More of a work of art than a super-hero movie, the animated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” may be the finest Spidey movie yet.
I admit that I rolled my eyes when I heard about this production. “Just what we need — another Spider-Man movie,” I thought.
I was wrong. With its vibrant animation and its nod to comics/illustrated novels, right down to the text and the way illustrations are framed, it’s a unique and engaging way to create opportunities to expand the Spider-Man universe into, well, an infinity of dimensions.
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore, “Dope”) is a teen-ager who lives with his parents in a loving home. His father Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry) is a no-nonsense dad who wants the best for his son, who reluctantly attends a private school. Jefferson, not so incidentally, is not a fan of Spider-Man, whom he considers to be a vigilante.
One day, when Miles is with his Uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”) he is bitten by a spider. Suddenly, Miles finds himself with super-powers that include walking on walls and that famous “Spidey sense.”
He ends up meeting Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) from another universe after the super-villain Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) uses a weapon that alters dimensions.
They’re not the only web-slingers on hand. From all kinds of dimensions comes the arrival of other spider-folk, including Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld,) Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) and Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage).
This is a rollicking, eye-popping roller-coaster of an adventure that’s truly a comic book come to life (I love the way we can see the Spidey tingle, and the way dialogue boxes are inserted into the action).
The script has clever dialogue sprinkled with the wiseacre humor we’ve come to expect from a Spider-Man film, character development that’s as satisfying as in a live-action flick (the relationships, including the one between Miles and his father, are complex and believable), all set to a terrific soundtrack with the likes of DJ Khalil and Beau Young Prince.
You’ll also hear familiar voices, with Lily Tomlin as Aunt May and Kathryn Hahn as Dr. Olivia Octavius (you guessed it.) I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say you’ll see a very recognizable, and much beloved, face in a cameo and in a credits tribute.
I saw this in a D-Box seat, which shudders and sways along with the action and produced even more of a thrill ride than the visuals did.
Speaking of credits: Yes, there’s a stinger (extra scene) at the end that will delight fans — as will the rest of this top-notch film that will delight audiences of all ages.