This is a movie that looks and feels like a comic book artistically without being cornball or gimmicky. Rather, this is all about aesthetic choices. The movie looks darned pretty and it sounds beautiful. As a lucky dad and overall inconsiderate movie-goer, we had to bring my seven-month-old to see the movie.
Before I am lambasted, we saw a matinee, which is potentially the most acceptable time to see a movie with a baby. But that soundtrack entertained her to no end. Daddy got away with a lot of jumpy-jump time to a soundtrack that was melting my face off. It’s a quality movie that embraces what animation can do versus shying away from it.
My son did scream at one point. Henry gets very scared, very easily. The movie scared him once so intensely at one point that he screamed. On the whole, the movie isn’t scary, but there are many loud noises and startling jumps. From a Catholic perspective, I do have to mention that the Peter Parker from the alternative universe unfortunately divorced Mary Jane Watson. It is a central character trait of his, trying to win back his wife. But the word “divorce” is only thrown around once or twice and even then, it is very quickly. The bad guys can get pretty scary. Because the film is so stylized, many of the villains appear larger than life, especially in the case of the Green Goblin and the Kingpin. The Kingpin, the central villain of the film, is a killer. I wasn’t thrilled that my four-year-old watched the bad guy kill someone, but he took it like a champ.
On the positive side, however, Miles is an extremely relatable character. Often getting in trouble for his obsession with graffiti, he has to deal with a father who has a hard time communicating with him. Miles is extremely smart, but ashamed of his intellect. He is this kid who balances popularity with academic success. He’s the kind of kid I want Olivia to admire. He has realistic problems and the way that he deals with them seems realistic. Sure, he has spider-powers. But he does the best with his abilities despite the fact that he doesn’t want to.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is possibly the best superhero movie of 2018, and that is in a year that had both “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther”. Besides looking great and having fantastic characters, it is a funny film. Spider-Man was always a funny superhero and now we have more than five separate Spider-People / Animals.
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Every character is well-developed with his or her own personalities and senses of humor. Jake Johnson is pretty much his character from “New Girl” as a superhero. I say that with the utmost respect because that character is perfect. Hailee Steinfeld makes her Spider-Gwen a genuine rock star. Nicholas Cage, of Nicholas Cage fame, somehow ideally channels the noir detective of 1920s so perfectly that I didn’t know I needed it in my life way before this point. I oddly laughed more at Kimiko Glenn’s Peni Parker more than I thought I would, considering that I rarely found the character interesting from the comic books. But casting John Mulaney as Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham? Inspired. Absolutely inspired.
This movie isn’t necessarily for kids. It can be for kids, but I really recommend that kids be prepared with some of the source material ahead of time. My kids knew what was going to happen with the characters and that went a long way. But part of the experience was sitting down with a big stack of comic books and letting my kids discover the long history of Spider-Man throughout the ages. Sitting in that theater with my entire family in awe of the spectacle on that screen was more than I thought my little nerd heart could imagine and I loved every minute of it.