The winner of the “Best Motion Picture – Animated,” category at the 2019 Golden Globes, the front-runner for “Best Animated Picture,” at the upcoming Academy Awards and a movie that boasts a 97 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes is a revolutionary picture with an above average plot.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” is a 2018 animated superhero film directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rotham. Centering around a time warping event that causes multiple versions of the Spider-Man character to meet in one universe, the film starring vocal performances by Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson and Hailee Steinfeld features an above average superhero origin story about Miles Morales gaining his powers and teaming up with the other Spider-Men (and women, and animals) to stop a world ending event.
The first thing that strikes you is the revolutionary animation style. So good that Sony Pictures Animation is attempting to copyright it, the animation style reproduces a comic book style image to a T. Like turning the pages of a comic book, the style is incredibly stylized to appear as though the movie is turning the pages of a comic book, and the style is captivating enough to entertain lovers of film the entire two-hour run-time alone.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” is the first animated feature film in the Spider-Man universe, and it is able to stay away from the classic Spider-Man origin story tropes fans have seen multiple times in the last 15 years. There is no Uncle Ben death scene, and the usual villains related to the lead character don’t make an appearance just yet. The plot decides to go into a more expansive direction.
Besides the expected strong performances by the lead characters, two supporting characters steal the show while they’re on screen. John Mulaney as Peter Porker/Spider-Ham is a welcomed comedic relief character who takes jabs at himself and his presence in the film throughout, providing a smile during some heavier sequences.
However, the character that brought the biggest smile to my face while watching “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” is none other than Nicolas Cage portraying Peter Parker/Spider-Man Noir. The black-and-white neo noir version of the character portrayed by the “Mandy,” actor was shocking and welcomed, as the level of levity in the movie increased dramatically. While Cage is constantly plagued by memes and critiques of his acting style, he is increasingly underrated and provides a solid performance in his supporting role.
The musical accompaniment in this film deserves praise as well. With original tracks from the likes of popular hip-hop artist Post Malone, and a unique high energy score, the film’s style is elevated by its music which make it feel like a modern two hour music video telling the story of Peter Parker.
In contrast, where this film struggles is in the third and final act. The first two acts deliver a lot of character development and emotionally heavy sequences, but the final act throws a bit too much at the viewer from a visual standpoint. A recent film that struggles with an overabundance of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) in the final act of an otherwise great film is in 2017’s “Wonder Woman.”
And not to diminish the film, but the character of Spider-Man has been used to death in film, TV and pop culture the past 15 years. And while this movie is a fresh take on the character, with another appearance by the character set to take place in live action in a few months, the character could do with some time away from the spotlight.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” is a fresh take on one of the most influential comic book characters of all time and is easily one of the best animated features to come out in 2018. While the character has been depicted in abundance over the past decade-and-a-half, more entries are welcomed in this franchise if they can continue to deliver more fresh and unique takes on the character.
My final rating for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” is a 9/10.