Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Take the Family to this Gem

Rating (4 out of 5)

Summary:  What a fun version of Spider-man.  “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” captures the best elements of Spider-man cartoons and comics.  Unique new Spider characters and a different cartoon style then  transforms Spider-Verse into a humorous and fun time for the family and not just another blah animated film,.  I am certain this movie will end up in my iTunes collection, and I recommend this to any family or comic nerd.  My wife would tolerate this film, which is high praise.

Plot:   Bitten by a radioactive spider, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) his spider powers.  He must learn to harness his new powers to help defeat Wilson Fisk and return all the Spidey’s to their own universe.

What I Liked:  The comic strip based art work of the move differentiates this movie from other animated films.   Notice in the picture below the whiteish dots similar to a comic book.  They used the comic strip action boxes tactically in the movie adding to the laughs.   Also, the paid homage to other cartoons/comics of looney toons and anime.   

Spider-man has always been one of the more lighthearted of the Marvel comics, and “Spider-Verse” captures and accentuates this tone.  In the theater, old and young were laughing at the movie.  A prime example, Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage) is a black and white, 1930’s type Spider-man.  There are a couple of gags about color that play laughingly well.  The concept of Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) is funny, but Spider-verse expertly brings this character to screen without seeming ridiculous.

The movie also pokes fun at the Spider-man lore itself and then actually leverages it.  They made fun of the “great power comes great responsibility line”.  The takes on Mary Jane and Aunt May were new and interesting.  I liked the Spidey-cave.

What I Didn’t Like:  Some story elements were too convenient. For example, the female Spidey, Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) transversed  not only through a dimension but time.  To survive she just happened to become a student at Miles’s school.  Apparently, she was the only one who went back through time. 

Wilson Fisk’s (Liev Schreiber) didn’t come across as pure evil.  His goal in creating the multiverse device was to recover of his wife and son, who had died.  While this is a misguided pursuit, we want Wilson Fisk to be sinister and dark.  A more criminal pursuit would have also provided a better back drop to how Fisk corrupted Mile’s Uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali).   

Just under two hours long there were a couple of portions where the movie slowed and the pace fell off.  I understood where we were with the story, I could feel myself thinking, alright let’s go now to the big battle.