Animated crossover film featuring half a dozen Marvel spinoff characters is a bright and shiny delight
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman). 117 minutes. Opens Friday (December 14). See listing. Rating: NNNN
Remember how much fun The LEGO Movie was, and how shocking it was to see a movie that ambitious be so light on its feet? Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is like that.
It’s a bright and shiny delight, stuffing half a dozen Marvel spinoff characters into a crossover adventure that finds fan-favourite character Miles Morales (voiced by The Get Down’s Shameik Moore) gaining his Spider-powers just in time to meet a whole mess of Spider-folk when the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) ruptures the space-time continuum and threatens the existence of reality as we know it.
In the process, the Kingpin also manages to kill the one person who might have been able to mentor Miles – and maybe save the day? – which kind of sucks for everybody.
But wait! Thanks to supercollider logic, Miles gets to swing around with the Peter Parker from Earth-616 (Jake Johnson), a grumpy mentor who’s given in to his worst instincts after some personal stuff back home, and parallel web-slinger Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), who’s way better at the hero stuff than either of them.
And there are yet more Spider-pals: Nicolas Cage turns up as the hard-boiled Spider-Man Noir John Mulaney is Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham and Kimiko Glenn is Peni Parker, a mech-driving Japanese teen – from the future, I think? – who has a psychic bond with a spider.
I know it’s a lot to process, but it all plays beautifully it’s fleet and fun and very, very silly, as directors Rodney Rothman (who shares script credit with The LEGO Movie’s Phil Lord), Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey deploy constantly mutating CG animation with hand-drawn elements that shifts between tones and textures as characters require.
But for all the spider-chaos, it’s really Miles’s story – and it’s a great one. There hasn’t been a Spider-Man movie like this before. And given how many Spider-Man movies we’ve already seen, that’s really saying something.
Book your tickets, true believers.
This review is part of NOW’s 2018 Holiday Movie Special. Check out more here.