SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER VERSE – A Review by Gadi Elkon

“Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. Spider-Man™: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.”

Here is my review of Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse.

Mark Millar’s “Old Man Logan” take on Wolverine was molded by James Mangold to become the best Wolverine movie.  Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have taken the Miles Morales Spidey tale and given us the best Spider-Man film.  The more expansive visions of our heroes are where we truly learn to understand who they are and what they are about. The sense of humor, the choice of animation, the incredible group of voice talent, the sweet Stan Lee goodbye, and the musical pacing all add up to pure joy.  There isn’t a moment in the film that you aren’t fully invested and the story holds up to any Marvel movie.  The Miles Morales everyman story is an ideal incarnation of today’s world and the possibilities of anyone being able to wear the mask is the perfect message.  Race, gender and even animal species are not important in the spider-verse.  The message of the film should resonate with anyone and everyone and it’s that powerful connection that makes this so damn good.

Shameik Moore’s innocent portrayal of Miles is such a great contrast to the regular arrogance we see in both regular Spider men (Jake Johnson and Chris Pine).  Hailee Steinfield stands out as the most viable “other” spider person from the spider verse.  Though Nicholas Cage’s 50’s noir Spidey does have some of the more adult gaffes in the film.  But like any Marvel film the villains are SUPER important.  Liev Schreiber’s deep-voiced Wilson Fisk and Kathryn Hahn’s Doc Ock are perfectly cast, but the real scene stealer is Mahershala Ali’s Uncle Aaron.  The twist on the Uncle Ben story is easily the most poignant element of the film and the eventual fate of Uncle Aaron is handled flawlessly.  The Spider-verse isn’t just a new telling of an old tale, but it is completely original and far reaching in the marvel universe.  The repeated origin tales are central to the plot of this movie and that repetition is so well handled.  The film doesn’t seem to hold a real flaw in the plot structure.  The casting choices fit so well.  Overall it’s hard to not realize this is one of the year’s real gems.

The pacing of the film is connected so well to the musical score and soundtrack choices that you are never bored.  The film has a goofy nature at times and quickly becomes heartfelt before being thrust into full adrealaine pumping excitement.  The fearful elements are not to adult to scare the young viewers but never did I feel like I was watching just a kids’ movie.  An ability to be so connecting to kids and adults is rarely accomplished.  Honestly the only film that seems to share that ability is Disney’s Lion King.  I know there is no comparing the two films.  But in tackling the ability to resonate to everyone this film shares the Lion King mantra of being seen by everything the sun touches.  And just as we were given our Simba to believe in, the Spider-Verse proudly hoists Miles Morales before our eyes.  This Latino/African-American kiddo is our complete voice of the future of safety.  I don’t think we could have been left in better web hands.

Don’t forget to stay through the credits for a special nod to Stan.

For more information:  Spider-Man:  Into The Spider Verse

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Rated PG
Selig Rating A
Running Time 1hr 57min
Animation, Action, Adventure
Out now in Theaters
Starring:  Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, Zoe Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicholas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Chris Pine, Liev Schreiber
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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