Monday, December 24, 2018
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Based on the Marvel comics series by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and the Miles Morales series by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the story of a young kid who becomes a new Spider-Man as he juggles life as a kid and as the new Spider-Man while finding himself meeting other Spider-Mans including a different version of Peter Parker who would train his new protégé. Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman with screenplay by Rothman and Phil Lord from a story by Lord, the film is an animated film that focuses on Miles Morales who tries to become the new Spider-Man as well as tackle an evil foe who opened multiple dimensions that would destroy the world. Featuring the voices of Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Lauren Valez, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Liev Schreiber, and Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an exhilarating and rich film from Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman.
The film revolves around a young teenager in Miles Morales (the voice of Shameik Moore) whose encounter with a radioactive spider gives him powers where he learns of a plot from a crime boss that eventually lead to other Spider-Mans from other dimensions to help Morales out and stop this crime boss. It’s a film that takes its simple premise that play into the idea of alternate realities and dimensions where this young kid has to take on the mantle of being the new Spider-Man despite his inexperience and insecurities following the death of the previous Spider-Man in Peter Parker (Chris Pine) during a battle with the crime boss in Wilson Fisk/the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). The film’s screenplay by Rodney Rothman and Phil Lord follows the young Morales who is the son of a cop in Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry) and nurse Rio Morales (Lauren Valez) as he’s struggling to fit in as he’s attending this prestigious school in Brooklyn.
While hanging out with his uncle Aaron Davis (Mahershala Ali) as they do some graffiti art in the subway, Miles gets bitten by a spider as its effects would bring weird things as he tries to find the spider the next day where he encounters a battle between Spider-Man and the Kingpin. Due to the events that lead to Spider-Man’s death, Miles would meet a man claiming to be Peter Parker yet he’s from another dimension as Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) is a version of Parker who is out-of-shape, depressed, and down on his luck. They’re later joined by other versions of Spider-Man in Spider-Woman/Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Ham/Peter Porker (John Mulaney), SP//dr/Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Man Noir who have all been sucked in from other dimensions by the Kingpin who has a grudge towards Spider-Man as he has some valid reasons for wanting to open other dimensions unaware of its dangers.
The direction of Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman is definitely stylish in a grand way where it play into not just different styles of animation but also providing many kinds of Easter eggs and references the comics and films relating to Spider-Man. With the aid of lead animators Julie Bernier Gosselin, Jeff Panko, Humberto Francisco Rosa, and Philip Rudolph, the direction has a style that is rich in its detail as well as the design of the different version of Spider-Man as Spider-Man Noir is presented in a black-and-white animated style similar to old comic books of the 1930s/1940s as well as film noir while Spider-Ham is presented in a hand-drawn animated style similar to Warner Brothers cartoons and SP//dr is presented in Japanese anime. The direction also allowed each version of Spider-Man be introduced in the style of a comic book where it doesn’t just establish who they are and where they come from but it allows Morales to get to know them just as he’s trying to understand his own powers that are different from the other Spider-Mans.
The direction also has this attention to detail in the way it presents New York City in its different settings as well as a city dealing with these weird glitches. The wide and medium shots capture the scope of the locations as well as the world that Morales and the other Spider-Mans would encounter including Fisk’s home lab where he also have other villains working for him. With the aid of production designer Justin Thompson, art directors Dean Gordon and Patrick O’Keef, and visual effects supervisor Danny Dimian, the look of the different dimensions and cities add to the richness of the film as well as how Morales view the world around him as he’s coping with his powers and the idea of what had been instilled in Spider-Man.
Even as his father is someone who admits to not being fond of Spider-Man’s vigilante ideas as it would later play into some of the chaos that Morales would get himself involved in during its third act. The film’s climax is extravagant in its presentation as well as the stakes as it play into Morales coming to terms with who he is as well as be the hero that his family could be proud of. Overall, Persichetti, Ramsey, and Rothman create an enthralling and touching film about a young boy who takes on the mantle of Spider-Man.
