Unrelated fact: Tobey Maguire is the best Spider-Man we've ever had and the Sam Raimi trilogy is the best superhero saga ever put to film. Ok. On with the review. 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' is an animated telling of the titular character (the ninth in many a year). It features Shameik Moore as Miles Morales, […]
Unrelated fact: Tobey Maguire is the best Spider-Man we'veever had and the Sam Raimi trilogy is the best superhero saga ever put to film.Ok. On with the review.
'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' is an animated tellingof the titular character (the ninth in many a year). It features Shameik Mooreas Miles Morales, a Hispanic/African American teen in Brooklyn who is bitten bya freaky spider and soon discovers his universe has merged with others,resulting in multiple different Spider-Men. Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali,Jake Johnson, Liev Schreiber, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Vélez and Lily Tomlinalso star, while Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman direct.
The film is animated like nothing I've really seen before;basically, it looks like a comic book. To achieve this look, the filmmakerstook rendered 3D character models and placed them over 2D backgrounds, andadded dot pigments to the frame. Most of the time the film comes off colorfuland alive and their goal is realized, but there are a few instances where theshot is straight-up out of focus, as if you're watching a 3D movie but the kidat the counter forgot to hand you the glasses.
As Miles Morales, Shameik Moore (great in his breakout rolein 2015's 'Dope') conveys the mixture of anxious, confused and scared as hebegins to discover his powers, and cracks a few one-liners, too. Jake Johnsontakes on this universe's version of Peter Parker, playing the 'grumpy old herowho no longer believes in what their image stands for' that we've seen fromBruce Wayne in 'Batman v Superman,' Luke Skywalker in 'The Last Jedi' and Loganin…well, 'Logan.'
The rest of the cast is perfectly assembled, from John Mulaneyvoicing Spider-Ham, a Porky Pig-type Spider-Man, to Hailee Steinfeld as GwennStacy (who here is her own Spider-Man and isn't getting her neck broken) andthe perfect Nic Cage depicting a noir Spidey. There are also a few fun surprisecast members, and you'll play everyone's favorite animated game 'dammit I knowthat voice' until you see their names in the credit.
Where the film falters is that while these are charactersand an animation style we've never seen before, the plot is been there-done that.There's nothing new about seeing a young teen struggle to figure out his newspider-like powers or him yelling at his mentor that he is ready to take on thebig bad guy even though he isn't. The film throws some quips in there and a fewfun Easter eggs for fans, this is co-written and produced by the guys behind'The Lego Movie' after all, but they're mere momentary distractions from arinse-and-repeat plot.
Also, the climax goes on for a little too long and by theend is essentially nonsensical, full of colors slamming into each other withoutmuch rhyme or reason.
'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' is basically like acover album of all of the highlights from the previous eight takes on thecharacter, packaged in a pretty box with a stylish bow. The soundtrack is attimes infectious and the voice performances inspired, which are at times enoughto keep you entertained when the plot is not. There have been better Spider-Menfilms before and there will be after (especially if some of these charactersget their own spin-offs) but as far as December entertainment goes, you can doa lot worse than this.
Critic's Rating: 7/10