Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ★★★★½

”This is a pretty hardcore origin story.”

Trust me, you've never seen a film like this before.

Absolutely thrilled by how fun and fresh this was. You'd never have convinced me just by the trailers alone, which I feel like I've been watching before movies for an entire year. It was the reviews here and other word-of-mouth that got me to go tonight to catch this in 3D, and you gotta believe I was pleased to do it.

I don't read comic books. I don't watch cartoons on TV. But I do appreciate good animated films. And this year I was beginning to think there wasn't anything like Coco in terms of quality and good storytelling. Incredibles 2 was fine, if you like objectivist horseshit philosophy. Ralph Breaks the Internet was really funny but nowhere near as good as the first. Isle of Dogs definitely was unique, but Wes Anderson films are not for everyone. Everything else was lame (The Grinch) or simply not worth seeing.

That is, until Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. (Huh, those capitals and hyphens are kinda tricky.) Unquestionably the best animated movie of the year, and one of the best superhero movies in a long time.

Most of you reading this know the basic story, but when you watch, just go with it. Multiverse theory isn't supposed to be understood. A bunch of strange assumptions you have to make (a “leap of faith” as the film says), but it's all part of the fun.

The characters are great, especially when you only get touches of them from time to time and you're baffled by the complexity of the intertwined tales. The pacing is so good; unlike other bloated Marvel pictures, this breezes along. Like other very good animated films, it benefits immensely from the storyboard structure, and the touches of diversity in the characters and Brooklyn’s background is so refreshing. Oh, and the music is on point. A killer soundtrack.

But dear lord the animation. My goodness. Stunning and breathtaking and absolutely like nothing you've ever seen before. It has to be seen on the big screen. And 3D was quite cool, I'll admit; give it a shot if you can. A half dozen animation styles, wildly fluctuating color palettes, one-of-a-kind blending of completely different worlds. It's hard to explain, really, without seeing it in action.

Super impressed with this movie. What a great surprise on a Thursday night.

Added to The 50 Best (non-documentary) Films of 2018.

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