Into the Spider-Verse: Bringing fresh legs to Spider-Man movies

by Russell Baillie / 15 January, 2019
RelatedArticlesModule - Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse movie review

Animated irreverence creates a thrilling, funny and stirring movie that feels as if it’s taking place inside a comic book.

Every Marvel Comic character movie starts with a trademark opening title of flickering pages before the action starts and, increasingly, the boredom and déjà vu begin.

But after its obligatory nod to the source, Spider-Verse doesn’t then give us the usual masked movie stars making computer-generated mayhem. It’s animated, spectacularly so, creating a thrilling, funny and stirring movie that feels as if it’s taking place inside a comic book.

It has much fun sending up the previous infinite loop of films about Peter Parker, teenage superhero. But it also celebrates Spider-Man’s enduring appeal as the everykid taking on the big bad world with his new-found arachnid abilities.

It is crowded, but happily so, with a diverse squad of five spider-folk, drawn through parallel universes via a Hadron Collider-like device, who come up against multiple villains. The new Spidey from this world is Miles Morales, a bright Brooklyn high schooler, who first appeared in the comics in 2011. Here, he finds he’s just the new kid on a block alongside a gone-to-seed Peter B Parker, an assured Spider-Woman, a retro-fitted Spider-Man Noir (voiced hilariously by Nicolas Cage), a Japanese robotics whiz-kid Peni Parker, and the Looney Toons-inspired Spider-Ham (aka Peter Porker).

It’s produced by Phil Lord (who co-wrote) and Christopher Miller, who set the bar for franchise irreverence with their Lego and Jump Street films before falling out with Disney on the Han Solo movie. On this one, they’ve delivered the best superhero film in an age. Save for an overlong psychedelic finale, it’s amazing. It suggests a further Spider-Verse spin-off is an idea that’s got legs.

IN CINEMAS NOW

★★★★

Video: Sony Pictures Entertainment

This article was first published in the January 19, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

The drama and the trauma behind NZ musician Shayne Carter's rise to the top
107207 2019-06-15 00:00:00Z Music

The drama and the trauma behind NZ musician Shayne…

by Mike White

Shayne Carter’s career has been wild and acclaimed. But his just-released memoir reveals the drama and trauma going on behind the scenes.

Read more
Rare photos of the Straitjacket Fits by Brian Murphy
The Handmaid's Tale is so chilling, you risk hypothermia
107150 2019-06-15 00:00:00Z Television

The Handmaid's Tale is so chilling, you risk hypot…

by Diana Wichtel

Season three of The Handmaid’s Tale packs a punch, despite some implausible scenes, writes Diana Wichtel.

Read more
Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused pleads not guilty to all charges
107204 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Crime

Christchurch mosque attacks: Accused pleads not gu…

by Anneke Smith

The man accused of the Christchurch terror attacks has pleaded not guilty to all the charges laid against him.

Read more
One thing is certain: Political biffo is unavoidable in NZ Parliament
107183 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Politics

One thing is certain: Political biffo is unavoidab…

by Bevan Rapson

Despite overdue efforts to improve Parliament's culture, political biffo will always be with us.

Read more
The sweeping proposal to lower speed limits is on the skids – it's a good thing
107144 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Social issues

The sweeping proposal to lower speed limits is on…

by The Listener

Transport officials’ enthusiasm for a sweeping lowering of speed limits looks set to go the way of the once-proposed ban on cats in dairies.

Read more
Are New Zealand's intelligence agencies watching the right people?
107185 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Social issues

Are New Zealand's intelligence agencies watching t…

by Phil Pennington

New Zealanders who feel they've done nothing wrong have found themselves under surveillance by the state and say they've been left nervous.

Read more
Never Look Away: A flawed masterpiece about life in WWII-era Germany
107122 2019-06-14 00:00:00Z Movies

Never Look Away: A flawed masterpiece about life i…

by James Robins

Epic drama captures an artist navigating the upheavals of Nazi and post-war Germany.

Read more