By Ryan Keating-Lambert

★★★★☆

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is a playful, hilarious and revolutionary superhero film that let’s you try on that mask. It’s exhilarating and absolutely gorgeous to look at.
From writer/producer Phil Lord and producer Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie), Into the Spider-Verse sees Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) team up with different Spider-Men (and women) from multiple parallell universes, redefining the very idea of what we consider a superhero to be.

The fabric of time and space begins to tear, and glitch, using the most glorious combination of historic and modern animation that is truly indescribable. You’ve honestly never seen anything quite like this before. This is as much a tribute to great animation as it is to your friendly neighborhood superhero, who, let’s be honest, has never had too successful a run with Sony.

After Miles is bitten by a rather unusual radioactive spider, he develops his own signature Spider-like powers which he attempts to hide from his police officer father, who isn’t the biggest fan of masked vigilantes.

After supervillain Wilson Fisk aka ‘Kingpin’ (Liev Schreiber) unveils his plans to open multiple portals to other dimensions, more Spideys show up to deal with the issue, including an older and slightly rounder version of the Amazing Spider-Man (Jake Johnson), ‘Spider-Woman’ aka ‘Spider-Gwen’ (Hailee Steinfeld), the moody ‘Spider-Man Noir’ (Nicolas Cage), the hilarious ‘Spider-Ham’ (John Mulaney) a la Looney Tunes – yep, you read correctly, and of course ‘Peni Parker’ and her lovable anime spider-bot (Kimiko Glenn).

The squad of heroes make for an entertaining and witty reflection on the evolution of the superhero and the values that each generation has held dear to them. Miles, inspired by the others, tries to do his own thing by learning from each of them, while also dealing with his own family issues, and Moore’s performance is a refreshing take on the hero.

The film isn’t afraid to get serious. There’s a strong focus on that commonly shared grief that we all possess no matter who we are and what background, or universe, we are from. Unlike other recent films in the genre that try to be everything and fail miserably (what in the hell was Venom actually supposed to be?), Into the Spider-Verse is a thrilling yet thought-provoking film with trippy visuals, hilarious one-liners (think LEGO movie) and heart-warming relationships – Miles and Johnson’s Spider-Man steal the show, but the Porky-Piggish Spider-Ham is definitely up there as well.

Related: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse generates awards buzz

This superhero outing is so good that it’s sure to launch an entire franchise of animated superhero films, which actually make it to the cinema rather than the usual straight-to-DVD stuff. Possible prequels and sequels are already in talks, along with a spin-off Spider-Gwen movie.

As usual, the parallel universe thing makes for endless possibilities, but let’s hope that they don’t milk it too much. There are parts of the film that are a little confusing and dop leave you slightly ajar, but are redeemed by the lovable misfits, and the animation which is so over the top at times, that it compliments the even more over-the-top narrative just right. In this case, more is more.

This is one of the most ambitious and self-aware animations I have ever seen. It even reminded me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit in terms of just how grand it is. Sony’s Spider-Man franchise has finally hit a homerun. About time! Awards season approaches…

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is screening in both its original version with Czech subtitles, and with Czech dubbing.

Photo: Falcon CZ

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