Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - 2018
Director(s): Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman
Writer(s): Phil Lord (screenplay) / Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Steve Ditko, David Hine, Fabrice Sapolsky and Stan Lee (characters)
Art Direction by: Dea Gordon and Patrick O’Keefe
Editor(s): Robert Fisher Jr.
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Live Schreiber, Chris Pine and Kathryn Hahn
Back when Marvel and Sony announced that they were teaming up to give Spider-Man his third live-action interpretation, the idea of Miles Morales floated around the internet. Him being half Puerto Rican and half African American, I was excited by the potential. However, Peter got his third time in the sun, and now thanks to Amy Pascal, Christopher Miller, Phil Lord, Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothman, and Peter Ramsey (sorry, I HAVE to call them out by name. I'm that happy) we have Miles in one of the most beautifully creative, funny, and heartfelt adventures ever put to film. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Let's talk about it.
The story centers around Miles Morales (Moore), a young teenager adjusting to his new school, one that feels like he doesn't belong. He struggles with the high expectation his father has of him, and his desire to be an artist like his estranged uncle. When a spider bites him, he quickly realizes that his body is changing just like it did for his local friendly Spider-Man. When Kingpin opens a portal to other dimensions, Miles joins forces with other Spider-Man to take down the portal before it is too late. Miller wrote a screenplay that embraced all the craziness that is the multiverse (PORKER PARKER!), and how all of the Spider-Man may have uniquely different personalities, but are all grounded in the same core idea; never giving up. The balance created between humor, action, and emotion couldn't have been done better as I never found the comedic punch to take away from the emotional weight of Miles' journey. I honestly had a smile throughout the entire runtime; this is tied with Paddington 2 as the most fun I've had in a theater this year.
The main theme of the story was something that will stand the test of time; anyone can wear the mask. It doesn't matter what your life experiences, your skills or your beliefs are. What matters is doing the right thing at the right time. Getting up when you are knocked down and accepting that with great power comes great responsibility. We are Spider-Man.
This film, animation wise, is very hard to compare it to anything that came before it, as it integrates multiple animation styles to create this amalgamation that somehow works. Some characters are animated differently from our main cast, to help drive home the multiverse idea. They use the comic book panels as a source of inspiration, and the use of the thought bubble was a stroke of genius. The color scheme and bold textures would bring a massive smile to Steve Ditko's face as the animators did not shy away from any color in the rainbow. The action sequences were fast-paced, and you as an audience member never lose track of the characters. This movie will be a serious contender at the Academy Awards this year.
The voice acting all around is fantastic, as all of them fit the persona of their character exceptionally well. Spider-Man Noir is a fish out of water detective, that says ignorant things so seriously that it is funny. Voiced by Nic Cage. Spider-Ham is a cartoon talking pig, that is as quick with his mouth as he is with his hands. Voiced by John Mulaney. Peter B. Parker is a tired good guy, that begrudgingly does his heroic feats, even when he claims he is done helping his fellow man. Voiced by Jake Johnson. I could honestly go on through the entire cast, as they all embraced their roles and brought their characters to life.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse embraces its source material, and its medium to take narrative risks and visual risks, that creates a unique and exciting entry into the Comic book genre many claimed to be stale. The story of Miles Morales is one of hope and fearlessness to do the right thing. A story that all can gravitate towards too, and one that I am very happy Sony gave us in this tumultuous year. You will laugh, you will be entertained, and you will want to return to this world over and over again. Porker Parker is why I love movies.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is currently playing in theaters. Go see it.
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