Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, rated PG
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a visually stunning, creative and intense animated film that the entire family can enjoy. The film is directed by first-time director Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey (Rise of the Guardians), and five-time Emmy nominee Rodney Rothman (Late Show with David Letterman). The screenplay is written by Rothman and Emmy nominee Phil Lord (The Last Man on Earth, The Lego Movie). The film is dedicated to the memory of Spider-Man co-creators, Steve Ditko, who died on July 6 and Stan Lee, who died on November 12. The film has already received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture – Animated. The film, which had a budget of $90 million, features a strong cast of voice actors to bring the many characters in the film to life.
Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore (Dope), is a Brooklyn teenager who unhappily transfers to an elite boarding school. He is the son of hospital worker Rio Morales, voiced by Luna Lauren Velez (Dexter), and police officer Jefferson Davis, voiced by two-time Emmy nominee Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta, This is Us), who doesn’t like Spider-Man. Miles is close to his uncle Aaron, voiced by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight). When uncle Aaron takes him to an abandoned subway tunnel to paint his graffiti art, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider, changing his life forever.
Crime lord Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, voiced by six-time Golden Globe nominee Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan, RKO 281), has built a particle accelerator to access parallel universes so that he can reconnect with his wife and son who had died in a car accident. Spider-Man, voiced by Emmy nominee Chris Pine (SuperMansion, Star Trek), tries to disable the accelerator, battling the Green Goblin and the Prowler. Spider-Man is wounded when the accelerator malfunctions, but before he is killed by Fisk, he is able to give Miles a key to disable the accelerator. Unfortunately, Miles inadvertently damages the key beyond use.
As Miles is dealing with the changes in his body after the spider bite, he meets an older and overweight Peter B. Parker, voiced by Jake Johnson (Jurassic World). Peter has been brought into Miles’s world by the accelerator and needs to return home fast or he will die. He agrees to train Miles after they break into Fisk’s research facility to gather information about the accelerator. There, they encounter the dangerous Dock Ock, voiced by Emmy nominee Kathryn Hahn (Transparent).
Soon, Miles and Peter meet other versions of Spider-Man from other dimensions who are brought into Miles world by Kingpin’s machine: they are Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman, voiced by Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Spider-Noir, voiced by Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas), Penni Parker, voiced by Kimiko Glenn (Orange is the New Black), and the pig Peter Porker/Spider-Ham, voiced by two-time Emmy winner John Mulaney (John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, Saturday Night Live). Mary Jane is voiced by Zoe Kravitz (Big Littles Lies, Fantastic Beasts), and Peter’s Aunt May is voiced by Oscar nominee Lily Tomlin (Nashville). Miles must work with these other versions of Spider-Man to save New York City from the Kingpin.
Content concerns include intense fight scenes that will be too much for very young viewers. Themes in the film include family, especially the relationship between a father and his son, sacrifice, good vs. evil, doing the right thing and working together as a team.
Everything about this film was well-done – storyline, characters, the animation (hand-drawn, digital, still frames and text panel) with vibrant colors, the music by two-time Golden Globe nominee Daniel Pemberton (Gold, Steve Jobs), humor, etc. There are also several visual recreations from previous Spider-Man films that Spider-Man fans will enjoy.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an entertaining and intense animated film that the entire family (age 10 and above) can enjoy together. (Note: my wife thought the film was manically paced and was a visual and audio overload.) It’s one of the most creative animated films I’ve seen. And don’t forget to stay for the post-credits scene.