'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' - Movie Review

I was sick of Peter Parker by the time we got to the second Tobey McGuire movie. I thought they did a better job with the first (not the second!) Andrew Garfield movie, and they also did a good job with Tom Holland ... but I'm sick to death of the Uncle Ben thing and "with great power comes great responsibility" because I'd seen Spider-Man's origin story dozens of times in the comics before I ever saw the movies. So I was a little shaky on this one, but it looked like they were taking a very different approach.

"Different" doesn't begin to cover it: even given the liberties we take for granted in an animated film, this is still frenetic, absurd, and surreal. And yet it totally works. Among the glowing reviews, there were a number that said things like "they've really managed to bring the look and sensibility of a comic book to the screen." Sure, whatever, I thought. But they really did. It's not a straight lift, although they do use framing and split up the screen sometimes. It's a magnificently crazy and beautiful experience that gives you the feel of comic books while bringing the strengths of film as well.

Our main character is Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), half African-American and half Dominican, living in New York. By (admittedly very wild) coincidence, he's bitten by a radioactive spider shortly before witnessing the death of Peter Parker/Spiderman. This is tied in with Wilson Fisk/Kingpin creating a tear between multiple dimensions that sucks several Spider-beings into Miles' dimension. Yup, sounds completely ludicrous when you write it out. But it's a comic book, and they absolutely make it work. One of the best movies of the year.

The power behind the throne here - producing, writing, and driving this to higher levels of surreality - were Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who created the equally brilliantly insane "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," and the first "Lego Movie." That's a pair worth watching.