In the words of Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, "Good news, everyone!" The first official reviews for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (in theaters Dec. 14) are in and they're good. Like, really, really good.
In fact, everyone is praising the fact that the animated feature breathes new life into the Spidey film franchise, which, let's be honest, has gotten a little stale after so many reboots of the character.
Directed by the trio of Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, the movie was written by Rothman and Phil Lord. Not far off was Lord's usual directing/producing partner Chris Miller. Just as the duo subverted our expectations with 21 Jump Street, critics are writing that they de-construct what we love about Spider-Man and create something new, fresh, and exciting. Looks like Sony was right to fast-track a sequel and spinoff before the movie is even released.
One of the smartest things was to focus on a new Spider-Man, Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), the first Spidey of color, created by Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli just seven years ago. In less than a decade, Miles (aka the Ultimate Spider-Man) has become just as beloved as Peter Parker.
But Peter (Jake Johnson) is along for the Spider-Verse ride, as are Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), and Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage). Mahershala Ali (Prowler), Brian Tyree Henry (Jefferson Davis), Luna Lauren Velez (Rio Morales), Liev Schreiber (Kingpin), and Lily Tomlin (Aunt May) make up the rest of the A-list cast.
Take a look at what the critics are saying...
"The brilliance of Sony’s snappy new animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse shows itself in the project’s uncanny ability to simultaneously reset and expand all that has come before, creating an inclusive world where pretty much anybody can be the superhero … even you! Spider-Verse views Miles’ non-white background as a non-issue. Again, the takeaway here is anybody can be Spider-Man — and that’s a revolutionary idea for a generation of kids eager to identify with Marvel’s most popular superhero." -Peter Debruge, Variety
"Faced with the challenge of how to further expand the franchise without sating both the character and fans, Marvel and Sony have borrowed from the comics to introduce a fresh origin story that both references the past and swings into a new, thoroughly multi-cultural and multi-Spidified future. Although it unfortunately exhausts itself and its creators' cleverness by running at least 20 minutes too long, this sharp-minded variation on familiar elements looks to go over very well with its large target audience." -Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
"Moore’s performance has a pleasantly tossed-off quality, sounding almost improvised amidst all the digitality. He comes off like a pretty cool kid, which is maybe a minor problem for anyone dedicated to Spider-Man originalism ... The look of Spider-Verse feels fresh. The wall-to-wall soundtrack is fun. The first act successfully conjures a feeling of community and family history around its new superhero." -Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hits all the marks to be an all-around moviegoing blast. Miles Morales has a memorable big-screen debut thanks to a compelling story and strong performances from its heroes and villain. Alongside Peter Parker, Miles’ journey from everyday teenager to a genuine city-saving superhero is one of the best Spider-Man movie stories ever. The addition of other multiverse characters doesn’t overshadow Miles’ story, though Kingpin does get a bit shortchanged. Taking a bold departure from the Pixar animation style we’ve come to expect from mainstream animated films, Into the Spider-Verse delivers a dynamic visual experience unlike any other." -David Griffin, IGN
"The new animated movie is a sleek and soaring, a wonderful paean to the spirit of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s legendary webslinger, embodying the relentless hope and optimism of its hero in such a classic way. But it also unearths exhilarating new ground — by way of spectacular deviations from the norm that the Marvel Cinematic universe and live-action filmmaking don’t always allow for — that makes it feel like something tremendously innovative, while still traditionally Spidey." -Alex Abad-Santos, Vox
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse completely reinvigorates the genre, reaffirms why it’s resonating with a diverse modern audience that’s desperate to fight the power, and reiterates to us how these hyper-popular spandex myths are able to reinvent themselves on the fly whenever things get stale." -David Erlich, IndieWire
"Into the Spider-Verse provides a fresh new spin on the typical superhero origin story, especially the Spider-Man origin; not only because Miles is an inherently different character than Peter Parker, but because of the introduction of the multiverse ... Into the Spider-Verse demonstrate a unique style and a great deal of heart, qualities that undoubtedly set this superhero and his origin movie apart from other Spider-People/Spider-Man stories." -Molly Freeman, Screen Rant
"Lord and Miller have gotten as far as they have because they know that it’s not quite that simple. Before they can build a new chapter of a pop-culture legacy case, they must first deconstruct everything that’s come before. Their staunch refusal to take the blockbuster seriously got them kicked off Han Solo, but in this instance, it’s fully revitalized a series on course for creative collapse. May the Marvel overlords give Lord and Miller the keys to the rest of the MCU. They’re the only ones who can see that to save it, they must destroy it." -Charles Bramesco, The Guardian
"In the wake of comic-book legend (and Spidey creator) Stan Lee’s death, the film acts as a loving tribute to his life lesson that there’s a little hero in all of us. And it’s a slightly insane, hilariously daring and often touching mashup of everything that makes super-flicks so darn popular with the introduction of a Spider-Man who's ready-made for today’s generation of kids." -Brian Truitt, USA Today
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a raucous, smart, self-referential adventure. The comics-inspired visuals are stunning, and the emotional coming-of-age story is relevant and inspiring, even as it acknowledges the many Spider-Man movies that have come before it. Sony is clearly looking for a way to launch its own distinct take on Spider-Man that can stand up to the live-action MCU version, and that franchise now has its first installment." -Bryan Bishop, The Verge