Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review
When you have a newborn child, sometimes you have to choose between driving to a busy mall during the holiday season to watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on a Saturday night and staying home to care for said child. With that said, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a multidimensional blast, a kinetic comic book brought to life.
Full of energy, spunk, and even more energy, Spider-Verse is a beautifully animated, fast-paced, and cleverly written action-comedy full of laughs and action, a film that refreshingly feels different than just about every other comic book movie on the market while maintaining a healthy sense of self awareness.
Unlike in the live-action franchises, this one features Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a black teenager who gets bitten by a radioactive spider just in time for him to witness Peter Parker getting killed by Kingpin in an effort to stop the madman from merging multiple universes together. Miles is forced to learn on the fly as he teams up with Spider-Heroes from other dimensions—yes, including Spider-Ham, a cartoon pig—to stop Kingpin’s deadly scheme.
Co-written by Phil Lord, Spider-Verse simmers with the same kind of mile-a-minute blend of humor and thrills that made his LEGO Movie and 22 Jump Street movies so successful. Spider-Verse pulses with clever dialogue and a crafty plot that makes the most of its comic book foundations, occasionally overdoing it with on-screen printed dialogue and sound effects.
Somewhere Ang Lee is saying, “But I did that first.” You were ahead of your time, Ang Lee. You were ahead of your time.
As an animated film, however, Spider-Verse is given more leeway to cling closer to the comic book pages, and the filmmakers largely and effectively straddle the line between taking advantage of the format and going overboard. It’s a lot of fun to watch.
At two hours in length, it is a bit long—the story dwells a little too much on Morales learning to become his own version of Spider-Man even though the film in part purposefully tries to stay away from the traditional origin format, and the visually overloaded climax is the equivalent of an overstuffed CGI action scene.
In short, there were opportunities to be tighter. Sometimes less is more.
Still, few will walk out of the theater—and yes, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is worth seeing on the big screen—not wanting to scale a building themselves. Fun, funny, creative, and action-packed, this is another Spider-Man movie that spins a web worth getting caught up in.
Having a newborn child also allows me to end sentences in a preposition, which my elementary school teacher said was a no-no but who cares because sometimes sentences need to end in prepositions.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.