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Movie Review: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Runtime: 117 mins

Release Date: December 14, 2018

Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Starring: Shameik Moore

               Jake Johnson

             Mahershala Ali

             Hailee Steinfeld

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is definitely tied for the most unique and entertaining animated film of the year. The other film fighting for that spot is Wes Anderson’s sophomore effort in stop-motion animation, “Isle of Dogs.” “Incredibles 2” is firmly in second place for me, though a compelling argument can certainly be made that it deserves the No. 1 position. But I digress.

The animation used in “Into the Spider-Verse” is truly a sight to behold. It is a mix of different animation styles, unfiltered energy in the movement and action and a bright and punchy color palette, which makes the movie feel like comic book panels come to life.

The numerous sight gags and hidden Easter eggs further prove how much time, effort and attention to detail this team of animators put into this film. I just wish all of that effort went toward telling a more interesting and well-written story.

This is not to say the story is bad; it is perfectly serviceable. I was just a bit disappointed given the high expectations I had of its screenwriter. Phil Lord (“The Lego Movie,” “21 Jump Street”) is credited as half of the writing team responsible for this script. Granted, Lord is not working with his usual writing partner, Christopher Miller, but I still expected better from him.

The plot is basically an excuse to have several different characters from alternate dimensions who are their universe’s version of Spider-Man. This is a highly ambitious concept, which could have easily been a disaster, but it works really well. My problem is the enemy these various Spider-People are uniting to defeat does not seem all that threatening. Sure, the villain kills people, and he certainly poses a threat, however, he does not have much of a presence, nor convinces the audience he is someone we should be afraid of.

With all of the fantastic villains in Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery, I struggle to understand why Kingpin was used. He is not a bad villain, but I do not think he works for this movie. Several plot holes and thematic inconsistencies make these problems worse.

There are also some unfortunate music choices, which spoil the atmosphere the film was going for.

Despite its flaws, “Into the Spider-Verse” is an incredibly entertaining movie, which most everyone will enjoy. I suspect the reason I am not singing its praises as much as most other critics is because my expectations were just too high.

Drew Eckhart is a sophomore history and pre-law major from Edmond, OK. He has loved movies for as long as he can remember but thinks his passion really began when he watched “The Dark Knight” for the first time in theaters. His favorite type of movie blends comedy and drama seamlessly, and he loves great action films. In Drew’s free time, he enjoys reading and playing video games, as well as watching TV and movies. His favorite TV show is “BoJack Horseman” and his favorite movie is “Whiplash.”

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