Nerdlocker Movie Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Stan Lee (R.I.P.)

I’ve always felt that Spider-Man is one of the most inspirational characters in the MARVEL-verse. So much of what the other superheroes embody is a sense of confidence. They believe they are necessary, for the most part. Spider-Man and all of his true identities (Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Miguel O’Hara, among others) always seem to have a lot of self-doubt. They aren’t always sure of their purpose or if they’re truly needed as the famed web-slinger. This is a very human emotion that can be a result of things far less unbelievable than gaining superpowers through some insane turn of events. I doubt myself every time I write one of these things. The voice in my head makes me wonder if I’m only kidding myself with all these movie critic hopes. Like they say in the film, it’s about how many times you can take a hit and get back up. Spider-Man cannot give up which means Parker, Morales, O’Hara… me, we cannot give up either. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse creates a platform for these characters to show what they are capable of both as otherworldly heroes and everyday people.

From the minds of The Lego Movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse utilizes the same cleverness and attention to detail that made The Lego Movie so special. A movie like this can make plenty of money playing it safe with typical heroes and their one dimensional antagonists. It would undoubtedly get slammed but for the younger viewers it would probably be a lot of fun and a sufficient financial return for the studios invested. And far too often that very scenario transpires so when the opposite occurs, when a film like Into the Spider-Verse comes along that puts forth every effort to make a phenomenal product is something often unexpected but of course always welcome.

Into the Spider-Verse is a story based on one simple premise; what if? It completes that inquisitive inquiry with tremendously entertaining moments of comedy and action without ever forgetting the smaller moments that make these characters who they really are, flaws and all. It shows that everyone is different no matter how many similarities but that doesn’t mean you must face the tribulations of life alone, there is always help. It’s all a leap of faith.

What if… Spider-Man met the alternate universe version of himself? Would they get along, would they still hold the same beliefs true that Spider-Man is a hero of the people? Who is new to the life of Spider-Man, who is a seasoned, bitter veteran? Into the Spider-Verse introduces these questions and explores every one of them with clarity and purpose. Of course there is plenty of visual spectacle that is a thing to behold all its own but it’s in the smaller moments, the relationship building conversations that this story of an isolated young man becomes one of self-discovery and what it means to be alive and to be of service to your fellow man. This just so happens to be a superhero story so that service is complete with a mask, web-shooters, and an archenemy. Being a teen is not for the faint of heart.

As fleshed out as the heroes of this adventure are, the villains would be nothing if not equally focused on and in this case the formidable Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk is a shattered man using his grief as focus to reverse the unchangeable, at any cost. He is the villain without question, his methods tell us this but his reasons for the mayhem is something anyone facing loss can relate to. It would seem the only thing separating most of us from super villainy is the ability and connections to do so. Fisk is risking the city, the world for the loves of his life lost to the tragedies that follow his less than ethical line of work. Who among us wouldn’t risk everything for the ones we love? A villain with relatable qualities despite their deplorable behavior is a character that is fascinating and unforgettable. The hero and anti-hero are on the same level, both motivated for reasons that would make sense to anyone. If at the moment of final confrontation between hero and villain the villain isn’t entirely wrong, and the hero not entirely in the right, you make for a truly enticing, invigorating finale to an already stellar film.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a movie that strives to be memorable by both adult and child alike. It’s a poignant, hilarious and relatable adventure that engages the sensibilities of adults while not only not forgetting the children but never speaking down to them. It approaches the story that adults can appreciate and children can still pick up on without feeling left out. And then the visual aspect is a firework exploding in colors of mashed madness and glorious confusion that always somehow sticks the landing in the end. It could be described as a fever dream of color vomit spraying all over the screen but this would be a disservice to the overall mesmerizing completion that creates a city bursting with visual insanity in the greatest ways. It is a lot to take in visually but it never grows tiresome even when everything seems to be happening all at once.

Into the Spider-Verse is creative freedom at its most boisterous and inspiring as everything from strong storytelling to masterful, innovative artwork shines at levels rarely seen in modern, mainstream cinema. This is one not to miss, I promise. Excelsior!

Rated PG For: frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language
Runtime: 117 minutes
After Credits Scene: Yes
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber
Directed By: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting (Voice): 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Yes

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard