Movie Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
PG | 1h 57min
Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
by Jason Koenigsberg
An animated Spider-Man movie is just what audiences need but did not realize. Much like Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) was a breath of fresh air for the Batman franchise, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a celebration of all things Spidey. This is a very good film for parents to take their children to. It is very inspirational with its message of finding the superhero in all of us and has a lot of heart for its characters. Spider-Verse even managed to find time to give humanity to the ruthless villain Kingpin.
The movie opens up with some funky colors and flashes over the Columbia Pictures and Marvel logos. Then a very bright and kinetic opening sequence that recaps the previous Spider-Man films. The animation style is jarring at times. It is not filmed at the standard 24 frames per second rate. Instead, it is shot at 12 frames per second so all of the characters movements look like they are off. I got used to the animation style after the first five minutes or so but still did not like the way the characters move. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of the few films that really would have benefited from the full-scale 3D I-Max treatment. It would have enhanced the images tremendously whereas the 2-dimensional format did not display the movie to its fullest potential. I cannot imagine how this movie would play on a smaller screen but I assum the impact of the experience would be hugely diminished. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has a lot of robust colorful images flying at the screen, it works as an exciting joyride for two hours.
The film is rich with noble themes about the importance of family, friendship, and the value of working together as well as believing in yourself to take a leap of faith. The humor is reminiscent of the Deadpool films minus all the raunchy bits some parts feel like they are straight out of a PG-rated Deadpool movie. The voice acting was nothing memorable. They could have cast actual voice actors or lesser known stars in some of the roles, the lone exception being Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir. This is easily the best theatrical release Cage has starred in for at least a decade. I also really loved an early action sequence with Spider-Man fighting villains in a forest outside of New York City and swinging from trees instead of skyscrapers. This is a very refreshing moment from a visually impressive film. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a solid choice for fans of the comic book hero and any parent that wants to spend a fun afternoon in the theater with their kids.