Sunday, March 17, 2019

Video review: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

Apparently, it takes an animated superhero to defeat Disney/Pixar.

I don’t mean to imply that the animation giant from Mouse House is deserving of villain status. Far from it. But they’ve dominated the Academy Awards category for best animated feature and short for a dozen years at least. It was time for new blood.

That’s why I think it’s great that “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won the animated Oscar. Aside from simply being the best animated feature film of 2018, it also has a welcome theme about how anybody can find their inner superhero.

The idea is that several alternate universes collide, bringing a half-dozen or so different versions of Spider-Man into this existence. Peter Parker is still around, but as a burnt-out, middle-aged and paunchy version of himself.

The real star is Miles Morales (voice of Shameik Moore), an Afro-Latino teenager who finds himself manifesting the same Spidey powers. Other iterations include a couple of spider-girls, a film noir version (Nicolas Cage) and even a pig version named Spider Ham (John Mulaney).

They’re all battling Kingpin (Liev Schreiber), who’s building some kind of massive collider machine, along with a host of other reimagined Spider-Man foes: Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, etc.

Told in a cool visual style that feels like flipping through a comic book, this is one new take on a well-worn hero story that’s truly fresh.

Video bonus features are sumptuous. Aside from the lack of a filmmaker commentary audio track, it’s just about the whole hog.

“We Are Spider-Man” is a deep-dive documentary into how anyone can find the hero inside them. “Spider-Verse: A New Dimension” looks at the film’s signature visual style.

Other features focus on the voice actors cast; a tribute to Spidey creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; an Easter Egg challenge; character designs; “Alternate Universe Mode” with alternate and deleted scenes; music videos; and an all-new short, “Spider-Ham: Caught In a Ham.”



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