Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the Spider-Man origin story we needed. It doesn’t waste your time rehashing backstory we already know—even though it brings together Spideys from around the multi-verse, we don’t have to see fifty-eleven versions of Uncle Ben’s death—and that already makes it the best Spider-Man film.
While we have multiple Peters (plus Gwen and Peni), this is straight up a Miles Morales story. All of the Spideys have their personalities intact and lifted straight from their respective stories (some well-developed than others), but Shameik Moore’s (Dope; The Get Down) Miles is the one we watch develop throughout the film. We see him struggle under the strictness of his police officer dad while admiring and making art with his “cool” uncle Aaron.
Figuring out his powers doesn‘t come naturally to him. And while he effortlessly codeswitches and slips in and out of Spanish naturally — without subtitles because writer Phil Lord wanted to drive home that being Puerto Rican was just as big a part of Miles as his Blackness and his New Yorkness is — he’s still a regular teenager who has problems talking to girls and fitting in with his new classmates. Miles’ transition from stressed out kid to superhero is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. My showing erupted in applause once he appeared in his costume.
One of the movie’s biggest strengths is the way it blends the different art styles of the various Spideys. Miles comes from a CGI world and yet Peni Parker (who is an anime) and Peter Porker (from a cartoon-y universe with anthromorphic animals) seem to fit right in. It even manages to make the Deadpool-esque narration boxes not look cheesy when switching to sequential art. The flashing glitches that occur when things are in the wrong dimension is an interesting-loooking effect, but bothered my eyes a bit (so don’t take your photosensitive friends).
The soundtrack slaps, which was surprising as it was filled with a long list of artists I dislike. Yet I found myself nodding to the beat in the theater and they filled in dialogue-free spots nicely. And if you just can’t bring yourself to listen to Jaden Smith or Post Malone—completely understandable—just give Vince Staples’ “Home” a spin on Spotify.
Into the Spider-Verse is a visually stunning movie with a great cast and the best –and saddest– Stan Lee cameo yet. It balances comedy and drama well with a slew of Easter eggs for observant fans to catch. 5/5 SpiderCaves.