Hot Take: Best animated film of the year… and best superhero film of the year. There, I said it!
I remember sitting watching Black Panther earlier this year (which I still haven’t written a review on) and thinking nothing would top it when it comes to comic-based films. Then Avengers: Infinity War arrived. Immediately following that viewing, I thought the same thing. Since then many have tried (Because there might be a law that says a comic-based film must come out every 45 minutes) but none have reached the heights or depths these two films reached. On the animation side, Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs wowed early on in the year and it felt highly unlikely another animated film would come close to what it accomplished. Then Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse released. Not only was this film the best comic-based film of the year, it was also the best animated film of 2018, so far. There’s a few weeks left but does anyone think Aquaman could be better than any of the films mentioned previously? So, let’s go out on a limb and say Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best comic-based film AND animated film of 2018. (Note: At any point, I could eat crow and move something unseen ahead of it. Sorry, that’s just how it works.)
In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the experimental animated film acknowledges the fact there are many different Spider-Man characters. Based on the Miles Morales/Spider-Man storyline from the comics, the film actually tries to incorporate as many different versions of Spider-Man as possible. The results are, well, amazing (or spectacular, depending on which Spidey you prefer). The web the storytellers weave makes for an interesting premise and more compelling execution as each Spider-Man adds a unique wrinkle to the tale.
Voice talent-wise, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse features Shameik Moore in the Morales role with Chris Pine as Peter Parker, Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker, Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy, Nicholas Cage as Spider-Man Noir, Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker and John Mulaney as Spider-Ham. In addition to the Spider-Man characters, the film also features the voice talents of Liev Schreiber, Mahershala Ali, Zoe Kravitz, Lily Tomlin, Brian Tyree Henry, Kathryn Hahn and a cameo voice credit from Stan Lee.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse even nails the post-credits with a hilarious scene that riffs even further on the multiple Spider-Verses. For all of their efforts, the filmmakers behind the animated film (directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman and writers Phil Lord and Rothman in a dual role) have delivered one of the best films of the year, animated or not. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man or comic book films in general, you owe it to yourself to see this one. Even if you aren’t, I’d still recommend it.
It’s one of the more creative takes on established characters in quite some time.
If the words, “Best Spider-Man movie ever!” don’t excite you, stay home.