Just when you thought you'd seen enough Spider-Man movies to last a lifetime, they go and do something new and amazing with it.
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is the snazzy new animated movie that takes all of the familiar Spider-Man tropes and pushes them to dazzling new heights. This is a movie with both style and substance to spare, in celebration of one of the world's favorite superheroes.
It helps if you're already familiar with everything Spider-Man. After half a dozen different live action Spider-Man movies over the past two decades, "Into the Spider-Verse" feels comfortable in taking the ball and running with it. Spider-Man is as familiar as Mickey Mouse and Superman these days, and the new film uses that to tell a new story, with new characters and a brilliant new animation style.
Miles Morales is just an ordinary kid from Brooklyn, who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and develops spider-powers. It is then up to Miles to take on the bad guys, who have developed the technology to cross over into other dimensions in the Multiverse. Miles is joined in his adventure by a squad of alternate reality Spider-People, each one as wildly original as imagination can get.
What if Spider-Man was a girl? What if Spider-Man was a black and white 1930s noir gangster? What if Spider-Man was a Looney Tunes cartoon character?
What if Spider-Man was you?
"Into the Spider-Verse" draws on the decades worth of Spider-Man comics, cartoons and movies to tell a real whopper of a story. The film holds nothing back in its kaleidoscope of crazy animation and weird Spider characters. And even though it tries to blow the mind with weirdness, it never loses sight of the story its telling and the messages its sharing.
The character of Miles Morales, a recent fan favorite in the comics, keeps the wild story grounded. He's just an ordinary kid, with worried parents and homework. But a fateful spider-bite sets him down the path of the world famous Spider-Man, and Miles has to learn all of the important lessons about power, responsibility, tragedy and web-swinging.
Voice actor Shameik Moore does a great job making Miles feel real for the audience, and his eventual rise to the challenge of being the new Spider-Man is a wonderful moment.
Jake Johnson shows up as an over-the-hill Peter Parker, to act as mentor to young Miles, and he's probably the funniest Spider-Man to ever grace the silver screen. Johnson delivers a quick-witted, easily sarcastic Spidey, giving the film enough hilarious one-liners to fill half a dozen Spider-Man reboots.
The likes of Nicolas Cage, Chris Pine, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn and more famous names show up to round out the crazy cast of alternate reality Spider-people, each one worthy of their own movie. "Into the Spider-Verse" has a ton of fun throwing all these wild ideas at the audience.
The animation style of "Into the Spider-Verse" is unlike anything you've seen before at the movies. It's manic and energetic, taking familiar comic book ideas and casting them into frantic big screen motion. The colors and action pop off the screen. It's dazzling.
But the movie isn't all fun and games. There's a deep seriousness at the heart of the film, balancing the humor and the wild animation. "Into the Spider-Verse" has a blast sending Spider-Man swinging through his newest adventure, but being Spider-Man is also a cautionary tale. He couldn't save Uncle Ben, after all.