Miles Morales, the new kid in a prestigious New York High School, is going through the natural challenges that face the average teenager struggling to find his place and identity. As he is adjusting to new dynamics in his domestic and living situations he is abruptly faced with heightened challenges and opportunities when he is bitten by the same radioactive spider that infected the Peter Parker (Spider-Man) of his reality. Miles finds himself trying to understand the supernatural changes he is going through and determining what they mean to him. Simultaneously, in the wake of the side-effects of an interdimensional experiment by the Kingpin, other Spider-Men… Spider-Men? (Spider-Mans… Spider-Men/Women… Spider-Creatures… Spider-Folk… Spider-Pork…) Uh… OTHERS who don the mask of Spider-Man in their respective dimensions are incidentally drawn to this New York occupied by Miles.
It then becomes a series of events leading Miles to assist in the quest of the various Spider… OTHERS as they find a way to destroy the inter-dimensional device while returning to their own dimensions before they are killed being unable to remain in this alternate dimension for too long.
Is It Any Good? (Grade: A)
With Sony risking oversaturation of the Spider-Man universe in this, the fourth movie in the last two years, with characters from the franchise, I had concerns going in. My primary concern was that it would just be a cheap attempt to duplicate the adoration “Batman fans” had for the deep-cut references and Easter Eggs in “The Lego Batman Movie.” But this move wasn’t too dense in such gimmicks. Such Easter Eggs would be enjoyed by the more dedicated fans while not distracting from the overall story. The nods to the fans were quick and witty and several had a place appropriate in breaking the Fourth Wall.
Secondly, introducing several much less common Spider-Man characters wouldn’t seem to work or be taken seriously on the big screen, such as Spider-Ham and the anime Peni Parker. However, they, as well as each of the other renditions of Spider-Man represented in this movie, contributed to the plot and were engaging and endearing to a variety of audience members.
The visuals in this movie were astounding. Brilliant use of shapes and perspective, camera angles and cinematography were flawless and constantly appealing. Not enough could be said about the stunning animation in this movie. It’s been celebrated as a groundbreaking masterpiece in “comic book” style art coming to life. In explosive colors and visuals, it’s a very busy screen at times with incredible use of colors and lights that definitely justify the epilepsy and photosensitivity warning before the movie.
Music Wise, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a movie with a well balanced tone that is carried and enhanced with a great score and fitting soundtrack that contributes to each of it’s darker and lighter moments.
Is It Okay for Your Family?
The villains in this movie have some intense moments and some snarling, potentially frightening features for young children. There are several brief, yet intense chases with some very effective ominous music loudly playing contributing to the darkness of the tone of those scenes.
There are several dark and heavy moments in this movie with some tragic consequences. Two primary characters die in non-graphic but heavily violent ways for younger kids. One early in the movie includes a character being instantly killed in a one-two punch not showing the hits land on camera. The other death entails a secondary but important character being shot in the back with a gun. No blood is shown in either scene, but the intensity is great and mourning scenes follow both deaths.
Any Worthwhile Messages?
Responsibility: The well known theme of Spiderman is “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”
Encouragement: Miles is told by his father “I see a spark in you. Whatever you choose to do with it, you’ll be great.” This line later comes to his mind with great impact when Miles is deciding to step up and become Spider-Man.
Gifts/Talents: Mary Jane Quotes Peter Parker saying “We all have powers of one kind or another. In a way, each of us is Spider-Man.
Diversity: Each version of Spider-Man in this film brings unique looks, personality, skills, and experience with them. Only in working together and motivating each other are they able to accomplish the task of “Sending everyone home” and save the world
Leap of faith: Miles asks Peter Parker when he’ll know he’s ready to be Spider-man. Peter replies “you never know. It’s a ‘leap of faith.’”
For another excellent animated superhero adventure, you can’t go wrong with The Incredibles! Rent or buy it here.
Tim Wilde is currently studying film at the Salt Lake Community College. As a single father who was a failure in bequeathing his love of movies onto his children, he has taken to the internet as co-creator and co-host of Saints on Cinema, a YouTube channel devoted to discussing and reviewing film from the perspective of Latter-day Saints and other various guests.