'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' film review: Amazing. Spectacular. Sensational. Superior.
The typical Spider-Man formula goes something like "Peter Parker becomes a hero, fights a villain or two or three, saves the city." The electrifying and game-changing "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (opening in theaters Dec. 14) flips the formula entirely for a film that's every bit a celebration of the wall-crawling hero as it is a work of pure entertainment.
In short: Just as Mile Morales (Shameik Moore) becomes the Spider-Man, he learns his universe is one of many parallel universes. Miles must unite with his alternate universe counterparts to save reality. Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali and Brian Tyree Henry also star.
For a moment, forget "Spider-Verse" has anything to do with the iconic webslinger - it still holds up simply as an eye-popping, kinetic masterstroke of animation. Every frame pops with lively color and dynamic energy. "Spider-Verse" truly feels like a comic brought to life, and yet, it's something much more innovative and groundbreaking. Traditional animated movies can easily be translated to live action (see "The Lion King" or "The Jungle Book" for example), but it's nigh impossible to imagine how "Spider-Verse" could be faithfully re-imagined as a live-action film without losing much the style and verse that makes this film special.
"Spider-Verse" is every bit a celebration of the Spider-Man mythos as it is a completely self-aware inversion of the Spidey formula. Everyone knows the Peter Parker origin story - to the point that "Spider-Man: Homecoming" simply skipped that part of Parker's story. And this film is aware of Peter Parker fatigue, and leverages that wariness into a thrilling introduction for Miles Morales - a character known to comic book fans but less known to the general public. This can only bode well for the future of Miles as a Marvel character and possibly his introduction into the MCU.
Finally: stay after the end credits and enjoy one of the best post-credits scenes in any Marvel movie. The short post-script simultaneously teases an exciting future for the "Spider-Verse" - while also reaching back and paying homage to a classic bit of Spider-Man lore. This one scene typifies what makes "Spider-Verse" special - it's hilarious and finds new ways to explore the expansive history of Spider-Man.
Final verdict: "Into the Spider-Verse" is a visual-striking, personal and joy-filled epic. Simultaneously refreshing and familiar - it’s a mind-bending winner that taps into the essence of Spider-Man.
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" opens in theaters nationwide Dec. 14. This comic book action adventure has a running time of 117 minutes and is rated PG for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language.