Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ★★★★★

With a surprisingly great storyline, a barrage of laughs, a ton of heart, hyperkinetic action, spot-on voice acting, and radical animation, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may very well be my favorite film of the year.

At the very least, it's the movie of 2018 I most strongly recommend for people to go see. Filmgoers of all ages need more smart and entertaining animated options like this. It's impressive that after a ton of Marvel and DC superhero films over the years, a film can come along and offer a modern and unusual take of the genre's well established concepts.

At it's heart, it's an origin story on how high schooler Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his world. After a rift in the universe (which is the result of an experiment by the film's main villains) he meets up with the Spider-heroes from other dimensions. They team up to help the others find a way back home, and to put a stop to the evil doings of a plethora of well-known Spidey baddies...such as the Kingpin, Green Goblin and (a marvelous take on) Doctor Octopus.

The visual aesthetics to the film are off the charts. Veering at times to reaching sensory overload, the character designs (a real strength), color palate, split screens, and sense of visual depth brings the action truly alive. Even the quieter moments stun the eyes with bold graphics. The editing of it reflects a sharp timing that underscores each beat...whether it be superhero thrills, comedic scenes, or heartfelt moments that's playing out on screen at the time.

Big applause to the voice cast, who are doing top-tier work across the board (including some surprising vocal talent that I was unaware of being a part of this). My favorites are Jake Johnson's take on the aging and somewhat dismayed Peter Parker, Lily Tomlin's badass Aunt May, Liev Schreiber's perfectly pitched version of the Kingpin, and best of all (for me) Nicolas Cage's 1930's era Spider-Man Noir (who gets some of the best dialogue in a movie filled with great lines).

Exciting action, multiple laugh-out-loud funny moments, and strong characters should be enough for someone to go buy a ticket for this, but it's the focusing on the life lessons that Miles Morales learns along the way that truly anchors the picture, in a way that should be appealing to parents and kids alike. And what a fantastic soundtrack, perfectly fusing with each scene. There are lots of little touches I loved too, an appearance of the Spider-Mobile, the sweet Stan Lee cameo, and the audio design they gifted the Prowler with.

This is the ahead of the curve film of 2018. The best animated film of the year, arguably the best superhero film of the year, and perhaps my favorite movie this year. I was blown away. GO SEE IT!!!! Recommended.

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