“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, and stars Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage and Mahershala Ali. The film is about Miles Morales’ becoming of Spider-Man, which takes place while various other Spider-Men join his world from multiple dimensions, threatening to ruin the lives of everyone involved.
There have been a lot of Spider-Man movies in the past 16 years, that’s for sure. If you’re counting, this is the seventh, but this one looked to have the most unique and exciting premise of them all. That, combined with the insane cast, stunning animation shown in the trailers and the fact that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from “The LEGO Movie” were involved, and I was more excited for this specific Spider-Man film than nearly any before it.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming” was a strong entry for the superhero, but there hasn’t been a truly great film with this hero since “Spider-Man 2.”
Consider that streak ended.
“Into the Spider-Verse” manages to be one of the best Spider-Man movies to date, and it does so by combining everything that made this premise exciting in the first place. What this trio of directors is able to pull off by using smart comedy, a creative storytelling method, brilliantly-crafted characters and some of the best animation of the year is truly breathtaking for the majority of the runtime.
Of all the impressive components of this film, the visuals might stand out as the most impressive. There is not an animated movie that looks like “Spider-Verse” does, and the unique comic-book style it brings in, along with sharp colors and an excellent style for the action makes it a true spectacle as much as any typical superhero film is.
Moore is terrific as Morales in the film, both bringing the comedic energy, especially by complementing his supporting cast nicely, as well as finding moments of emotion to make the character stand out. There are some great scenes between Miles and his father and uncle that really hit hard, something I did not expect to love so much coming into the film.
Moore works best with Johnson, who plays a terrific role as Peter Parker. Johnson’s veteran, less-than-appealing take on the character is both hilarious and intriguing to watch, and I thought he nailed everything he needed to about the character. The same could be said for Steinfeld, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn and yes, Cage, who all play the other versions of Spider-Man in the film. Each of them are hysterical without overdoing it, with Cage especially impressing in a comedic style I did not think he had at this point in his career.
The comedic style that Lord and Miller did so well in their previous films comes in strides here, and works as good as it ever has. The jokes — which span from so bad they’re good to incredibly meta — all land with flying colors no matter who is the one saying them. Marvel is pretty great at comedy at this point, but “Into the Spider-Verse” is easily on par with it as far as clever writing and excellent delivery.
As far as star-studded soundtracks go, they usually are pretty underwhelming, with the rare hit like the “Black Panther” one from the beginning of the year. Somehow, this movie even manages to pull that off, getting some terrific songs from the likes of Post Malone, Vince Staples and Juice WRLD that work both as singles and in the context of the movie.
For a superhero, and the superhero genre, for that matter, to be so oversaturated with movies, it is an absolute achievement that “Spider-Verse” does so much right with its’ world. The characters all work wonders, there are enough dramatic themes to keep the main storyline interesting and there is a visual and comedic style unlike any superhero movie ever, aside from “Deadpool,” which is clearly known for the meta humor.
This movie just had me in awe for much of the runtime, truly making a mark as one of the best superhero movies in recent memory.
The one flaw, like many superhero films before it, does come with its’ villain. Liev Schreiber gives a fin performance as the main antagonist, but his backstory is only given a minimal amount of screen time. While I absolutely understand why the focus was on Miles and the other versions of Spider-Man, it makes the villain feel like simply the thing that is bringing them all together.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a masterful film in nearly all facets, working as an impressive comedy and terrific superhero origin story all at once. Everything that needed to work, did work, and the result is an absolute blast of a time that also manages to pull off some dramatic elements. The action is superb, the animation is flawless and aside from some slightly underwhelming villain development, the movie is near perfection. “Spider-Man 2” is tough to top, but “Into the Spider-Verse” may have done it, remarkably working as a true standout in an overcrowded genre.
Are you excited for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”? Comment below with your thoughts.