Film Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Sony’s newest Spidey flick isn’t the greatest movie to feature the webhead, but it’s certainly near the top of my list. Thanks to its focus on a newer version of the iconic character, stunning art direction, humor, and an interesting premise, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an immensely entertaining reimagining of a classic superhero that’s easy to recommend.

While the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) still plays a supporting role, Into the Spider-Verse’s focus is on Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a teenager who shortly after acquiring a familiar set of powers is thrust into an adventure where the fate of multiple dimensions hang in the balance. Along the way Miles runs into the Spider-folk of a few different universes, each of them searching for a way back to their respective realms. The new Spiders range from being fairly reminiscent of Miles or ol’ Pete like Spider-Woman/Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), to completely bizarre like Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), and each is given a few moments to really shine. While I loved them all in action together, I still wish their personal histories had been fleshed out just a bit more.

Like its characters, Into the Spider-Verse’s animation and overall style are fantastic. I honestly don’t remember the last time I was blown away by the visuals in an animated feature like this. Combined with the occasional transition through panels, Miles’ thoughts appearing in yellow boxes above his head, or words appearing out of thin air accompanying sound effects, it legitimately felt like I was watching a moving comic book.

Speaking of the comics, Into the Spider-Verse has so many little nods and Easter eggs that reference other Spider-Man comics, movies, shows, and games. I can’t wait to see what I’ll find on repeat viewings!

Into the Spider-Verse’s humor was also consistently great. I’d even say this is a comedy as much as it is a superhero film. From Parker “teaching” Miles, to Spider-Ham hamming it up, to Nic Cage’s Spider-Man Noir… Well, being Nic Cage-y, I laughed out loud two or three times almost every scene.

The only problem I had with Into the Spider-Verse was that its emotional beats felt lacking. They aren’t awful, but after comparing them to the top-notch animation, humor, or anything else in the movie really, they bug me that much more. There are a couple of scenes in particular that should definitely hit harder than they do, and they’re what holds this film back from standing next to Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming as the best of the best.

2018 has been one of the strongest years for superhero films in quite a while, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a great note to end it on. It’s not quite perfect, but its tremendous successes far outweigh its slight faults, earning itself a spot among my favorite films these past few months.

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