Spider Men, Gwens, Hams, and Noirs Unite

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is an animated film that has various iterations of the superhero crossing dimensions and facing the machinations of the Kingpin who is trying to alter reality and dimensions to bring back his lost wife and son.  Miles Morales serves as the central Spider-Man in this one, although there is plenty for Peter Parker to do as well.  Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman directed their script alongside Bob Persichetti with Shameik Moore providing the voice for young Miles.  There are two versions of Peter Parker voiced by Chris Pine and later Jake Johnson.  Gwen Stacy, or Spider-Woman, is voiced by Hailee Steinfeld.  Some kind of noir version of Spider-Man and the even more absurd, cartoonish Spider-Ham join in the fray being voiced by one Nicholas Cage and John Mulaney, respectively. Oh yes, there is also Kimiko Glenn rounding out the heroic cast as Peni Parker whose biomechanical suit is powered by the radioactive spider in some anime version of the series.

There is a lot to keep track of in this one, however it’s actually really enjoyable in spite of my unfamiliarity with Spider-Noir and Anime Spider-Whatever.  I had heard of the Ultimate Spider-Man range with Miles Morales but never read any of the comics.  Although I am a bit of a purist snob and ferociously loyal to the original Peter Parker, I did find Miles to be quite likable.  There was quite an effort to flesh out the characters in spite of the more absurd and slapstick moments.  The script was witty enough for me to enjoy the presence of Spider-Ham and Noir Spider-Man as well.  The Spider-Gwen doesn’t quite make a lot of sense to me either, but she was also utilized well.

Miles’ relationship with his family was played quite well.  The age-old tensions between father and son was not new ground, but it was written quite well.

The animation and visual effects were very well presented.  I liked the style of the drawings. The climactic battle scenes were busy and chaotic but still not hard to follow.

The Kingpin was voiced by Liev Schreiber and was drawn a bit strangely in that his head looked like it was coming out of some wall of a body.  It’s a little hard to describe, but he definitely looked massive and dangerous to just crush people with his hammer fist blows, which does happen in  this film.

The acclaim for this movie has been pretty enthusiastic, and I found little to no reason to disagree.  The Stan Lee appearance is quite brief yet profound in this one.

This is a film where you have to leave your disbelief at the door and just roll with it.  If there is a sequel in this particular Spider-Man universe, I hope the quality of the humor and action this film displayed can be captured just as effectively.

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