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Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is One of the Best Superhero Movies of All-Time

Spider-man Into the Spiderverse
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Animation

Written by Tom Moore

If you ask damn near anyone who their favorite superhero is, it’s a pretty safe bet that many people would probably say Spider-Man. He’s gotten his own movies, acclaim, love, and an okay-looking Popsicle that makes him more beloved than the rest. Many comic book lovers cite Peter Parker’s transformation into the web-slinger superhero to be both inspiriting and relatable due to it happening in his teenage years and the phrase that champions his entire career: “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility.” However, many people might not even be aware that there’s way more Spider-Men and Women that are now given spotlights of their own and have gained an amazing following of their own.

All of this is truly what makes Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse such an incredibly important film. For the first time ever on the big screen, we not only get the introduction to a new wearer of the mask, Miles Morales (Shamiek Moore), but actually witness the true death of Peter Parker (Chris Pine).

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, I can’t believe he just spoiled that Peter Parker died.” Look, it’s been in the trailers and it’s from the comics, so you honestly should just see it coming. Not to mention, knowing this truly minor detail doesn’t take away from its impact in the film.

The scene that definitely left me the most teary-eyed had to be the city mourning for Spider-Man and the Stan Lee cameo together. When Lee appears on-screen he has a line along the lines of: “You know, they’re never really gone.” It’s a line that feels incredibly fitting for multiple reasons. It’s fitting for Lee’s unfortunate death, the death of Spider-Man in the film, and how people are still reeling from Infinity War. It’s a moment that’s accentuated perfectly with a eulogy from Mary Jane (Zoe Kravitz) and an iconic shot of Miles with other mourners all wearing Spider-Man masks.

However, it’s time to move on as this isn’t the typical Spider-Man movie that you’re used to seeing and to take a look at the story of Miles Morales. Before Into the Spider-verse, I can’t say I actually knew much about Miles and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that. After seeing the film, though, I can say that I have great appreciation for his character and his origin story is actually unique. His story has so many moments of growth from the conversations he has with his father (Brian Tyree Henry), his realizations about who his uncle, Aaron (Mahershala Ali), actually is, and his journey to understanding his powers and what it takes to be his own Spider-Man.

His first animated journey on the big screen is spectacular and is deserving of any and every best animated movie of the year solely on the animation alone. It’s incredibly unique and makes you feel like you are in a living, breathing comic book. One of my biggest worries going into the film was that words flying across the scenes and comic book speech and thought bubbles popping up would get old quick and put a strain on my eyes.

After seeing it, however, it is crazy to me how much more engaged I felt with the material. Every time I saw little lines pop up with each knock and seeing the words “bageled” come up when Miles threw a bagel at someone made me more and more interested with everything I was seeing on-screen.

It only works better once more versions of the iconic hero come into play and each are not only given their own sound effects and score, but even their own animation style. Just the fact that I got to see Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), with a drum-filled score, Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), with a saxophone score and black and white vision, Penni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), with a clean-cut anime look and a techno score to match, and Spider-Ham (John Mullaney), who comes with  a cartoon hammer that fits in your pocket and slide-whistle sound effects, is purely spectacular in itself. In the case of Penni, Noir, and Ham, I did find them to be a little underused, but what they gave definitely made me want more for the future.

The voice cast is expertly picked as well as they each bring a unique flavor to each incarnation they are representing. This is especially true for Shamiek Moore’s performance as Miles and Jake Johnson’s performance as Peter B. Parker (yes, he is different from the original). Johnson actually brings what an older, more depressed Peter Parker would be and his story gets equal growth to Miles. Seeing the relationship between Peter and Miles grow is incredibly powerful. Neither of them feels like a side-kick in their partnership and I think that’s what makes it so special.

There was one part that kind of confused me, as a whole, and it’s not that surprising to me as I constantly feel a sense of confusion with the ideas of parallel universes in comic book stories. For me, this has always been a plot device used to just throw out the current rules and continuity and it generally never works and makes things feel more confusing for almost no reason. It’s something that makes me scared for upcoming films like Avengers: Endgame and made me not go back and watch shows like The Flash after season one. Now, I will say that I think Into the Spider-verse actually handles multiverses quite nicely and makes it simple to understand, but I do have a solid amount of questions that have left me scratching my head after watching.

So, is Aunt May supposed to be like a Madame Web surrogate? If Gwen also time-traveled while coming to Miles’ universe, why didn’t anyone else? Why didn’t any of their villains get sucked into Miles’ universe? Did the original Peter Parker know that other Spider-People existed? If the Spider-Man 2099 suit was made by Peter in his hideout, does he exist too or not?

Regardless of these questions, though, to say Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse isn’t just one of the most superior Spider-Man movies, but easily one of the best super-hero movies ever would be criminal. It’s so sophisticated in its storytelling, character development, animation, action, and web-slinging antics that it’s expected that people will now be campaigning for their favorite web-crawler to appear on the big screen. It’s easily the ultimate web-slinging joy ride and the clear winner for best animated film of the year as well as a best picture favorite for some.

Rating: 9/10

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.


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