Editor Robert Fisher Jr. does brilliant work with the editing in creating some rhythmic cuts that play into the humor and drama as well as some of the action and montages in the film. Sound editors Geoffrey G. Rubay and Curt Schulkey do amazing work with the sound in cultivating audio from cartoons and films relating to Spider-Man as well as sound effects that play into the action and adventure. The film’s music by Daniel Pemberton is wonderful for its mixture of orchestral bombast and hip-hop that play into the world that Morales lives in while music supervisor Kier Lehman provide a soundtrack that is largely driven by hip-hop from Post Malone, Nicki Minaj, Amine, Lil’ Wayne, DJ Khalil, Vince Staples, and many others as well as some playful Christmas music that the real Spider-Man had created.
The casting by Mary Hidalgo is great as it feature some notable small roles and voice appearances from Jorma Taccone as Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin, Lake Bell as the Kingpin’s late wife Vanessa, Marvin “Krondone” Jones III as the villainous Tombstone, Joaquin Cosio as the villain Scorpion, Zoe Kravitz as Mary Jane Watson, and Kathryn Hahn in a superb performance as Olivia “Liv” Octavius/Doctor Octopus as a mad scientist working for the Kingpin as she also hates Spider-Man. Lily Tomlin and Lauren Velez are fantastic in their respective roles as Aunt May Parker and Rio Morales with Tomlin being a mentor to the young Morales in his role as Spider-Man while Velez provides that maternal warmth as Morales’ mom who is concerned for her son’s growing pains. Chris Pine’s brief voice performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Morales’ universe is wonderful in displaying someone with confidence and care but also displaying all of the qualities to be Spider-Man while Stan Lee, in one of his final film roles, is a joy to watch as a vendor who provide some poignant words to Morales about what Spider-Man means to the world.
In the roles of some of the other Spider-Mans from other dimensions, Kimiko Glenn and John Mulvaney are excellent in their respective roles as Penni Parker/SP//dr and Peter Porker/Spider-Ham as different animated versions of the Spider-Man character with the former as a young girl with a machine-like android and the latter as a Looney Tunes-inspired pig who provide some silly gags. Mahershala Ali is brilliant as Morales’ uncle Aaron Davis as a man who encourages his nephew in expressing himself while also doing some mysterious things. Brian Tyree Henry is amazing as Morales’ father Jefferson Davis as a cop who isn’t fond of Spider-Man as he’s more concerned about his son’s education and potential as he has a great scene that play into the idea of loss and determination. Nicolas Cage is incredible as Spider-Man Noir as film noir-inspired version of the character who speaks in noir-based dialogue as well as provide some insight into the struggles that Morales is dealing with.
Jake Johnson is marvelous as Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man as a different version of the character from an alternate dimension who is down on his luck and is dealing with loss and failure as he tries to be a mentor to Morales in the hope he can find meaning as Spider-Man once again. Hailee Steinfeld is remarkable as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman as another Spider-Man from an alternate dimension who befriends Morales where she understands his growing pains while being aware of what is at stake when it comes to the Kingpin. Liev Schreiber is phenomenal as Wilson Fisk/the Kingpin as a crime boss who is trying to create a machine to reach into other dimensions to kill other versions of Spider-Man in the hopes he can rectify things he’s lost and end Spider-Man. Finally, there’s Shameik Moore in a sensational performance as Miles Morales as a teenage kid from Brooklyn who is struggling with his new school and later the new powers he is given where he copes with the role he has to play as well as try to become the best Spider-Man he can be.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a magnificent film from Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman. Featuring a great ensemble cast, a riveting screenplay, a fun music soundtrack, and spectacular visuals that mixes all form of animation styles. It’s a film that isn’t just an adventurous animated film but it’s also a Spider-Man film that play into its themes while making it feel fresh and new. In the end, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an outstanding film from Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman.
Spider-Man Films: Spider-Man - Spider-Man 2 - Spider-Man 3 - The Amazing Spider-Man - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Spider-Man: Homecoming - Spider-Man: Far from Home
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