REVIEW: “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse”; Look Out! Here Comes A New Spider-Man!
I went into this movie expecting to hate it. The trailers and the TV spots just were not doing it for me. As soon as they introduced Spider-Ham in one of the trailers, my expectations went way down. On top of all of that, the movie was getting all of these over the top accolades like, “Best Spider-Man movie ever!” and “Best animated movie of the year!”. But after finally seeing “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse”, I have to agree with them. I wouldn’t say this is the best Spider-Man movie ever, but it’s definitely up there. As far as being the best animated movie this year, I will agree with that. I was not a huge fan of “Incredibles 2” and “Ralph Breaks The Internet”, and then there was “Sherlock Gnomes”, “Hotel Transylvania 3”, “The Grinch”, and “Small Foot”. So way to go Spider-Man, you are without a doubt the best animated film of the year!
“Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” introduces the idea that there are multiple Spider-men and women from parallel universes out there and the one that is the main focus in this movie is Miles Morales. Miles is a kid from Brooklyn who has a passion for graffiti art that he shares with his uncle. Like the Spider-Man that most of us are familiar with, Miles is also bit by a radioactive spider, which results in superhuman strength and the abilities of a spider. At some point, multiple Spider-people make their way to Miles’ universe and Miles has to help them get back to their own world. On top of that, Miles is just getting used to his powers and is struggling with adapting to his new role as a superhero.
There are so many good things in this movie and just a few bad ones. I would say the strongest part of this movie is the character of Miles. His story just feels real and it is different from Peter’s. Miles has to adapt to his new powers, but he also has to deal with entering a new school in which he is having trouble fitting in. Miles is such a likable character. I was more interested in Miles’ story and kind of disappointed when they would lose focus on it. Also, Peter Parker is great in this movie. This is my Spider-Man, or the Spider-Man I always wanted to see represented in a movie. No longer is Peter a teenager still in high school, but he is a seasoned veteran superhero. He is at his prime and for once we have a Spider-”MAN”. Peter reluctantly takes on the job as Miles’ mentor and that is the core of the film. Peter trying to teach Miles all of the tricks of being Spider-Man, but also teaching him to learn from the mistakes that he made in his life. I would have rated this movie so much higher if it just focused on Miles and Peter.
The animation in this movie is unbelievable at times, especially during the end fight scene. You have never seen anything look so breathtaking in an animated film ever. This animation is a hybrid of CGI, a hand-drawn style, and a style that mirrors what you would see in comic books, where at times you will see the story transition through panels and pop-up bubbles. I think they used the comic book look a little too much and it kind of took me out of it when they introduced text, but it is still done very well and so much better than most of the animation that we have seen in the last few years.
The voice acting by the main cast is really well done. I don’t think they could have chosen a better voice actor for Miles Morales than Shameik Moore (“Dope”). He really shines in this and it makes you really appreciate the importance of casting the right person for voicing a character. Jake Johnson (“New Girl”) does a really good job of voicing a more adult Peter Parker. Although he doesn’t have much screen time, I really liked Mahersala Ali (“Moonlight”) as Peter’s uncle. Rounding out the cast are some other familiar actors including Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) who voices Spider-Gwen, Nicolas Cage (“The Rock”) voicing Spider-Man Noir, Liev Schreiber (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) voicing Kingpin, and Lily Tomlin (“Grace And Frankie”) who voices Aunt May.
As far as the negatives, we did not need so many Spider-people from different parallel worlds. The weak point is the character of Spider-Ham. Once he is on the screen, he just takes you out of it. I could not stand Spider-Ham growing up and he is more for very little kids and kind of like a Howard The Duck or Bat-mite character. He is a talking pig with Spider-man’s powers! Who ever at Marvel though this was a good idea should have been fired long ago. We also have Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, and Penny Parker. This movie could have easily just been about one Spider-man crossing over into Miles’ universe, and it should have been the main guy himself, Peter Parker. It just takes away from a potential story of having Peter mentor Miles, and the addition of all of these characters really hurts the movie for me.
The animation for the Kingpin is also really weird. I know he is a big guy but his design is ridiculous. They animated the Kingpin as a rectangle. I don’t get it. Most of the characters looked somewhat real and believable, but Kingpin’s design sticks out like a sore thumb. What does this guy eat? Refrigerators?
Here is a huge missed opportunity for me: they basically reveal that the adult Spider-Man is the Spider-Man from the Sam Rami movies. We see him reflecting on his past showing animated scenes of the upside down kiss with MJ, saving the people on the subway from “Spider-Man 2”, and they also revisit the Spider-Man dancing in the streets from “Spider-Man 3”. Why would they not cast Toby McGuire to do his voice? People would have loved to have seen Toby having a second chance at playing, or voicing, Spider-Man. It doesn’t seem like Toby has done much lately and I bet he would have jumped at the chance.
There are a ton of Easter Eggs in this movie. I could not even tell you half of them. But we do see several suits from the Spider-Man PS4 game. We also see many artists’ and writers’ names on Miles’ contact list on his phone. There is an after credit scene revealing one more Spider-Man. Also, I don’t want to give away who he is voicing, but Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) voices one of the Spider-men and I think he did an excellent job.
Without a doubt, this is one of the better Spider-Man movies ever made, and as far as I’m concerned, it sits right up there with “Spider-Man 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming”. Don’t be surprised if we hear an announcement from SONY of a live action Miles Morale Spider-Man movie soon because this movie really did his character justice. Those who are not familiar with Miles will like him by the end of this movie, and those that are familiar with him will just like him more.
I give “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” an 8.5/10. It would have been a 9 if not for Spider-Ham!