Raz’s review published on Letterboxd:
THIS IS THE SPIDER-MAN MOVIE I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR SINCE SPIDER-MAN 2!
Oh man what a massive treat this movie was. From the opening recap of Peter going through his life I fell in love. I love comics and although I haven’t read one in a while once I saw this films style I was enamoured. It’s with the style I’ll start because it’s so prevalent, this form of animation I’ve only seen relegated to shorts but I’ve always found an odd warmth to it. There’s a childlike wonderment to this style, not silky smooth like Pixar, not intentionally choppy like South Park. It’s in the middle ground but it is so beautiful. I loved the little comic touches, the speech bubbles, the commentary boxes, and the little action phrases. My favorite being “Bagel!”
Then comes Miles Morales, THIS is how you write a character! Within his first ten minutes you cared for him, the film was smart to introduce him with family and his everyday life of school. That’s what makes Spider-Man, the struggles of the normal and mundane parts of life. You instantly relate to the character and from there you will follow wherever he goes. The dynamic with his family is integral to the film and it’s so representative of the Spider-Man character and the themes of the struggle and importance of the small everyday things, bringing our hero to our level so we feel we can be in his shoes. Because of this when he falls we feel like we fall with him, which makes his subsequent triumphs all the more exhilarating. The film speaks constantly of how it’s not the mask it is who is underneath, that we can all be heroes (there’s a touching tribute to Stan Lee in the mid credits that teaches us this as well).
Peter, Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and Peni Parker were all amazing as well. Jake Johnson and Hailee Steinfeld are wonderful in their roles with the group forming a second family that takes in Miles. My surprise favorite was Spidey Noir, I found him utterly hilarious. These more established Spideys take on mentor roles for Miles. Besides Peter and Gwen the other three can get lost in the shuffle at points but their differing and bright personalities make what time they do have unwasted.
Kingpin is a good villain. Formidable and for once in a long time: threatening. Super hero films of late have had a problem where their villains feel like mere obstacles but with Kingpin each punch he landed on our heroes brings growing concern because early on the film establishes he is no mere obstacle to glory.
My only real gripe with the film was the soundtrack. Lots of trendy licenses songs. I wish there were more original scores to really add that oomph to the film.
Lastly, that second end credits scene. OMG. I LAUGHED SO HARD. Holy shit. It was the best. Genius to use a popular Spidey meme for comedy which is something done right. Unlike the Marvel Studios films the humor was organic and put in all the right spots to illicit genuine laughs.