Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse First Reviews: Bold, Unique Animated Take Reinvigorates the Superhero Genre

Early reviews for Sony's Into the Spider-Verse say it might be the best animated film of 2018 – and (maybe) the best Spider-Man movie ever.

by | November 28, 2018 | Comments

Spider-Man is swinging back into theaters anew. No, we’re not getting another franchise reboot. Instead, Sony’s separate animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is kicking off something completely different, and according to the first, all-rave reviews, it’s a fresh, funny, and groundbreaking start. Focused mostly on the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man, the movie sees him joined by other incarnations from different universes, and the result seems to be as hilariously irreverent as it is moving and sincere.

Here’s what the critics are saying about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse:

Let’s dive right into the Positive-Verse:

It’s pure dorky fun.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

It’s terrific — a quick-witted entertainment, daring and familiar by turns, that also proves to be sweet, serious and irreverent in all the right doses.
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

Wait, so it’s one of 2018’s highlights?

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [is] the best animated movie of the year.
Jason Guerrasio, Business Insider

This year’s best animated movie…a great Spider-Man adventure for everybody.
Susana Polo, Polygon

Sony Pictures Animation

(Photo by © Sony Pictures Animation)

But did we really need another Spider-Man movie?

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t just the best Spider-Man movie to date, but it’s also better than most of the Spider-Man comics I’ve read.
Edward Douglas, The Weekend Warrior

[Spider-Verse] has one of the best Spider-Man movie stories ever.
David Griffin, IGN Movies

In a wide field of Spider-Mans to choose from, it is the strength of Miles Morales’ story that makes him a standout character.
Susana Polo, Polygon

Spider-Verse sounds like an evolution of comic-book movies.

Tragic news for anyone who’s sick of superhero movies: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse completely reinvigorates the genre.
David Ehrlich, IndieWire

Into the Spider-Verse translates the visual language of comics onto the big screen better than any movie since Ang Lee’s Hulk.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Few recent films have embraced the comic book style and sensibility as wholeheartedly as Spider-Verse has, or enjoyed as fully the potential in combining the two mediums.
Angie Han, Mashable

How fresh is the animation style?

The film’s wild and contradictory aesthetic — elements of which clash against each other like some kind of dissonant cartoon jazz — dazzlingly explodes the outmoded idea that superhero movies have to look a certain way.
David Ehrlich, IndieWire

The unique and often brilliant 3D animation style is a fantastic aspect of the movie, though it does take some time to get used to.
David Griffin, IGN Movies

While Spider-Verse is colorful, whip-fast and full of visual references to the four-color printing process and comic book sound effects, it never overwhelms.
Susana Polo, Polygon


(Photo by © Sony Pictures Animation)

How are the multiple Spider-folk?

What makes Spider-Verse an essential entry in the superhero canon is the richness of its good guys.
– Brian Truitt, USA Today

I would optimistically describe [Spider-Gwen’s] role in Spider-Verse as ‘a great setup for a spin-off,’ which isn’t quite the same as saying she gets a lot of great stuff to do in this movie.
– Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly

OK, but what about the script?

What distinguishes Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in the end is that it takes its mission seriously, even when it’s being transparently silly.
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

[Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman[ have written a thoughtful, nuanced story that explores Morales’s uncertainty over whether he deserves the powers he has.
Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

Is there a ton of Easter Eggs and self-parody?

In the same way that The LEGO Batman Movie paid homage to and even poked fun at previous portrayals, Into the Spider-Verse follows suit.
David Griffin, IGN Movies

Spider-Verse often feels like a weightier, more ambitious version of The Lego Batman Movie, but it’s not all irreverent wisecracks and goofball voicework.
Jesse Hassenger, AV Club

Spider-Verse is a spiritual sidequel to the Deadpool films, another holier-than-thou snarkfest inviting you to laugh at superhero tropes without ever once challenging those tropes.
– Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

(Photo by © Sony Pictures Animation)

How good (er, evil) are the villains?

[Lord and Rothman] create a deeply personal story for the infamous villain that feels more authentic than the easy ‘I want to take over the city for no reason’ approach.
David Griffin, IGN Movies

[There’s a] version of the Green Goblin far more menacing than the live-action films ever offered.
Peter Debruge, Variety

So far, so good. Any drawbacks?

It unfortunately exhausts itself and its creators’ cleverness by running at least 20 minutes too long.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

The action tends to feel clunky and over-stylized.
Peter Debruge, Variety

Should I stick around through the credits?

Stick around through the end credits…it’s worth it, trust me!”
Edward Douglas, The Weekend Warrior

Into the Spider-Verse has one of the best comic-book movie post-credits scenes ever. Don’t you dare leave before the end of the closing credits.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opens everywhere on December 14.

Adjusted Score: 118126%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Bitten by a radioactive spider, teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into Spider-Man. He must now... [More]

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