Okay, I’m as bored as any filmgoer with these endless superhero sequels, mashups and reboots. And your friendly neighborhood web-slinger stands out as having been put through more of these “re-imaginings” (cash grabs) than most other super-beings. So I was quite unprepared going in for what is arguably the best Spider-Man movie ever.
Hats off to screenwriters Phil Lord (The Lego Movie) et al for coming up with this hip, fresh, funny and limitlessly creative new approach to the wall-crawler’s saturated canon, a complex but comprehensible romp that doesn’t abandon the basics. The animation is spot-on, making you feel as though you’re reading a comic book, and needless to say, way more true than live action to the character’s roots.
Considering the trailers and even the title, it’s no spoiler to tell you that the story bravely dives into the metaphysical concept of parallel universes, giving us more than one spider-person. The story centers on newly spider-bitten teenager Miles Morales (voice by Shameik Moore), who is joined by old pro Peter Parker (Jake Johnson/Chris Pine), a cute Spider-Girl (Hailee Steinfeld), a black & white Noir Spider-Man (Nicolas Cage!), a wide-eyed Japanese anime Spider-Cutie (Kimiko Glenn) and even a Spider-Ham named “Peter Porker” (John Mulaney). Other voice talent includes Mahershala Ali, Lily Tomlin, Liev Schreiber and Oscar Isaac. Loved the late Stan Lee’s animated cameo.
The adjectives, then: joyous, exuberant, sweet, raucous, self-referential, visually explosive, sharply edited and an absolute blast in any dimension you choose. (117 min)