Multi-Dimensional ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

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Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – This animated take on Spider-Man gets a little stuck in a web entirely of its own making. Digging deeper into the weeds of the extended mythology of the comics, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” presents not one but at least seven different versions of the character.

There’s Peter Parker, old and paunchy divorceé Peter Parker, a 1940’s film noir version, a Japanese version (Peni Parker) who’s a squeaky voiced girl with a robot, Spider-Girl (aka Gwen Stacy), Peter Porker… Spider-Ham and Miles Morales (an African American teen at a trendy Brooklyn school who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, and his spidey senses start tingling). These versions are voiced by various actors, but the combination could be a little bit much for mere casual fans who might not track with all these alternate alleys.

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That Tingling Sensation: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

At least the movie seems to understand that this is a lot to take on, since the introduction of just about every new version of Spider-Man in the story comes with its own abbreviated origin story complete with different comic book titles. But rather than getting bogged down in this conflicting story lines, the film seems to enjoy scrambling things up and turning the superhero mythology on its head a little.

The plot involves minor league Spider-Man baddie Kingpin creating a giant gizmo to reverse time and open portals to other dimensions. But it goes haywire as Spider-Man tries to stop it and winds up transporting the six other alternate Spider-Mans into this dimension. This is a self referential take on the Spidey saga, with the screenplay by Phil Lord (who previously achieved animation wonders with both “The Lego Movie,” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”).

The jokes fly fast and furious so if you don’t like one, there’ll be a dozen more before it has a chance to register. But for me personally, they were batting about .250… I never thought I’d see a “Spider-Ham” on a movie screen. This Spider-Man is a far cry from the Saturday morning cartoon “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” that I watched growing up. Most notably it’s more diverse, with the Miles Morales version of Spidey – a person of color – taking center stage for a change.

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Gang of Webslingers in ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

I took my six-year-old twins with me to the screening, and they just dug it. They hadn’t seen any of these alternate Spidey story lines before, but they just absorbed it in like a sponge. My daughter asked me right afterwards if we could buy this. That’s a “thumbs up” if I ever heard one.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” opens everywhere on December 14th. Featuring the voices of Jake Johnson, Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, Liev Schreiber, and Nicolas Cage. Screenplay by Phil Lord. Directed by Bob Pershichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman. Rated “PG

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters

By SPIKE WALTERS
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com
spike@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2018 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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