By Dave B.
We all know the general outline of the story: In Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (currently on Netflix), teenager Miles Morales finds himself thrust into the role of Spider-Man after being bitten by a radioactive spider. He faces incredible odds, suffers devastating losses, and manages to find a way to stand up again. It’s a tale as old as time (or at least as old as human storytelling) so the key to tell it successfully is to do so in new, creative, and compelling ways. Spider-Verse accomplishes these goals and so much more.
I’ll save the suspense: Spider-Verse is probably the best new movie that I’ve seen in my year-plus of reviewing movies. All of the main characters are likeable and relatable, the soundtrack is great, and the animation is both quirky and sophisticated. From a purely technical perspective, Spider-Verse is about as good as it gets when it comes to American animated feature films and televisions shows.
More impressively, I would go so far as to contend that Spider-Verse manages to do what no other superhero movie has done: make a plausible case for it’s title character to supplant Superman as the global representative of American values in the this generation. I’ve made no secret of my issues with Superman both as a hero and as a storytelling device. Heroes that are always good and nearly all-powerful aren’t just boring, they’re also impossible to relate and aspire to. In Spider-Verse’s depiction of Morales and other alternate universe Spider-Beings, we’re presented with heroes who are powerful and “fortunate” to have acquired their power, but who are not INHERENTLY better than humankind as a whole nor so overpowered that they can’t conceivably lose. As an audience, we like Morales (and the other Spider-Beings) because they strive, suffer, and overcome just like we do.
I have nothing negative to say about Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. For many movies, a 116 minute runtime can feel long, but I would not have minded another 15 minutes or so to this film. It’s combination of heroism and humor (and it’s VERY funny at times) is a delight. I can’t recommend it more highly and the only reason that I’m not giving it a Perfect 10 rating is that it doesn’t inspire in me the same depth of feeling that as the two members of that rarefied list. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, now’s the time. I promise you won’t regret it.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.