As 2018 draws to a close, we’re greeted with the last Marvel film for the year. And it’s certainly a unique one with a mouthful of a title. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is different from the numerous Marvel movies filling theaters. This one is told not through live-action, but animation—making it the first animated Marvel movie to be released in theaters. It’s also one of the cleanest, most family-friendly, and possibly best Marvel movie to hit theaters!
The new movie follows Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a teenager living in New York. One day, while graffitiing a deserted part of the subway, he’s bitten by a strange glowing spider. As his body goes through changes and develops odd abilities from the insect’s bite, things go from bad to worse when he accidentally stumbles upon a secret experiment in the bowels of New York. The ruthless crime lord Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber) it seems has developed an enormous device capable of opening gates to other dimensions. Though Miles is able to halt the dangerous experiment, he’s unable to completely destroy it.
Now, with Fisk and his team of super-powered villains hunting him down, Miles is going to have to figure out how to control his new powers and stop these criminals before all of reality is torn asunder. Thankfully, Miles will find that he isn’t alone in his quest as he receives help from the one and only Spider-Man. Or at least, the one and only from several alternate realities. The film also features an all-star cast: Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, John Mulaney, Chris Pine, and Nicolas Cage.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a fantastic film that stands out from its predecessors. It’s the first Spider-Man film to not only feature a black Spider-Man, but even a Spider-Woman. It’s also the first to follow a new protagonist other than Peter Parker. While Peter is part of the story, Miles Morales is the one who assumes the role of main character, and eventually, main hero. It’s a fresh idea that I love and applaud the film for. With how many Spider-Man films we’ve had, it’s great to experience the story from a new perspective with a different character and origin.
More than that, the movie also shows us the other Spider-Man heroes from across different dimensions. Like a Noir Spider-Man who’s part superhero, part noir detective—and many more, including Spider-Pig. No, that wasn’t a typo. Believe it or not, Spider-Pig isn’t an original character invented for this film. Just about every character in this movie is copyrighted by Marvel Comics. It’s hard to fathom, but keep in mind this is the same company that gave us a talking tree, a talking raccoon, and a talking planet.
Despite how insane and a little ridiculous the plot sounds on paper, the whole movie is handled like a proper Marvel film, but with a more humorous side and a PG rating. That’s right, there’s no PG-13 or R age restriction, this film is approved for all children. However, don’t think that means it’ll only appeal to them—because “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” appeals to children, fans of Spider-Man, fans of animation, and is genuinely fun for all ages. The film is not all humor, however. It knows how to balance comedy, action, drama, and even suspenseful moments through impressive timing and pacing.
As for the animation itself, while I love the live-action Marvel films, it’s nice to get one that tells a story in a different format. As impressive as the special effects in those films are, there are some things they can’t do that animation can. And the animation for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is just… breathtaking at times. Especially during the fight scenes or incredible moments when we see our main hero soaring through the city and swinging from building to building. It’s like it was captured straight out of the comic book.
The amount of detail put into this film is remarkable. It’s one of those films you have to watch again just to see the little details you may have missed. Even the Spider-Men from alternate dimensions are subtly animated differently. Like how the Noir Spider-Man is always in black and white, or the cartoony Spider-Pig is more colorful and bouncy than the other characters. The animation actually works in conjunction with the writing and storytelling; which really highlights the amount of time and effort that was put into this film. And if my words still aren’t enough to convince you that the animation is great, then maybe this will. At the time of this review, the movie has currently been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.
Before I conclude, however, there’s something I have to say regarding Spider-Man’s creator Stan Lee, who unfortunately passed away in November of 2018. Anyone who’s ever seen at least one Marvel film is well aware that Mr. Lee would always make small appearances in them. Fret not, even while animated, Stan Lee once again graces another Marvel film with a cameo. Unfortunately, it may be one of his last. And “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” handles it in a courteous manner by adding a little tribute to the wall-crawler’s creator Stan Lee and co-creator Steve Ditko in the closing credits.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is rated PG for frenetic sequences of animated action-violence, thematic elements, and mild language. At the risk of sounding corny, this film puts the word ‘amazing’ in Amazing Spider-Man. Amazing story, animation, cast, action, and humor—nearly every part of this movie was flawlessly woven together like a perfect web. This is not just a film for kids and Spider-Man fans, this is a Must-See for everyone. Which is why the final score for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a strong 9.5 out of 10!
Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.