HOLLYWOOD—Everyone’s favorite web slinger is back, but this isn’t the Peter Parker that so many of us have come accustomed to knowing. We have an animated version of Spider-Man in the film, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and let me just say the visuals are absolutely jaw-dropping. I would like to say it’s something I’ve never seen before, but I’m sure I have, but I can’t pinpoint exactly where I saw it.
This tale follows Miles Morales (voice of Shameik Moore), who has a lot going on in his personal life including adjusting to the new elite boarding school that he is attending. His classmate, Gwen Stacy (voice of Hailee Steinfeld), has caught his eye, and let’s just say she has a few secrets of her own. Miles feels the pressure from his parents Rio (voice of Luna Lauren Velez) and Jefferson (voice of Brian Tyree Henry) who want him to deliver his best at all times.
It’s not until Miles gets a taste of exploring his graffiti talent courtesy of his uncle Aaron (voice of Mahershala Ali) that his world forever changes. Why? Well, as you know the story gets bit by a radioactive spider and he develops sensational abilities. In the midst of exploring these abilities he has an encounter with Wilson Fisk (voice of Liev Schreiber) who has created a device that allows him to travel into parallel universes. Cue the fun because it kicks into high gear.
Miles meets a disheveled version of Spider-Man voiced by Jake Johnson, who has lost his mojo of sorts; he’s not happy with the current predicament in his life and helps Miles in an effort to return back to his universe. But wait there is more, Miles also meets the present Spider-Man voiced by Chris Pine, who is a bit of an icon for Miles; our protagonist doesn’t truly know his capabilities until the unthinkable happens and he is forced to step up as a hero. This is what works so well with this movie; we not only see alternating versions of our favorite web slinger, we see a humanity to these characters, that I don’t think I’ve ever felt with any of the live-action versions of the character. Spider-Man has worries just like everyone else, and so does his alter ego in this case Miles Morales.
There are indeed some hilarious takes on the hero with Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir and a few other intriguing characters whose lives are all placed in peril because of Fisk’s device. For many what is amazing about “Spider-Man: into the Spider-Verse” is its ability to showcase a hero from the Puerto Rican and African-American background. Before seeing this movie, many would think it was never possible, but the script has so much heart, so much tension and just elements that seem right out of real-life that it works flawlessly.
It’s inspirational and entertaining to watch this teen navigate his life and this world that only some could only think about while ensuring he keeps his identity hidden along the way. There have been a LOT of “Spider-Man” movies in the last 15 years, and let’s be honest, they all haven’t been that great to say the least. It’s funny how an animated movie finds a way to do something that a live-action flick has difficulty doing: bringing heart, warmth and realism to characters.
And when it comes to the special effects I cannot say enough; they are immersive and as a viewer you don’t just feel a part of the action, you at times want to join in on the fun. This only makes me wonder how the flick would have been if it was given the 3D treatment. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is not just a treat for fans of the comic book universe, but even those who know nothing about Spider-Man and Peter Parker will fall in love with this movie.