Let me be honest: I was not looking forward to sitting down for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It’s not that I don’t like the webslinger — I do, but it seemed like an overexposed character in an animated film that probably could have skipped a theatrical release. Man, was I wrong.
Instead of scurrying to write a bad review, I find myself searching for superlatives to describe a new entry into animated-film lore. Just as Spider-Man’s release in 2002 with Tobey Maguire raised the bar for what I expect from superhero films, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse changes what I will expect from animated films in the genre.
Miles Morales (voice of Shameik Moore) is bitten by a radioactive spider and, as he is struggling to come to grips with the changes he is experiencing, comes across a long-dead Peter Parker (Jake Johnson). Only this Parker is alive, but not from Miles’ world.
Turns out there are a number of Spider-Men from a variety of alternate universes that have ended up together with Miles. From Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage) to Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) and Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) to Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), they are all working to save the world around them and all are far from their homes. It doesn’t matter who has served as that universe’s Spider-Man; they all work hard to protect the individuals in their universe.
A film that has an entirely unique look coupled with an intelligent and engaging story, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will capture viewers immediately. The visuals are unique — think of a comic book page re-created onscreen — though I found myself a little distracted at times. The special nature of the film and its experience won out over my personal distractions.
With an extra scene after the credits for old-school Spidey fans and an animated Stan Lee cameo, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse delivers the goods and then some, all while setting the genre on end and establishing a high standard for future films. Experience it for yourself, but don’t blame me if you get caught in Spidey’s web.