acting is hard. Much harder than it seems. Just ask Michael B. Jordan. He’s a fantastic actor to be sure, but his turn in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox was laughable. Or what about Michelle Monaghan’s turn as Wonder Woman In Justice League: War? Awful. It’s not easy to imbue emotion and direction into just your voice while in a room with yourself and a microphone. A lot of what acting is, is playing off of the other actors around you, playing off of the setting/set pieces and emoting physically. When none of that is available to you, well, not everyone can be Mark Hamill (the quintessential animated Joker. Let’s argue.) I say all that because everyone nails their characters here. Everyone.
The biggest surprise? Chris Pine. Yea, he was one of the Spider-People. I’ll get flak for saying this but, honestly, he’s the best animated Peter Parker/Spider-Man, ever. Ever. Ever. When? EVER. He was literally perfect. Every nuance you can think of, he nailed it. The main Peter Parker of the story is played by Jake Johnson and he’s fantastic too. His specific portrayal fit his character very, very well. The casting on this was spot on. I’m getting excited all over again just writing about it.
This is the best film I’ve seen all year, and I don’t say that statement lightly. A perfect soundtrack, perfect voice acting, rewarding action, a heartfelt story and a necessary retelling. Go see it. You won’t be disappointed. And if you are, well then I’m disappointed in you.