Movie Review: The Spider-Verse soars with a new Spider-Man

Spider-Verse
Movie Review: The Spider-Verse soars with a new Spider-Man
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a magnificent movie that’s full of surprises. From an inventive screenplay to its top-notch production design, it’s the best animated film of the year. And in an ocean of sequels, it’s also the most original.

Spider-Man is arguably the most popular cinematic superhero of this century. In the last twenty years, this is already the seventh stand-alone film starring the web crawler. Yet this one found a compelling reason to feature Spider-Man specifically. And it found a unique story that justifies both the animated medium and being made entirely.

No other movies are pre-requisites to appreciate this, either. The plot follows a new hero named Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) who gains powers after, well, getting bit by a spider. But the predictability ends there. Miles then meets a team of spider-men from other dimensions, and now must save New York and send his new friends home.

Saying too much about the plot or other characters would easily spoil the exciting twists and turns throughout the story. The best part of Spider-Verse is how seamlessly the events play to surprise audiences. And it never feels like you’re being tricked.

The film touts a massive leadership team consisting of three directors, two writers and five producers. With this many cooks in the kitchen, it’s a miracle the product is so cohesive and consistent. This film is evidence that creative leaders can not only get along, but when they do, the movies they make are better for it.

It’s the best animated movie of the year.

What’s really cool and truly original is that it really does look like a comic book. The animation and palate are sharp and well-timed it appears pages and panels are coming to life. It’s one of the most inventive animation styles in years.

Spider-Verse

Photo: Sony Animation

I’d also be remiss not to mention the outstanding ensemble of voice actors who contributed to the project. With such a large cast, their voices are crucial to showing the different personalities in an entertaining way. This is especially true once spider-heroes show up, though the entire cast is a marvel. (Pun intended.)

That scope and complexity is the only deterring thing, really, from an otherwise perfect film. Because there are sixteen principal characters and several major quests at play, those uninitiated with Spider-Man’s world could find themselves overwhelmed – if not a bit confused.

Simply put, it feels like a great movie. The emotional catharsis that permeates almost every scene makes it feel like the kind of great movie that gave Hollywood its romantic aura in its golden age. Last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming had this same quality. Replicating that feeling with the same property a year later is astonishing.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is unquestionably the best movie ever made by Sony Animation. But more importantly, it is the best animated movie of 2018. Anyone looking for a smart, exciting and dynamic film is going to love this.

In a time of superhero and sequel fatigue, this is one that somehow takes the emphatic elements of each and turns them into strengths. The Spider-Verse truly adds another dimension to both these genres, proving how dazzling and important they can be.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

3 1/2 out of 4 stars
PG, 1hr 56mins. Animated Superhero Sci-Fi Comedy Epic.
Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman.
Starring Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, Kathryn Hahn and Liev Schreiber.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.

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