I finally got around to watching this movie online and can now confirm that all the positive buzz about this movie is totally justified. It’s kind of a bizarre story, but this movie is relevant in a way that nearly all animated movies are not. From the characterizations to the music to the animation style, this movie is fun and youthful and incredibly creative. Everything about it feels fresh and new. If this is the new wave of animation, I’m all in. The premise is that there are multiple parallel universes and a Spider-entity exists in all of them. Plot happens and the universes collide, bringing 6 versions of Spider-Man (some female, one not even human) into the same universe… or “Spider-Verse”, if you will. It’s a modern concept for a modern movie.
Add to that the innovative animation style, and you have a real winner on your hands…literally – this movie actually beat Pixar for Best Animated Film at the Oscars this year, and I say Hallelujah to that. The movie honors and stays true to its comic-book roots, it’s a literal translation of a comic into a live-action film, complete with thought bubbles, narration boxes and on-screen sound effects (blam!). I can see why comic fans were creaming their jeans over this movie… and though it’s a comic-book movie for comic-book fans, you don’t have to be a fan of comics or even know any of the full story or characters to enjoy it. At its heart, this is a coming-of-age story for new character and Spider-Person to be Miles Morales, and his story is told with an authenticity that makes you really believe the character. The writing is intelligent and funny, and peppered with just enough clever meta references to throw fans a bone without being overkill. Then there is the fantastic voice-work! I was especially impressed with Jake Johnson as the older, busted version of Spider-Man, his dry wit is absolutely perfect for the character.
My only complaint is that i didn’t get to free download the movie and it is a bit too long; two full hours is a bit much for an animated film and it tends to drag, and I got a little bored at times. But that’s a small price to pay for such a pioneering piece of work, the raw ingenuity of the film more than makes up for its erratic pacing. This is the kind of movie that a bunch of super nerdy and creative college kids would make in their spare time if they had unlimited funds (and at least a few of them were high). Which, in a way, I guess that’s exactly what it is. The film was created by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the genius behind “The LEGO Movie”, and these two dudes have their finger on the pulse of the cultural zeitgeist more than any other filmmakers working today… which I think is why this film feels more significant than your standard animated kids’ flick. If you like animated films, comics, or just enjoy watching something different than you’ve seen before, definitely make this one a priority to see. And don’t forget to watch the post credits scene! It’s awesome.