Saturday, January 5, 2019

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (2018)

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse (2018): written by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman; directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman; starring the voices of Shemeik Moore (Miles Morales), Jake Johnson (Peter B. Parker), Hailee Steinfeld (Gwen), Mahershala Ali (Uncle Aaron), Brian Tyree Henry (Jefferson Davis - Miles' Dad), Lily Tomlin (Aunt May), Luna Velez (Rio Morales), Zoe Kravitz (Mary Jane), John Mulaney (Spider-Ham), Kimiko Glenn (Peni Parker), Nicolas Cage (Spider-man Noir), Kathryn Hahn (Doctor Octopus), Liev Schreiber (Kingpin), and Chris Pine (Spider-man): Whew!

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse is an animated delight in both senses of the word. Its protagonist is Miles Morales, known to Marvel fans as the second Spider-man of the Ultimate comics universe and not known to pretty much anyone else. He gets a lot of help learning how to use his powers from a bunch of Spider-heroes sucked into his universe from other universes by a cosmic doohickey that nonetheless has a USB port because EVERYTHING HAS A USB PORT.

The Spider-characters are all drawn from different comic-book takes on Spider-man, from the original (Peter B. Parker here) to funny-animal Spider-Ham. Even with two major character deaths, things remain fairly light -- credit Lego Movie's Phil Lord for that. The whole thing is terrific fun and terrifically meta-fictional. 

The CGI character animation is clean and somewhat life-like without ever entering the Uncanny Valley, and the movie takes full advantage of the limitless possibilities of animation at many points. It's pretty trippy! And Kingpin's cartoonishly grotesque physique owes more than a little to the 1980's work of artist Bill Sienkiewicz.

All that and a worthwhile post-credits sequence. May Miles Morales get more movies! Highly recommended.

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