“It’s a no on the cape,” says Peter B. Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson). “I think it’s cool,” replies Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). “Spider-Man doesn’t wear a cape,” explains Parker who’s training Morales to be the new Spider-Man in his world while trying to get back to his own in the animated superhero adventure film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Miles Morales is a smart teenager who isn’t comfortable in his new school, is having trouble communicating with his dad (a police officer), and is starting to worry about who he’s supposed to grow up to be in the world. One night when Miles sneaks out of his boarding school to spend time with his Uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali), Miles is…wait for it, you’ve heard this story before…bitten by a radioactive spider. The next day Miles begins to experience his new powers which, understandably, freak him out. The new spidey powers also end up sabotaging poor Miles while he’s trying to flirt with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), the new girl in school.
Things get even worse for Miles when he witnesses a murder committed by the crime boss Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) and is spotted observing the attack. On the run and struggling with his new powers, Miles accidentally runs into Spider-Man…but it’s a Spider-Man from another dimension.
Peter B. Parker reluctantly agrees to mentor Miles and teach him to use his powers. With Miles’ assistance, Peter’s ready to fight Kingpin and stop him from using the Collider, a machine that can not only open a portal to other dimensions but is also capable of destroying the universe. Peter knows it works because Kingpin’s test of the device is how he got sucked into Miles’ world in the first place.
The unlikely duo set out to stop Kingpin and, hopefully, use the Collider to send Parker back home once the heroic job is done.
Vibrant, colorful, and strikingly original for a superhero film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse is an animated movie jam-packed with action, humor, and even a little heart. The 2018 animated feature is a superb take on the Spider-Man universe that’s brought to life by an excellent voice cast. There’s the classic web-slinging, smart aleck hero, the villains he must fight, and an intelligent, unsure-yet-determined young man who’s destined to become a crime-fighting superhero.
The film’s animation is visually impressive and is striking on a big screen. However, it’s the script that’s the biggest surprise. The writing’s sharp and the dialogue is witty. The characters are interesting and there’s plenty of humor to keep all demographics entertained.
The voice talents do an incredible job making these characters feel real. Jake Johnson is perhaps the best voice of an animated Peter Parker/Spider-Man since Paul Soles in the 1960s television cartoon Spider-Man (the cartoon with the iconic theme song). Shameik Moore brings out Miles’ good heart as well as his self-doubt in becoming a hero. Hailee Steinfeld is perfect as the voice of Gwen Stacy, Miles’ new friend and Spider-Woman whose help the guys will need to beat Kingpin.
With almost non-stop action, great voice performances, dazzling animation, and an original plot, Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse is the most entertaining animated film of 2018.
MPAA Rating: PG for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language
Running Time: 100 minutes
Release Date: December 14, 2018
Directed By: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman
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