PG! Because it's animated! Don't get me wrong. I'm a bad father for taking my kids to see this without screening it first. They're fine. They loved it. That being said, my son screamed quite audibly at one moment. It's superhero stuff, but superhero stuff isn't for everybody. One of the villains kills a hero. It isn't graphic, but you definitely know what's going on in the scene. Also, there's a ton of jump scares. Anything from another universe. When it glitches, it makes a loud noise and a bright light flashes. That's what scared Henry. Superhero movies can get pretty scary and I would say the same applies for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
DIRECTORS: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsay, and Rodney Rothman
How do they keep doing this to me? I know that studios tend to sneak in the best movies of the year in December, but that completely throws off my "Best of the Year" awards. It is a weird year for me. For the most part, major blockbusters were actually some of the better films this year. But then, in swoops Into the Spider-Verse and actually out superheroes amazing superhero movies like Black Panther and Infinity War. C'mon! 2018: an okay year for a lot of movies, but an amazing year for superhero movies.
I don't think you are aware of how excited I was for this movie. When I saw the first teaser, I knew that this was going to be the movie to be excited for. There is nothing on my radar right now like Into the Spider-Verse was. My kids, when they saw the trailer, lost their minds too. I knew they would. I planted those seeds long ago. My daughter, Olivia, adores Spider-Man comic books. I'm actually having the blessing of having her absorb some truly amazing comic books and she and I are growing closer over it. Henry loves Spider-Man because he's such a boy and he also wants to be like his sister. I prepped my kids, guys. I may not have screened this movie ahead of time, but they were ready for this film. (I'm listening to the score to the movie right now as I type this and it is very rad. Let me recommend it highly.) This is the movie that nerds were waiting for. Not only is it a great superhero movie or a Spider-Man movie, but it is a nerdy movie that plays up to the deep cuts of what comic books are really like. A lot of people don't really get comic books. They like the characters and they like the films, but often the fandom draws the line at actually reading the source material. Since this caters to the readers more than anyone else, isn't that toxic for a major Christmas studio release? No. Not in the least. (I refuse to mince words over this.) I kept looking over to my wife who, despite my most valiant efforts, never really got into comic books. I'm still fighting that brave fight, but I don't think I'm a good enough person to transform my wife into me that intensely. But I looked at her over and over again and she was grinning from ear-to-ear. When she caught me looking, she gave me the widely coveted, previously unseen, unironic thumbs up. Yeah. That's how good the movie is.
It looks gorgeous. I mean, it is a pretty looking movie. I read somewhere that Sony is trying to patent the look of the film. I'm one of the few people who kind of stands by the Ang Lee Hulk. (You don't have to leave! I swear, I won't push that movie on you yet. I can see why people don't like that one and I'll fall back!) But the Hulk movie tried making it seem like you were reading a comic while watching the movie. I get it. The Golden Age of the Superhero film was still in its infancy and there were growing pains. But Hulk felt like it was created by someone who didn't really get comics. They were somewhat silly and goofy looking. Into the Spider-Verse never really treated comics as if they were silly. They had a certain style that came with the medium, but they weren't a genre in themselves. Into the Spider-Verse gets that. Instead, we have some very focused art and some very blurry art. There is motion between panels. We have thought blocks and narration that a lot of the other superhero movies really haven't deemed necessary to share. That's great, because it just adds to the layers of complexity to the film. It's weird to say that this movie is rotten with Spider-Men of some sort. But by having the internal monologues, these characters feel extremely different from one another. They Inside Outted Spider-Man! They're all the same (fundamental) character, but they've all experienced different things and we can tell that from their internal narration. Let me also give a shout out to the comic book ties. When a Spider-Man introduces him / her / itself, they flash to the comic books. These covers seem to be new, but the format of them is dead on. They even shout out to the creators and writers of these comics and that makes an old nerd very happy. This is all great, but we also have to keep in mind that Spider-Man is a frenetic superhero. It's all about the way he moves and there's nothing lazy about that in this film. Spider-Man movies have had amazing sequences, but this animated version seems unstoppable. The creativity of the choreography is intense and it is everything I daydream about when it comes to being Spider-Man. (That last sentence was meant to be adorable to imply that I daydream about being Spider-Man. That's only part true. I imagine my seven-month-old baby as Spider-Man. I've always day dreamed about being Doctor Octopus with the arms from Spider-Man 2.)
But this is written by The Lego Movie guys. It feels it. I love Phil Lord and Chris Miller. I know for sure that Lord is involved. Everything this guy touches makes me happy. I loved Last Man on Earth and Son of Zorn. Having them attached to this movie is special. It's weird to think that Sony took a chance on these guys. I bet Sony was like the rest of us. I bet when they heard that an animated movie was coming out from these guys, they thought it was simply a stop gap until the "real" Spider-Man movie was coming out. Then everyone involved started making the most insane Spider-Man movie ever thought of and they changed their tune. The movie feels so anti-Sony. I really hope that corporate keeps their hands off of this specific franchise because this movie felt like what a superhero movie should be. It is funny and thought-provoking. It's got absolutely beautiful characters. Shameik Moore's Miles Morales is perfect. I wanted a Miles Morales movie for the longest time. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Spider-Man's story can get any better than the Uncle Ben narrative. But Miles is his own entity. He's this wholly different character that would never get the time of day in an era where Peter Parker is the one that is marketable. People know Peter Parker. Nerds know Miles Morales. (I mean, that's not true anymore, but you get what I'm saying.) To make a movie about Miles Morales and ensuring that the focus stays on him when you have a million other versions of Peter Parker or Gwen Stacy is just bananas. But it works. I'm not saying that the movie shouldn't have Peter Parker. No, sir or ma'am! Peter is vital to this story, but in the role of mentor. He's finally something different than what we've seen. Everyone at Marvel always talks about high school Pete is the best Pete. But Pete hasn't been that in the main universe for a long time. But the movies and shows keep focusing on high school Pete like we aren't supposed to embrace the arc created for the character since the '60s.
I love Jake Johnson. The other Spider-Men and Women and Hams are fine. They are more than fine. They are completely perfect. But Jake Johnson as Nick Miller as Spider-Man is inspired. We are big New Girl fans in our household. We're sad that its gone because it was a show that we both absolutely loved. Yeah, my wife has a weird crush on Jake Johnson / Nick Miller, but I'm okay with that because he's really funny. My wife kept laughing at the Peni Parker robot, which is pretty great. Since seeing this movie last Friday, my daughter has been asking me to break out my John Mulaney impression since then. If you want to hear it, listen to our year in review episode of the Literally Anything podcast. But the movie is straight up fun. It's very bananas, but it isn't as bananas as I thought it would go. Because of my obsession with this concept, I have been reading every article related to it. Apparently, Lord considered every crazy insane thing as well. There were probably drafts with the crazy version that played in my head also happening. Oh, sequels, as long as you maintain quality, you can't come fast enough. This movie is absolutely genius as a superhero film. Honestly, when it comes out on Blu-ray, I won't mind it playing fairly often. Remember, my kids loved it! My wife loved it! It is such a good time. That's what a superhero movie should be. It should be fun for everyone. It should have some depth to it, which it has in spade. It should have marvelous action pieces without being annoying. And there should be growth. There's so much growth here, you guys. I absolutely adored it and I can say that it might be my favorite Spider-Man movie. Oh...and I really like all of the other Spider-Man movies. Even Spider-Man 3. (But not as much.)
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.