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Review: Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse (2018) is a Triumph For Spider-Man Fans

Spider-Man has been around a long time. He was first created in the 1960s by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and has been the flagship character of Marvel Comics. Ol' Webhead is still incredibly popular and has spawned multiple television series both animated and live-action. Movies have made billions of dollars. But something has been lost over the years.

While there have been many versions of Spider-man from a clone to Doctor Octopus the idea of changing Spider-Man from a white guy to a black guy in the movies was met with harsh backlash.

The popular idea is that Spider-Man IS Peter Parker and no one can replace him. But the new animated movie Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse (2018) challenged that idea. “Anyone can wear the mask,” Miles (Shameik Moore) says and the movie proves that it's true.

Spider-Verse takes place in an alternate reality where an Afro-Cuban boy named Miles Morales gets bitten by an unusual spider and acquires similar powers to Spider-Man. Peter Parker (Chris Pine) is killed and Miles decides to take on the role. He sets out to stop Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin from using a machine to warp reality. In the process, he accidentally brings four other spider-people into Miles universe.

Jake Johnson plays Peter B. Parker the down-and-out Spider-Man of an alternate universe. Hailee Steinfeld plays Gwen Stacy aka Spider-Woman. John Mulaney plays Peter Porker / Spider-Ham who hilariously inverts the origin by making him a spider bitten by a radioactive pig. Kimiko Glenn plays Peni Parker aka SP//dr who plays a Japanese anime girl who pilots a robot along with a spider that she shares a mental link with. Nicolas Cage plays a dark and brooding 1930s style Peter Parker based on the Spider-Man Noir comics.

The whole point of the movie is that Peter Parker is special, but being a hero is more than just a webbed red-and-blue mask. It's the heart and will to save people. Miles is a reluctant hero at first and the group is slow to accept him but, in the end, they find the will to band together. When Miles finally loses his dime-store Spider-Man costume and makes the costume his own you'll cheer.

Every character has its own distinct personality and they're all fun. Spider-Woman is sassy and brash. Spider-Pig is hilarious. Spider-Man Noir is unintentionally fun with his Bogart style and outdated slang. Peni Parker is just fun and, while I have no idea what she's saying, has a gusto that makes you root for her. While the characterization is thin for everyone but Miles and Peter B. Parker, there's enough fun in the performances to make it enjoyable.

Where the movie really stands out is the animation. It's smooth and polished while moving from a comic book style to hyper-realistic without missing a beat. The direction by Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey pops and the script by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman is marvelously intricate and expertly plotted. The twists and turns are unexpected even for those familiar with the comics.

Also a stand-out is the pulse-pounding soundtrack by multi-BAFTA nominated composer Daniel Pemberton. Throughout the movie songs by Juice WRLD, Post Malone, Ski Mask the Slump God, Lil Wayne and Ty Dolla Sign's "special guest" XXXTentacion helps to convey the youthful exuberance of Miles.

It's already nominated for multiple awards and deserves every single one. No disrespect to Tobey McGuire or Tom Holland, but it's the greatest Spider-Man movie ever made.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

About Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)

Official synopsis: "Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind.  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask."
Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
"Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse" stars Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine, Jorma Taccone, Joaquín Cosio, Marvin 'Krondon' Jones III
"Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse" was released on December 14, 2018 (United States)

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