Into the Spider-Verse is an­other in a long line of an­i­ma­tion films that proves more at­ten­tion needs to be paid to this medium. Don’t let the fact that this movie is an­i­mated or su­per­hero-cen­tric de­ceive you.

I found the an­i­ma­tion style to be bold, dif­fer­ent, and a bit weird. At one point, I was­n’t sure whether my sugar was high, or the screen was ac­tu­ally blurry. Thankfully, Kelly con­firmed it was not my di­a­betes. Eventually you get used to it, but the first few scenes are a bit dis­tract­ing.

The movie makes the bold de­ci­sion to feel very much like a comic book in cer­tain se­quences, and it pays off to cre­ate a vi­sual style noth­ing like I’ve seen be­fore. The rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Spidey Sense” with bright col­ors re­plac­ing the back­ground are straight out of the pan­els of a comic. Also, cap­tions are used on­screen to re­in­force Miles’ in­ner mono­logue, which is yet an­other trib­ute to the char­ac­ter’s be­gin­nings.

Spider-Man needs to be funny, but the care­ful bal­ance be­tween heart and silli­ness has­n’t been suc­cess­fully toed by many a writer. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. This film is rid­dled with won­der­ful ref­er­ences, funny jokes, yet im­por­tant mo­ments with a pow­er­ful mes­sage.

The voice cast did a lot to make those lines land. In par­tic­u­lar, Jake Johnson’s voice per­for­mance was noth­ing less than spec­tac­u­lar. While he’s most known for his char­ac­ter Nick on New Girl, most of the char­ac­ters I’ve seen him play are one-di­men­sional. Refreshingly, I felt he did a great job of play­ing Peter Parker, a char­ac­ter that calls for com­plex por­trayal. Peter is funny, silly, does­n’t know when to shut up, but deeply loves his Aunt May and MJ, and at his core cares about the lives of the peo­ple that sur­round him.

Stan Lee’s cameo stole the show for me, and brought tears to my eyes. His ap­pear­ances have been a de­light for decades now, and I even loved his part in DCs Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. But he’s nor­mally used for a funny one-liner. Into the Spider-Verse in­stead de­cided to make his cameo of vi­tal im­por­tance to Miles’ jour­ney, which was es­pe­cially a gut punch af­ter his re­cent pass­ing.

At the end of the day, it’s sim­ple: I loved this film. It’s a great story, with in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters and a strong theme. I hope more movies fol­low its lead.

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