For years, I’ve been complaining that Sony Pictures Animation doesn’t offer anything inspiring in its animation or creativity. They couldn’t make “The Angry Birds Movie” in the style of “The LEGO Movie,” and “The Emoji Movie” took home the Razzie for Worst Picture. And the animation in “Hotel Transylvania 2” looked so generic, I ended up skipping the third movie.
But when I saw “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” I noticed one dazzling scene after another. The type of animation used here (CGI, 2D, etc.) is designed to look like an actual comic book. I haven’t seen this kind of wonder since “The Peanuts Movie.”
And what’s more is that “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” introduces me to a variety of “Spider People,” most of whom I’ve never heard of. The main Spider-Man is Miles Morales (voiced by Shamiek Moore from “Dope”), an African-American-Latino kid from Brooklyn, who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, like all the rest, and struggles to get the hang of his new super powers.
The other Spider People I’m referring to include a lowlife Peter B. Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson), the beautiful Spider Woman (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld), the 1932 private detective Spider-Man Noir (voiced by Nicolas Cage), the Japanese Anime girl Peni Parker (voiced by Kimiko Glenn), and the cartoon pig Spider-Ham (voiced by John Mulaney from Netflix’s hit animated series “Big Mouth”). They all come from parallel universes, because an evil gangster named Kingpin (voiced by Liev Schreiber) has developed a super collider, which threatens all their worlds. Now is the perfect time for Miles to discover his strengths.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was directed by Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, and Bob Persichetti; and produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Together, they have crafted a “Spider-Man” movie so inspiring, so visually stunning, so comical, and so emotional, it’s the comic book animated superhero movie fans have been salvaging.
The voice acting from Moore, Johnson, Steinfeld, and Schreiber is both bold and first-rate. You also get some memorable supporting voice work from Brian Tyree Henry as Miles’ cop father, Chris Pine as the original Peter Parker, Lily Tomlin as Aunt May, and Mahershala Ali as Miles’ vigilante uncle. And hearing Cage, Mulaney, and Glenn voicing the other Spider characters is just fun.
Again, I love how provocative the animation is-the perfect comic book movie style-and I love how complex and challenging the story gets. Everything about this movie is first-rate. This is the best animated movie of the year.
And this pays a respectful tribute to both Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, both of whom have passed away this year. Thanks for everything.