Synopsis: Teenaged Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) quickly learns he isn’t the one and only Spider-Man when a cataclysmic multiverse-threatening event brings together various other Spider-People crashing into his world. Faced with the threat of the end of life for all people throughout the multiverse, Miles has to quickly learn if he has what it takes to become the newest Spider-Man.
Breakdown: What an absolute joy of a film, and one that could only be accomplished in animation. Released in 2018, Into the Spider-Verse was the ninth major motion picture to feature the character of Spider-Man (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Avengers: Infinity War). At this point, we had seen Uncle Ben die twice, the fateful spider bite twice, witnessed three different actors take on the role of Peter Parker, and been thrilled by countless shots of Spider-Man swinging through New York City. Audiences everywhere knew the story of Peter Parker like the back of their hand, and it was time for Spider-Man to do something fresh.
That’s exactly what Into the Spider-Verse is: something fresh. Here we have a new character, Miles Morales, who isn’t just an ethnic-swap of Peter Parker. He is completely different, lending an air of excitement and the sense of unknown to the whole film. The movie was a welcome change of pace, and knocks almost everything out of the park, setting up an exciting new sandbox of Spider-Man stories for viewers to experience.
Don’t get me wrong, this movie is just as much Peter Parker’s story as it is Miles’, but it is nice to have someone else take center stage for a while. What the movie does so well is celebrate the true essence of what it means to be Spider-Man, whether you are from a black and white Noir world or you are an animated pig. The character of Spider-Man oozes out of every frame, from the absolutely groundbreaking animation style that makes the visuals look as if they are ripped straight out of a comic book to the deep cuts from Spider-Man lore included in the script.
Moore does a fantastic job bringing Miles to life. Here is a character who has a bit of confidence and charm, but is still young enough to not know how to handle what is going on around him. Someone who needs a mentor to show him the ropes and then can excel after that first or second lesson. The rest of the cast does a great job as well, particularly New Girl’s Jake Johnson as the Peter Parker/Spider-Man who forms a father/son bond with Miles. My favorite performance in a film with several phenomenal characters, however, has to go to John Mulaney as Peter Porker/Spider-Ham. What an absolutely bizarre but pitch-perfect casting choice and character.
The plot, which is made fun of in the film several times by Johnson’s Spider-Man, is a pretty standard superhero story plot: the villain has a device that threatens the safety of the world (in this case, the multi-verse), and Spider-Man has to do everything in his power to save the day. One thing that gives it a bit of emotion, however, is the motivation behind King Pin’s (Liev Schreiber) plot. He just wants to bring his deceased wife and son back by pulling them from a different universe.
There are parts of the movie that drag a bit, especially in the scenes somewhere in the middle where the action loses a bit of steam and the plot seems to meander for a bit, but when the rest of the Spider-People enter the picture and the action picks back up, it is a non-stop joy ride until the emotional finale.
Verdict: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of the few films I use as my rationale for why animated movies shouldn’t be viewed as just movies for kids. It is complex, funny, visually stunning, and something that really utilizes the medium as part of the story-telling device in an intelligent way. It sets up a world that fans immediately wanted more of (and will get in next year’s Across the Spider-Verse), and introduced the world to a truly strange but loveable cast of characters who I want to get to know even better. Smartly written, brilliantly animated, beautifully acted; Into the Spider-Verse is not only one of the greatest Spider-Man films of all time, it is up there as one of the greatest superhero movies of all time, period.
**This movie review is part of a series of reviews, where we are watching one Spider-Man movie a week leading up to the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home. You can read more about this review series here.
To see the other reviews, click the links below (we’ll update this list each week as we release new reviews):
- Spider-Man 2
- Spider-Man 3
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
- Venom: Let There Be Carnage
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Movie Marathon Review: Spider-Man Recap
Mark Pereira is a senior writer for Boss Rush Network. He loves all video games, but his top three favorites are Skyward Sword, Super Mario 3D World and Batman: Arkham Asylum. You can find him on Twitter where he’s usually talking about Nintendo, video games, movies, and TV shows.
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