Changing The Game: Our Review of ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - December 13, 2018
Changing The Game: Our Review of ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse’

When you can’t change the player, you almost certainly have to change the game.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse is just one of those cinematic experiences that slaps you upside the head and makes for one the most visually engaging, funny and jaw dropping movies of the year, animated or otherwise.

It’s a standard existence for Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) going about his usual routine looking for his path as a young adult coming up in the world.  However, Brooklyn is in mourning as Spider-Man has just died trying to stop the latest criminal plan from the Kingpin (aka Wilson Fisk) (Liev Schreiber).  Alternate dimensions are beginning to collide putting all of reality at risk, but Miles quickly learns that not only is there more than one radioactive spider out there, and there’s more than person who can don the mask of Spider-Man.

In this job you do hope to find those game changing kind of movies, but you certainly don’t expect them here.  Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse is quite simply one of the most joyous movie experiences that you’ll ever be fortunate enough to take in on the big screen.  It captures the essence of the stories and allows it to transcend into something wholly universe, human and really funny.

Movies like this can and do often have a tendency to have a few too many cooks in the kitchen but in this instance I would say that it actually works to its benefit.

The directing team of Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman all come from a wide variety of backgrounds and they all came into play for this special concoction of a film.  While it’s obviously a stunning animated effort unlike we’ve seen in quite some time, to just call this an animated movie would be underselling it.  This is the first time (outside of the Disney/Pixar umbrella) that we’ve seen something like this hit all the right buttons from beginning to end.  It’s a film to be enjoyed by every age and now by people of different colour, race and orientation as well, in the true Marvel spirit this may very well be the one Spider-Man movie that really does capture the essence of the stories that Stan Lee was trying to tell for so many years.  It looks great with some crazy action pieces that never sacrifice on character or the story that is trying to be told and lacing it with a classic hip-hop soundtrack actually gives it a sense of location and vibrancy that can often get lost in animated films.

Screenwriter Phil Lord truly does tap into the material with a shocking ease to make something so incredibly universal.  The plight of a young adult looking for a place to make his mark on society is one that goes across ethnic and gender lines and he captures it all with ease.  Lord sets the tone that anyone can be a hero and that simply couldn’t be truer when the alternate universe Spidey’s come into play.

Jake Johnson as a middle aged Spidey who had kind of given up on life is an absolute hoot and makes for a great fulcrum in this story as a polar opposite to Miles who has no idea what he is doing and has just started out in life.  They have a great dynamic together and they deliver such a great message about the life lessons that come at us from all walks of life.  As all the other Spidey’s and various variations from the norm in the Spider-Man universe come at us we are constantly amazed and refreshed thanks to a stellar voice cast and a few pleasant role reversals which make the entire experience so entertaining that you won’t be able to help be grinning from ear to ear when you leave the theatre (and be SURE to stay for the post credits sequence).

This certainly isn’t your parents Spider-Man; and in fact Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse is all of the Spidey’s that we’ve had over the years all rolled into one.  It’s what brings such refreshing kinetic energy to the story and it’s why it all works so bloody well.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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