Let me put it this way: Spider-Verse is so good, it made me like a Post Malone song.
No small achievement, that. Spider-Verse actually calls into question why we have any live action films of comic book movies. Because in many ways, animation can do it so much better.
Into the Spider-Verse actually seems to take place in the same universe as our favorite live action one: Tobey Maguire. (Just dare to disagree). Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is a young Brooklynite with a gift for art, a love of music, and a policeman father making him go to a new preppy school. Like all young New Yorkers, Morales loves Spider-Man, so it’s kind of surprising that when he gets bit by a spider, he brushes it off. But that spider was the same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker, only from an alternate universe.
Now with growing spider powers, Miles retraces his steps and discovers that Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) has built a particle accelerator to explore alternate universes in an attempt to bring back his dead wife and son. Miles watches as MINOR SPOILER ALERT, Spider-Man dies trying to stop it, only succeeding in delaying it. He also caused the accelerator to suck in Spider-people from their universes into Miles’. Now, they all have to work together to stop the device from destroying New York and get them back to their proper dimensions.
There are so many amazing aspects of this movie it’s hard to know where to begin. I guess first is the animation. What a beautiful style and save for in your favorite comic books, you haven’t seen anything like this before. They purposely blurred images in the foreground and background to give it a more “real” feel. The action is quick and frenetic yet still somehow easy to follow. With the same filmmakers from the Lego Movie and the Lego Batman Movie, I’d expect nothing less. Also, the angles! True cinematographers made this movie because some of the shots are nothing less than heavenly. There’s a fight scene between at least 8(!) characters inside a cramped suburban house that should be hard to follow but is in fact a highlight of the movie.
The comedic star of the film is Peter B. Parker – basically our Spider-Man but older, sadder, more jaded, divorced, and out of shape. Played amazingly by Jake Johnson, the interactions between him and Miles drive most of the humor in the film. I could not stop laughing. “Step 3: Review my personal biases” – top ten line of the year. While only he and Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) get any real sort of character treatment, the rest of the spider-cast gets some fun moments – especially Spider-Ham.
How they got this crazy story together, kept it coherent, and made it one of the funniest movies of the year is beyond me. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are animation gods and fuck Solo and Disney for kicking them off that project. Into the Spider-Verse stays true to what makes Spider-Man everyone’s favorite hero. The weight of responsibility on young shoulders. The wisecracks. The sacrifice and pain. The always get up and try again. And above all the inherent belief in the goodness of people, even bad people. This is the best Spider-Man movie, hands down.
Oh, also, the soundtrack is amazing and is a perfect example of how to use music in your film.
4 out of 4 stars.