Granger on Film / ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ is splashy, psychedelic
Aptly timed for the holiday season, this boldly animated adventure should delight comic-book fans of all ages.
“I always find a way to come back,” said Marvel’s aging Peter Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson), which forecasts his relationship with Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), an Afro-Latino teenager living in Brooklyn with his parents (voiced by Luna Lauren Velez and Brian Tyree Henry).
When his imprudent Uncle Aaron (voiced by Mahershala Ali) takes him deep into the subway system, Miles is bitten by a glowing radioactive spider, turning him green overnight. Suddenly, bewildered Miles finds he’s sticking to whatever he touches.
But could there be two Spider-Men? Why not?
Initially, Parker is reluctant to be Miles’ mentor, but he he sees something special in this savvy, biracial adolescent. And because of a glitch in the space-time continuum, web-slingers appear as Spider-guys, Spider-gals, even a Spider-Ham (voiced by John Mulaney), known on Larval Earth as Peter Porker.
So who’s the villain? It’s Kingpin (voiced by Liev Schreiber), who can access alternative universes.
Based on Marvel comics’ characters, the irreverent, cleverly chaotic screenplay is credited to Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, who directs along with Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsay. Spinoffs, anyone?
Plus there’s Aunt May (voiced by Lily Tomlin), who lost her own Spidey (voiced by Chris Pine); strong, sensible Spider-Gwen (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld); and Spider-Man Noir (voiced by Nicolas Cage) with his Rubik’s cube.
“Anyone can wear the mask; you can wear the mask,” Miles concludes. And almost everybody does.
FYI: In a cameo, Stan Lee sells Miles his first Spider-Man costume, assuring him, “They all fit — eventually.” There’s a concluding tribute to recently deceased cartoonists Lee and Steve Ditko — with a nod to the past: “Approved by the Comic Books Authority,” citing the self-regulatory agency that once banned horror and monster stories.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a splashy, psychedelic 8 — appealing particularly to those well versed in Spider-Man lore.