Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, Live Schreiber, Kimiko Glenn
Runtime: 117 minutes
Spider-Man comics are deeply personal to me, giving thrilling adventures and life lessons since childhood. The mantra of “with great power comes great responsibility” is important, of course, but there’s more to Spider-Man than that. No matter who is wearing the suit, there’s always a lesson to learn about perseverance, understanding, or something deeper. Once the movie starts you know it’s going to hit that personal mark.
From the opening sequence, there’s a feeling that Into the Spider-Verse is something magical, like catching lightning in a bottle. The movie looks how I imagine opening a comic book that plays videos would. It’s rare to see this much love put into a film. Love from clever writers feverishly crafting a world, animators painstakingly building it, and marvelous voice actors breathing life into it. If you only see one movie this holiday season, make sure it is this one.
With gorgeous and crisp animation that blows accomplished studios out of the water, each scene feels ripped straight from comics. Rapid action sequences, moody emotional scenes, it’s all there and beautiful. Adding to the views is the writing. It brings forward Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man without it feeling like a rehash of Peter Parker’s story and personality. Not to mention the weaving in of multiple character arcs that manage to each get decent resolutions by the end. We all know there’s a sequel in the works, but it never feels like we have to wait for it to have the full story.
The writers manage to make me cry at least three times in this movie. I have to care about a relationship before I start bawling over it, so it’s high praise that my eyes made rivers. The family dynamic the writers paint gives way to heartbreaking scenes of compassion that films are in dire need of. It’s just astounding what this team managed to do. The pacing is fantastic, never feeling like you’re sitting around waiting for something to happen. The conflicts are clear but raw, simple and relatable, like wanting to be good enough to tackle a problem. There’s so much to love about the story and the actors make the script into this mesmerizing animated reality.
The voice acting in this film is on point. For one, every voice fits the character well and embodies the personalities perfectly. No character feels out of place, despite the film’s multiverse hijinks. Then the subtleties the actors manage to convey in such believable and realistic conversations is amazing. Early in the film, Uncle Aaron and Miles have a chat on the couch. It’s an uncle passing down his experience with girls onto his nephew. It’s simple, nothing dramatic. But it feels like we are right there with them. It’s hard making animation seem less like a cartoon and more like the real world. The voice actors in this movie manage to bring us right into their arena.
Hands down, Shameik Moore’s portrayal of Miles needs to be held up to a spotlight and praised. Bringing Miles to the big screen is no small feat since he needs to go through such a huge change before the movie ends. He starts young and afraid of his power, hoping to be rid of it, later embracing his role as Spider-Man. Moore even leans heavily into the mixed background of Miles’ Afro-Latino heritage. The switching fluidly between Spanish and English puts a smile on my face. Moore gave his all and more to the role, bringing about an iconic performance.
Into the Spider-Verse is going to be on best of lists for years to come, having nailed its characters, the story, and visuals. This movie is for everyone so be sure to bring friends, your kids, anyone who can get to the theater. You don’t want to miss this movie.
Movie Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Into the Spider-Verse expresses the heart and soul of why people, young and old, love Spider-Man, no matter who wears the mask.