Tim Burnham’s review published on Letterboxd:
I watch this and I wonder why Spider-Man ever bothered to shackle itself to live action. That said I’d love a Chris Pine/Shameik Moore film but that’s a rabbit hole of dream casting that there’s just no time for.
This is the only Spider-Man movie you ever need to see. Ever. Serious. People holding onto SM2 have to at some point admit the nostalgic component of their praise. This is both a crash course in a world you probably have little interest in learning about and an intricate exploration of some of the weirder and more colourful corners of the Marvel Spider-Man world. It’s also endlessly clever and richly textured with a thousand jokes that have nothing to do with Spider-Man but then a thousand more that have everything to do with him.
Also, this film does things I have never seen animation do before, ever. It completely changes the game and raises the bar and I shudder to imagine its imitators in the coming years. Just like how Lord and Miller revamped the animation world with their endlessly lovely and hilarious LEGO Movie, they’ve come and done it again, but so much more audaciously.
And to the comic people out there, this does for Spider-Man what The LEGO Batman Movie did for Batman. It’s a gushing love letter that encompasses every component of the character and the mythos and packs it into a bright and silly and clever film marketed for parents to drag their kids to.
We’re in the midst of Awards season and there isn’t a lot of just fun to be had. Not a criticism in any way, but this is a beautiful and rich palate cleanser to clear your head at the end of a tough and grimy 2018, before you dip back into the theatre for something dour and serious. This should absolutely take that Animated Globe and every other eligible award. And it should be shown to every aspiring animator....or just to any aspiring storyteller.
Superhero fatigue is real. I’ve been a comic book person my whole life and this last year, almost every cbm has felt like something of a chore as the studios back into their corners and refuse to budge from their formulas. Making us go through the motions with them. But this film is a frustrating reminder that genre is only a starting point and there’s no excuse for lazy storytelling. You can dress the same story up until the end of time and still entertain people if you just make an actual effort to bring something fresh and interesting to it.
And Jake Johnson’s overweight and depressed, crying-in-the-shower Spider-Man may just be the most relatable superhero I’ve ever seen and a new favourite.
I saw two really bold films tonight that cast off the boring confines and expectations of their genre and pedigree went for broke on films that could so so easily have crashed and burned. Instead they’re two of the best films I’ve seen all year.
2018 started so strong with films that spoke to my soul. Then there was a weird quiet period of pretty good films or ambitious films that never met their aspirations. But now, in the trenches of the year I’m feeling so reinvigorated by so many unlikely films that I never expected anything from. Certainly nothing game changing or interesting. These should be the standard of film. Every film should show us something we’ve never seen before or, if telling a familiar story, make us actually hear the story with fresh ears for the way it is told. Film could be so much more than it already is and my love and admiration go out to that handful of filmmakers putting out films in this last quarter of the year that get that.
Also, because I found this interesting. I have only four recorded instances of giving two 5/5’s on the same day.
December 14, 2018 - Vox Lux / Into the Spider-Verse
February 5, 2018 - Polytechnique / 12 Angry Men
December 26, 2016 - Jackie / La La Land
January 7, 2016 - Force Majeure /The Revenant