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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review

By Matthew Passantino

Nth Time’s a Charm

If you groaned at the thought of another “Spider-Man” movie, fear not because you weren’t alone. How many times can one character be rebooted or reimagined before it becomes insufferable? Apparently we aren’t there yet, because “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Everyone’s history with the movies about our favorite neighborhood webslinger differs. Sam Raimi’s trilogy has its diehard fans (despite only producing one truly great film) and the Andrew Garfield-led “The Amazing Spider-Man” movies were cut short when they didn’t meet expectations (the first one is good!). Last year, Jon Watts’ “Spider-Man: Homecoming” found Tom Holland in the title role, providing a fun, well-rounded look at the character, which had been missing for a while.

But it’s time for a new variation on the story, and it’s hard to complain when it’s this entertaining. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” follows Miles Morales (Shameik Moore, “Dope“), who is navigating the hardships of being a teenager like everyone else. He wants to fit in at school, clashes with his overprotective police officer father (Brian Tyree Henry, “Crown Heights“) and mother (Luna Lauren Valez, Dexter) and finds solace creating graffiti art with his uncle (Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”).


One day while escaping the world with his uncle, Miles is bitten by a spider; but, as we know, this is no ordinary spider. Miles begins sticking to everything he touches (often blaming it on puberty) and exerting an abnormal amount of strength. What do you know? He’s Spider-Man.

Up to this point, we’ve seen this all before, but “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” shakes things up by throwing in a multi-dimensional angle that introduces a variety of Spider-Man characters, including Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson, New Girl), a washed-up and jaded shadow of his former self. He reluctantly takes Miles under his wing and sort-of teaches him the ropes, helping him navigate through the pitfalls and expectations of putting on the suit. Together, they team up to thwart the nefarious plan of baddie Kingpin (Live Schreiber, “Isle of Dogs“).

Amidst its origin story trappings and master-apprentice plotline, directors Bob Perichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman keep things lively and new, even in familiar terrain. Working from a script by Rothman and Phil Lord, the movie features Lord’s self-referential humor that worked so well in the “Jump Street” films, only this time aimed at a younger audience (he also did “The Lego Movie,” which didn’t always work for me). Told through a visually arresting comic book design, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is high-spirited throughout, only stalling a bit towards the end and losing some momentum.

Without turning this into a State of the Union on comic book and superhero movies, it’s nice to see a movie like this try to shake things up, without suffocating itself in the doom-and-gloom that often comes with the territory. Any movie where the lead character puts on some ridiculous costume and flies or swings around is inherently ridiculous and meant to be fun, and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” knows to do just that.

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