Synopsis: Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and crosses paths with his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.
Stars: Shameik Moore, Liev Schreiber, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman
Running Length: 117 minutes
TMMM Score: (9/10)
Review: With a seemingly never-ending supply of super-hero movies either in theaters or being hyped for release, a sense of same-ness has set in. Even if the movie is entertaining when it arrives, audiences are getting hip to the fact that most of these big budget action adventures featuring various iterations of comic book heroes and heroines brought to life are just basic retreads of the same formula at their core. Every once in a while, though, a film comes along with a new vision that raises the bar for its genre, pushing against the boundaries of the typical and setting its sights on the extraordinary. In 2018, that film is surely Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
In this Spider-Man tale, Peter Parker (Chris Pine, Star Trek) takes a back seat to newcomer Miles Morales (Shameik Moore, Joyful Noise), a teen just starting in a new boarding school that finds his life changing in a major way when he’s bitten by a radioactive spider. At the same time, he becomes embroiled in a conspiracy plot by Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin (Live Schreiber, Spotlight) that fractures his reality and brings together other characters with similar spidey-senses from different dimensions. Now working with Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage, Valley Girl), Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson, The Mummy), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld, Pitch Perfect 3), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and even Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Miles will have to stop Kingpin’s nefarious plot and get his fellow Spider Men, Women, and Pigs back to their own individual universe.
Working with a script from a team that included Phil Lord (The LEGO Movie) and is filled with deep Easter eggs for hardcore devotees, directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman bring an animation style to the screen that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The first few times I saw the preview for this movie I thought I must have been missing 3D glasses because the backgrounds tended to be so blurred while the action at the forefront was so clearly defined. Turns out that’s the intended look and while it took me a bit to adjust to this bit of visual ingenuity, when my eyes settled in they were open wide so I could take in all the splendor of the action on screen.
Much like 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, Sony has done a brilliant job at resetting our expectations when it comes to our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. A dazzling animated accomplishment, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the movie that will sway you if you’ve all but written off finding anything new under the superhero sun. It’s wildly creative, savvy without limiting itself by being too specifically timely, and moves like a locomotive that’s doubled down on its coal intake. In short, it’s the best animated film I’ve seen all year and will likely find itself staying in the conversation when people speak of the cream of the comic book crop.