“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, and stars Shameik Moore (Dope, The Get Down), Jake Johnson (New Girl, Jurassic World), Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen, True Grit), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, House of Cards), Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta, This Is Us), Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie, The Magic School Bus), Luna Lauren Velez (How to Get Away with Murder, Dexter), John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live, Big Mouth), Kimiko Glenn (DuckTales, Orange Is the New Black), Nicolas Cage (Mandy, Raising Arizona), and Liev Schreiber (Spotlight, X-Men Origins: Wolverine). This film is about Miles Morales, a teenage boy who may be Spider-Man in his own reality, but it just so turns out that there’s a crossing in paths between several different realities. He eventually meets Peter Parker, who is Spider-Man in an alternate universe, and Parker guides Morales as he becomes the Spider-Man he’d ultimately want to be.
Going into “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” I have been exposed to all of the major trailers. When it comes to how I’d personally receive them, they started out weak, but each one improved over the last. I’d say there’s a similar story when it comes to this movie itself, I wasn’t all that excited for it, then I hear more about it, and I’m getting increasingly hyped. I imagine some people had a similar feeling in their minds when it comes to another animated film we’ve gotten this decade, specifically “The LEGO Movie.” I can say that because I’ve seen the trailers, and part of it seemed weird, part of it seemed a little too kiddy. But once people heard more about it and its overwhelmingly positive word of mouth, it brought more excitement towards the eventual incoming audiences. I’m not saying “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” looked too kiddy or anything like that, but I’m saying that my hype levels for the movie were not all that high.
In fact, if you look up this movie on IMDb, you’d see it has three directors, the writing credits, on the surface, makes the movie come off as if it is a factory product with eight people. LUCKILY, that’s not really the case when it comes to the movie’s script, because only two people wrote “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the rest just have to do with the comics (Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, etc.). Then again, I could be getting ahead of myself because after all, “Airplane” has three directors and many people seem to consider that film an all-time classic. This is doesn’t even mention the fact that for two of the three directors, this is actually their directorial debut. They’ve done other work when it comes to film, but directing is not on their list until now. All the doubts that I had about this movie, let me just tell you right now, forget em. F*ck em. Screw em. Throw em away. This movie. Is. WILD.
Let’s be real here, I love Spider-Man. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time, and when it comes to theatrical releases, this might be the most fun I’ve had watching a “Spider-Man” film since 2004’s “Spider-Man 2.” Yeeeah, I’ll be honest, “Homecoming” was kind of wasted. And I’ll also be honest, when it comes to comic book movies this year, this personally might rival “Infinity War,” which says something.
If you have ever read my review for “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” I manage to compare my experience watching that movie, which was ultimately mediocre, to what it could have been like as a ten year old kid. I said if I were a ten year old kid, there’s a chance I’d enjoy it more than I did watching it as an adult. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” made me unleash my inner child and reminded me of how awesome the character is.
Speaking of awesome, let’s talk about Miles Morales. I thought the depth provided to this character made deeply me care about him. I thought his story was fantastic, I related to his character in a way that is almost similar to how I relate to Peter Parker as a main character in numerous other “Spider-Man” stories. In this movie, Morales is a teenager in boarding school, who eventually finds a girl he likes, but he doesn’t know how to control himself around her. I thought when it comes to playing “Spider-Man” himself, Morales is certainly worthy.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Peter Parker. We’ve seen Peter Parker at various ages on screen, we’ve seen him in college, in high school, and in this movie, he seems to be in his late twenties. We’ve also seen a side to Peter Parker we’ve never seen before… He’s fat. If you have ever watched “Impractical Jokers” and seen the episode where Joe becomes a superhero per se, this is pretty much a Spider-Man-esque version of that. I partially say that because Joe’s superhero name lives up to his own physique, specifically “Captain Fatbelly.”
When it comes to Marvel movies, I have no problem whatsoever with pointing out some occasional lackluster villains. But this is a Sony movie, and not in the MCU, so that doesn’t even matter here! There are a couple of antagonists in the film, most notably Doc Ock and Kingpin. BOTH OF THEM ARE AWESOME! I won’t go into it, but be sure to lookout for Doc Ock’s ultimate reveal, it is a crowd pleaser. As for Kingpin, he not only looks intimidating, he knows how to put up a fight. The chemistry between him, his cronies, and even Morales, are all things of beauty when it comes to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
On the topic of Morales and Kingpin, there’s this one fight they get into towards the end of the movie, it is perhaps one of the flashiest, wackiest, and balls to the wall action sequences I’ve ever witnessed out of a comic book movie. In fact, going back to my skepticisms, one of the doubts I had when it comes to “Spider-Verse” is the animation style. When I saw the teaser, I was like, did we just reenter the stone age? But the more I saw, the more I realized it was supposed to look like a comic book on the big screen. Granted, there are already a lot of films that take a comic book-like animation style, but I don’t recall a film like this that got a theatrical release or perhaps resembled quality as much as “Spider-Verse.” Not only did the comic book animation style benefit the movie as a delightful quirk, but it also helped at poking fun at comic books themselves. You would occasionally see random text boxes to establish thoughts going on in someone’s head or a location, sometimes when Spidey’s swinging, you’d see the word “Thwip” pop up, and speaking of things that pop up, the same can also be said for when Spider-Man is shouting “WOOOOOOOO!” It almost reminds me of “Pixels” when the characters “scored points” for doing something they need to do to get their mission done.
