On his fourth cinematic appearance in four years, you’d think Sony would be in danger of killing their golden spider-goose. Until Kevin Fiege and the guys at Marvel Studios got the wallcrawling adventures of Peter Parker back on track, Sony had been slowly running the character into the ground with unsatisfying trilogy cappers and reboots. Hell, even Venom, their launch of a connected Spider-Man universe got critically roasted, and that was only two months ago! The spider senses were definately tingling with the arrival of an animated movie… However, as a fully paid up Spider-Fan, it gives me delirious pleasure to announce that not only is Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse NOT a horrible dumpster fire but is, in fact, one of the best Spider-Man movies EVER MADE and easily the best animated movie of that year – sorry Incredibles 2 but the Academy agreed with me…
Taking cues from the Spiderverse arc written by comic scribe Dan Slott, the movie streamlines it down to it’s finest essence. There are different multi-verses, in one, gifted student Miles Morales is struggling to fit in. A chance encounter with a pesky glowing archnid gifts him with various spider powers but there’s a catch. There’s already a Spider-Man operating in New York, there can’t be two, and more than one Spider-Man would be silly, wouldn’t it? Before you can say “walloping web-snappers” Miles is joined by 5 other spider people from 5 alternate universes thanks to gangster Wilson Fisk’s malfunctioning super-collider. However, Kingpin’s continued use of this dangerous apparatus may cause the universe to unravel so the gaggle of superheroes have to get Miles trained up in order to save existence.
Spearheaded by writer/producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the live wires behind 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie and last seen getting ejected from the Solo movie at the speed of hyperspace) the plot, while having huge potential to be a messy train wreck, is smooth as silk and moves like a bullet, hurling jokes, plot twists and wry asides like a rapid fire web shooter with impressive aim. There’s some weighty themes here to with some genuinely surprising story beats that somehow tread the familiar comic story lines while still being all shiny and new.
The voice cast are varied and fabulously perfect, with Jake Johnson’s deadbeat Peter Parker (Spidey with a paunch? Finally, a Web-Head that a 40+ gentleman like myself can relate to!) and Nic Cage’s glorious Spider-Man Noir claim the best lines.
An insane amount of props must be levelled at the truly innovative animation style, blending art reminiscent of a living breathing comic book right down to thought bubbles and the kind of “imperfect” background colouring you’d get from a 70’s issue of Marvel. There’s also a devastating level of in-jokery here, easily measuring up to, an maybe even surpassing, The Lego Batman Movie in terms of sheer geekery, let’s just say fans are well served.
There really are no bad points here I can find, not just as a Spider-Man fan but as a lover of cinema period, it’s just two hours of fantastic, funny, touching movie with one of the best after-credit stings in HISTORY.
Got kids? Take them to see it as soon as possible. Don’t got kids? See it anyway, because this is one Spider-Man who could go on for Miles…