Redbox Review: “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” One Of The Best Animated Films of The Decade

Courtesy of IMDb

Since the first appearance of Spider-man in 1962, there have been countless unique interpretations in comics and other media since the wall-crawler first swung through the pages of “Amazing Fantasy #15.” While there have been many “Spider-Man” films and animated adaptations over the years, one in particular released this past December has stood out as one of the best versions in years: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse.”

Following the adventures of a young Miles Morales (voice of Shameik Moore), this unique take on the series ensnares a story that is the perfect blend of superhero action, humor and surprising emotional depth. Joining forces with an older, hobo-like Peter Parker (voice of Jake Johnson), Miles must learn to master his new powers as well as stop the “Kingpin” Wilson Fisk (voice of Liev Schreiber), from causing havoc in New York with an experimental particle accelerator. Also in the fray are the 1930s detective “Spider-Noir” (a gleefully crazy Nicolas Cage), and the anime-infused Peni Parker (voice of Kimiko Glenn). Notable standouts include the perky “Spider-Gwen” (voice of Hailee Steinfeld) and a goofy pig known as “Spider-Ham” (voice of John Mulaney).

Over the course of 116 minutes, the heroes unite in a clever story from writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller; drawing from classic stories from the 1960s as well as newer comics from scribe Brian Michael Bendis. On a $90 million budget, the film has a distinct animation style that takes influence from everything from Looney Tunes to 1990s anime. The style can best be described as “2.5D,” with the 3D animation using lighting, color and movements of 2D animation to give the film the appearance of a living, breathing comic book. There are tongue-in-cheek homages to previous adaptations ranging from the Sam Raimi trilogy to the memetic 1967 cartoon series.

With the film having won multiple awards and become the most successful release from Sony Pictures Animation, the creators behind the film already have plenty of ideas for sequels and spinoffs. Above all, “Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse” has easily joined the ranks of not only the best versions of “Spider-man;” and not just one of the best superhero films, but one of the best animated films of the decade so far. It takes the material in creative new directions and provides a simple yet effective message: “anyone can wear the mask.”

Verdict: 5 Out Of 5 Stars

Review by Steven Pryor

At a Glance:

Directed by Rodney Rothman, Peter Ramsey and Bob Persichetti
(Based on characters appearing in Marvel Comics)

Starring the voices of Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Mahershala Ali, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber, Luna Lauren Velez, and John Mulaney

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