Written by J.T. Johnson
This has been a banner year for everyone’s favorite web-slinger, Spider-Man. He starred in a hit video game on the PS4, appeared in “Avengers: Infinity War” and now a different version of Spider-Man stars in one of the most original animated films in quite some time. It is also a great addition to the long history of Spider-Man and one of the best films made featuring the character.
In the movie, the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) is trying to access multiple universes. Along the way, a teenager named Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is bitten by a radioactive spider. He gets powers like the other Spider-Man in his universe, Peter Parker (Chris Pine), but that Parker gets killed when they try to stop Kingpin from using the collider.
Miles doesn’t think there is anyone who can help him with his powers until he meets a different Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson). This particular Parker is a down-on-his luck older version that wants to get back to his world before he disintegrates from being in the wrong universe. The two reluctantly team up before encountering other Spider-People including Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) in their quest to stop the Kingpin once and for all.
When I went to see this movie, I knew there was a good chance that it would be a decent film. However, this film turns out to be one of the best Spider-Man films ever made. The movie acknowledges the character’s comic book origins and it makes a few great references to what came before in other films, including the infamous dancing scene from “Spider-Man 3”. More importantly, it stays true to Miles Morales who is thankfully a solid lead of his own film while the other versions of Spider-Man are simply there to support him.
It was refreshing that Miles finally got to shine in his own movie. Peter Parker has had plenty of films plus two reboots, so it’s time to let the new Spider-Man shine. It also allows the film to express a message that Stan Lee made when he first created the character.
Lee created Spider-Man with a mask because he wanted any kids reading the books to feel as though they could be Spider-Man. Miles, along with Gwen Stacy, Spider-Noir, Peni, and his mentor Peter, show us that as long as we strive hard and try to make the world a better place, we can truly be superheroes in our own way.
The movie is filled with plenty of good humor and the laughs are genuinely earned. In addition to that, though, there are some sincere dramatic beats that the film lands perfectly. Miles has a great origin story and Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman’s screenplay doesn’t forget this fact.
In addition to the great story, the animation is pretty solid throughout especially during the film’s plentiful action sequences. That means that yes, the movie contains all of the great superhero shenanigans that you would come to expect from these films. Thankfully, the movie doesn’t forget to contain the heart that a truly good film such as this deserves.