I never thought we’d see something like this. Let’s get right into it.
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore, Dope) is a normal kid living a semi-normal life, his mother (Luna Lauren Velez) a nurse and his father (Brian Tyree Henry) a police officer. He’s hanging out with his uncle (Mahershala Ali) when he’s bitten by a radioactive spider and given powers. He discovers Spider-Man in the midst of a battle and a giant atom collider opens up a rift in between realities, bringing a slew of Spider-People from other dimensions into ours. They must stop the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) from activating the collider again and potentially destroying all their worlds.
From other dimensions, we have an older Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), and anime-style Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn).
As a fan, this movie is a love letter to Spider-Man mythology. We’re seeing characters that had incredibly small roles in the comics. There are easter eggs and moments and echoes to what has happened in the comics, it all builds together to give us one of the truest representations of Spider-Man that we’ve ever seen. Or I guess I should say, Spider-People. Each of the dimension-hopping Spider-characters get moments to shine and all come beautifully to life.
A lot of this movie’s success will rest on its visuals, which are absolutely mind-blowing. There were moments that I couldn’t even wrap my head around what was happening on-screen. It blends animation styles and techniques to give us simultaneously a story true to the comic books yet also something pushing the boundaries of what animated movies can do. It’s fresh and unique and unlike any animated movie we’ve seen before. The colors are vibrant and pop off the screen, so definitely consider seeing this in a premium format if it’s available to you.
In terms of voice acting, it’s all done perfectly. Our lead Miles is perfectly (and surprisingly) played by Shameik Moore (known as the lead in Dope and a reoccurring role The Get Down). He somehow manages to play a convincing middle-schooler, it all works. I also am surprised to say that Jake Johnson is now one of my favorite Peter Parker renditions, albeit a very different and darker take on Parker. The other standout was Nicolas Cage, who delivered a vast amount of comedic relief as the brooding Spider-Man Noir, a detective from a black and white alternate past.
I also have to bring up the music, as this movie features some incredible stuff. It features my new favorite guilty pleasure song Sunflower by Post Malone (clip here) and a ton of other catchy songs that perfectly bring this movie to life. With this, the sound design in general is perfect. I was especially struck, for some reason, by the sounds that accompanied the villain The Prowler, which still kind of haunt me in the best of ways.
Now, all of this wouldn’t matter much if the story fell flat. Luckily, we get something really special here. It manages to make a complicated topic (parallel dimensions) easy enough to understand in a PG-rated movie. It’s got action, it’s got heart, and it takes some risks with how it plays out. It doesn’t dumb anything down, delivering a high-quality product that even children should have a blast with.
Absolutely nothing. Next.
I didn’t want to jinx it because I wanted this movie to do well. It’s risky though, taking the spotlight off of Peter Parker. What we get here far surpasses what I hoped. We get an incredible story focusing on Miles Morales, a story full of heart and action. The effects are literally unlike anything I’ve ever seen, sending you rocketing through a world that is beautiful and breathtaking. Our voice actors all do incredible work and each character has moments to truly shine. For both comic book fans and mainstream audiences, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a slam dunk and a monumental achievement.