Animated film does web-slingers justice

By Peter Zemeske

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is the new animated film in the titular super-hero’s long film franchise directed by Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr. and Rodney Rothman and produced by “The Lego Movie” and “21 Jump Street” directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The film is heart-warming at its core, yet is also hilarious and equally adventurous.

The film begins with Peter Parker’s Spider-Man, voiced by Chris Pine, explaining how he’s been protecting the streets of New York for 10 years. Parker meets an early demise at the hands of Kingpin, voiced by Liev Schreiber, a deranged CEO with a machine capable of meshing multiple alternate universes together, called a particle accelerator.  

A recently radioactive spider-bitten Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, watches this unfold and meets a fatter and depressed Parker, voiced by Jake Johnson, who has arrived from his been transported from his universe to Morales’ via the particle accelerator. Morales and Parker encounter other spider-people like Peni Parker with her SP//dr robot, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Gwen and Spider-Ham. The crew gather to fight Kingpin and destroy the machine after returning to their respective universes.

The film employs an intense, breaktaking visual style unlike any other animated film released to date. The visuals switch from a lifelike 3D style to a comic book-esque 2D complete with Ben-Day dots.

The narrative in the film was never boring. The plot device used to introduce viewers to the additions of spider-people was both efficient and well used; a comic book telling the story of each character was placed on a table and ran through a synopsis of how they garnered their abilities and their role in their universe.

Numerous easter eggs are placed throughout the film including one of Stan Lee’s last cameos which was one of his most involved interactions with a character, references to past Spider-Man films and comics including the ridiculous strutting scene scene in “Spider-Man 3” released in 2007 and the meme with the two spider-men pointing at each other, which was side-splitting.

The main message in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is that heroism isn’t innate; it is a learned skill anyone with devotion can aquire. Even though Morales doesn’t have the skills or determination required to save the world from the start, he pushes himself to learn the ropes, sometimes literally. There is something for everyone to love in this film. Whether it’s fan service, quirky characters or simply a heartfelt message, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” triumphs with ease.