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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review

We attended an event as a guest of Sony

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

“With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility”. You don’t need to be a Spidey fanatic to know those timeless words. Ever since early days of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, those very first adventures with Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy, something stuck with us and never failed to impress or inspire. Spider-Man speaks to us all, and through the countless adventures in comic books, video games, and film series, we are still barely discovering the true power and significance of what Lee and Ditko started all those years ago. It’s more than a superhero story, and something that the new film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse takes to heart in ways you can’t possibly imagine.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

The film is the “ultimate” game changer, breaking the mold in every category in “amazing” and “spectacular” ways. It’s an animated feature that looks, feels, and dares to be something more, implementing a fluid and dazzling mixture of hand drawn and computer generated animation. From start to finish, it’s a masterpiece in the truest sense of the word, bringing the world of comics to life in a way that allows the viewer to take an active role in the adventure, pulling you into the very fabric of the Spider-Verse. If you have ever wanted to actually live on the panels of your favorite book, this is the closest thing that film has ever done to make that a reality. It’s truly groundbreaking. Yet, the film is more than action and spectacle. Into the Spider-Verse creates a world that is just as real as it is animated, featuring elements that every demographic can really connect with on a personal level. This isn’t your average superhero flick, nor does it require you to be a Spider-Man aficionado. What we get is something else entirely, and it all comes down to one character, Miles Morales.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

Morales is a plucky, creative, and somewhat rebellious teen, caught up in the world around him, and just like any other teenager, a bit in over his head. What makes him significant though, is how down to earth he is, how real he feels, and how imperfect he can be. He’s not overtly crafty and rich like Tony Stark, overtly intelligent like Bruce Banner, or super strong like Thor. He’s like the rest of us, occasionally tripping over what life has in store, doing his best to make the most of what he has to get through what life throws at him. Like Peter Parker, he is tossed into a world unknown, and excels as a character because he stays grounded despite gaining exceptional abilities. He also proves that anyone can make a difference, and though it may sound cliche, that’s one of the most valuable lessons the entire Spider-Man mythos has to teach us. It has come in many forms, through quotes from Stan Lee himself to nuggets of wisdom from Aunt May. “There’s a hero in all of us…that keeps us honest…gives us strength…makes us noble”. That quote from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 couldn’t describe this film’s intent any better. That idea lives on through Miles’ journey, giving us all a solid reminder that it isn’t super powers that make a hero, but the strength of the person’s character. Morales is the ray of hope we all need right now.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

Shameik Moore delivers a spectacular performance, bringing all together with the help of Jake Johnson’s Peter B. Parker. The two make an incredible team, with a chemistry that is unparalleled. They are really the heart and soul of this picture, opening the door to the right mix of humor and intensity. Batman and Robin may be known as the Dynamic Duo, but these two hit it out of the park, giving the caped DC characters a real run for their money. They aren’t alone though, as the entire cast sticks the landing and gives you touching performances that stay with you when the credits role. Hailee Steinfeld, Nicholas Cage, Kimiko Glenn, just the tip of the iceberg, all each getting just enough amount of screentime to really draw you in without taking you to far off the main storyline. For a film that has a runtime of 117 minutes, it hits all the points it needs, not leaving out anything while still teasing you enough to beg for more.

The film does a great job of giving everyone a little bit of what they want. True Spider fans will get plenty of easter eggs, and not just from the most recent version of Spidey, but elements of every Spider-Man iteration, including some more hilarious jabs at some of the franchise’s less glamorous and emo moments. Video game fans will get a little treasure at the end of the film, and of course, there’s an incredibly touching Stan Lee cameo.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

Still, this film is made for everyone, not just the comic book nerds. Family holds a strong thread throughout the picture, giving parents so much to take home with through Miles’ relationship with his parents and uncle. Older viewers can also see how you don’t have to be young and graceful to save the day. Everyone gets to take part in the fun, and that’s really what makes this film transcend good and straight into phenomenal. This is truly the Spider-Man film we all deserve, not asking too much from its audience, and creating a simple and profound message that brings us back again and again for an encore. Stan Lee would be proud: his legacy proudly living on in new form and letting us all know, anyone can wear the mask. Make sure to take that leap of faith and keep your head up. This is just the beginning, and we are all in this together.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

Make sure to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse when it releases on the big screen December 14th. Learn more about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse online, Facebook and Twitter.

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