The filmmakers also play it heavily for laughs, especially in the learn-by-doing stage of Miles’ origin story — coming to grips with the whole “With great power comes great responsibility” thing — in a way that skews more toward older fans than kids or casual ones.
The one constant, which redeems most everything else, hinges on the swooping nature of the visuals, which explode with energy as Spider-Man swings, fights and occasionally careens across a skyscraper-filled New York.
Even if the chaotic finale drags on a bit, the movie also serves as a loving ode to the comics — including a tribute to Spider-Man creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko — that capitalizes on the attributes (and lower budgets) of animation to tell a story that indulges in the kind of quirkiness and eccentricity that would derail a live-action blockbuster. The film, notably, comes on the heels of Sony and Marvel’s collaboration on the live-action “Venom,” and it surpasses that by leaps and bounds.
Sony has already announced plans for a sequel and spinoffs, appearing determined to mine the nascent Spider-Verse for all it’s worth.
Granted, few properties creatively benefit from a studio being so intent on quickly strip-mining them, as Sony appears eager to do. For now, though, “Into the Spider-Verse” — even with its excesses — feels like one of the freshest spins on comic-book fare to swing into your friendly neighborhood cineplex.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” premieres Dec. 14 in the U.S. It’s rated PG.