With seven Spider-man movies released in the last 16 years, and three reboots, it would be understandable if audiences were finding themselves fatigued with the crawling crusader. However, the creative minds behind Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse manage to keep things fresh with a wildly inventive, humorous, and heart-filled story that fans will be sure to enjoy.
Based on the fan favorite comic, the newest Spider-man features an all new protagonist, young Myles Morales (Shameik Moore, perfectly cast after his stunning turn in Dope) a biracial kid from Brooklyn. After getting bit by a radioactive spider he assumes the superpowers of Spider-man. It isn’t long that Morales discovers he’s only one Spider-man of many. With the use of a dimension melding machine the films primary villain, the gargantuan “Kingpin,” (Liev Shreber) unwittingly releases several alternate universe Spider-men/women/pigs into Morales’ universe.
From the beginning, Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse establishes itself with a heavy dose of comedy. Not from the usual sources like Spider-man’s witty one-liners and quips, but more so from the awkwardness of Myles and the aforementioned alternate universe Spider-men/women/pigs who each deserve their own introduction.
There’s the down on his luck Peter B Parker (Jake Johnson) who is an older, shapelier, and more world weary version of Peter Parker. He serves as Myles reluctant mentor, teaching him how to be the best Spider-man he can be. It’s a riot seeing Peter Parker portrayed in this manner. Gone is the boyish charm and optimism and in its place is cynicism and an oft mentioned dad bod. Of all the Spider-man alternates he has the most camera time and a character arc which helps add to the story nicely.
Gwen Stacy aka Spider-woman (Hailee Stanfeild) plays an important role as well. The screen time that her and Morales’ share is precious as bumbles and usually fails at trying to impress her. Although she eventually returns to her own universe, something tells me she and Morales will be reunited again sooner than later.
The other three exist as nothing more than pure comedy, a looney toons like pig called Spider-Ham, a anime rip off named Penni Parker who hops in her robot friend to do all her fighting and Spider-noir, a dark brooding version who burns himself just so he will be able to feel something. The nuance of the multiple universe versions of Spider-man is one of the aspects that sets it apart from the other Spider-man movies from all superhero movies for that matter.
Like its characters and all the meta humor, the films visual inventiveness is a definite strong point. It blends comic book style animation into film format making it fun to watch and quite memorable. All of these elements combine to make a film that is fun as hell and will undoubtedly be churning out many sequels in the future.