Another little spark of kudos has to go to the writing. This movie is written by Phil Lord, who also wrote “The LEGO Movie,” one of the funniest animations I’ve ever seen. Speaking of Lord, he also co-directed “22 Jump Street,” a movie which the other screenwriter, Rodney Rothman, happened to pen. Aside from those comic book quirks this movie has a fetish for showing off, the film manages to be humorous, charming, shocking, and even a tad emotional. Even the idea for this movie was surprisingly grand. The execution of this multiverse concept was done with absolute brilliance. I was able to buy into all of these Spider-people being who they are, and some of them come off as just plain funny. There’s a film noir style Spider-Man, there’s an anime style Spider-Man, there’s even a Spider-Pig!
“Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig. / Does whatever a Spider-Pig does. / Can he swing / from a web? No he can’t, / He’s a Pig. / Look out! / He is the Spider-Pig. -Homer Simpson
OK, well, technically he’s referred to as “Spider-Ham,” but who cares?
There is not really much else I’d want to say when it comes to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” but one thing I will say, is that there’s a possibility, that this movie could be a game changer. There has been an over-saturation of comic book based films and superhero movies put out on the big screen. However, I cannot recall the last time I saw one like this. For one thing, most of the comic book-based work we are getting today happens to be done in live-action. Also, this could potentially bring an increase of comic book-like superhero flicks. Maybe Disney would happen to get in on the action and do separate universes for heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange. Part of me also wonders since Warner Brothers/DC has no plans currently to do another “Superman” movie with Henry Cavill, if they want to do an animated “Superman” film in this sort of style at some point. Based on the box office, the quality of this film, and perhaps the spark that I BELIEVE it would make in young, aspiring filmmakers/animators, this genre only has potential to grow from this point. The comic book and superhero genre in film is already beyond enormous, and while part of me thinks sometimes that it is getting too big, there’s another part of me that would love to see a little more of this style of filmmaking. And it’s clear that people want to take this on. After all, it was recently announced that Sony is gonna try doing a female spinoff to this film. I don’t know the full details, but I’m hearing Gwen Stacy is going to be playing a significant role.
In the end, this is not just a fantastic comic book movie, but it’s also a great movie by itself. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a well animated, weird, and nicely done film. It reminds me of why I love “Spider-Man” as a character, and when it comes to theater experiences, this is definitely one of the best I had this year. I saw this in IMAX, and the sound for this movie is beyond crazy. The scenes with intense action or fast-paced effects almost made me bend over in awe. I want to say one thing about this movie. Even though this movie is animated, I wouldn’t say it is entirely kid-friendly. To me, it’s almost like a Pixar film. It’s a film that families can enjoy, it’s a film that kids and adults alike can find interesting. The jokes are smart, the animation is beautiful, and I don’t think there’s one single moment in the film that I think is specifically meant to cater to children. Also, another thing I will say is that this film is one of the wildest, most wicked things I’ve seen in a while. I cannot recall the last time I saw an animated movie that made me think a part of me was on acid for some of the runtime. I loved “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” not only is it one of my favorite Spidey films, but also one of favorite animations of the year! I’m gonna give “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” a 9/10. Sure, I called this movie a game changer, and yeah, it is one of my favorite “Spider-Man” movies, but as far as replay value goes, I think there are a couple other films that I’d rather watch more than this one this year. As a contribution to film and how it could revolutionize the game, this might be a 10/10, but for my overall verdict, I’d give a 9/10. That’s just me though. Also, stay until the end of the credits, because there is a GREAT end credits scene! Thanks for reading this review! If you thought this was going to be the last 2018 comic book movie I’d review, you thought wrong. Next week is the release of “Aquaman.” I have no set date as to when I’m seeing that, but I do have my sights set on seeing the film as soon as possible. I might go see a movie or two before, because I now have the time to do so, and with courtesy to AMC’s $5 Ticket Tuesday, some may argue that I have the money to do so as well. Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or email so you stay tuned and swing on by for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse?” What did you think about it? Or, if Spider-Man were real, who or what would be your preferred vision of the masked hero? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!