Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
A fresh, visually stunning take on the modern super-hero movie.
Rent on iTunes | 2018 | PG | 1h 57m
Why I watched: My sister Olivia convinced me to watch. Here's what she says about it: "It might seem impossible for a superhero movie to feel fresh after we've been inundated with them over the past decade, but Into the Spider-Verse is just that. The story is sensitive and human, and the art is something entirely new. This is the first movie I've seen in recent memory that surprised me every 20 minutes and made me feel actual awe during the first watch." Well, I guess you don't even need to read my review now!
You might also like: Spider-Man: Homecoming (which I love!) is streaming on Starz. For something totally different, I highly recommend New Girl on Netflix. You'll get your fill of Jake Johnson's hilarious antics. (He plays basically the same character as in Into the Spider-Verse, just without the spidey powers.)
When I saw the trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I thought, But why? Since 2002 when Spider-Man (the one featuring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst) came out, there have been three different cycles of Spider-Man movies, each with a different leading man and cast. (Tobey Maguire, then Andrew Garfield, then Tom Holland). AND one of those cycles—the one featuring Tom Holland, where Spider-Man is a member of the Avengers and hangs out with Tony Stark and the gang—is ongoing.
So why make another Spider-Man movie? There was no way I needed to see this new one, especially since it's...animated. And therefore for children. Right?
Wrong. My three siblings—ages 15 to 30—all went to see this movie in theaters (yes, I had SOMO—Sadness Over Missing Out) and l o v e d it. Now, after watching it on iTunes in my apartment and reflecting on the rave reviews of my sibs, one of my biggest regrets is not making time to go see it in theaters. Into the Spider-Verse is one of the most creative and visually dynamic movies I've ever seen. It's not just animated; it's literally like watching a comic book unfold in real time across the screen. The movie's animation is like an antidote to the hyperrealism of a lot of animated movies and video games these days. It looks like it's shot in shallow focus, where only the things closest to the camera are fully in focus and the background is blurred, even though, of course, it's not shot like a live action movie at all.
Adding to the comic book aesthetic are the words that pop up on screen. "Boom" and "Pow!" appear during action sequences, and sometimes there's metatext like:
Later that night...
...Miles searches for answers.
A lot of elements of this story are exactly what you expect: middle schooler Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is dealing with typical early teen stuff when he's bitten by a radioactive spider. Things start to get weeeeird for him—you know, super sticky fingers, shooting webs, the usual. But then the story veers in a different direction. See, there's already a Spider-Man, Peter Parker, and he is doing an excellent job keeping bad guys at bay. It seems like the pressure is off of Miles, but then there's an unfortunate incident with a super-collider, and the fabric separating the universes is torn apart. Suddenly there's a lot of pressure on Miles.
Thankfully, he has help. A whole team of spider-men, spider-women, spider-robots, and spider-pigs from other universes show up, including his new mentor, another Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) who absolutely does not have his act together. He's washed up, down-and-out, chubby, and stubbly, and Miles is not impressed. "Why did I get stuck with the janky, old, broke, hobo Spider-Man?" he wonders aloud. But Miles and Peter redeem each other in genuinely touching ways, and watching their relationship grow is a true delight.
Family dynamics, crushes, and bad guys are all at play in this stunning Spider-Man story that is much, much more than simply the latest superhero movie to stream.