Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Viewed – 19 July 2019. Online rental

I wasn’t that fussed about watching this. This is mainly down to the fact, I’ve found the recent Spider-Man movies underwhelming.  However I kept hearing good things about this, especially the animation so I thought I’d give it a go.  Miles, a young black kid with a talent for graffiti, gets bitten by a radioactive spider after trespassing into an underground facility.  There he witnesses a battle between Spider-Man and various super villains just as an experimental device creates an inter-dimensional rip in reality.  Soon after Miles discovers he has wall crawling abilities just as various other ‘Spider-Men’ appear from alternative realities.

Immediately I was taken back by the excellent animation and particularly wowed by how it combines the look of 2D comic book art with CGI – it’s certainly a style I want to see more of.  The story whilst initially a bit cliched anchors itself with convincing relationships and a solid learning-to-be-a-hero ark.  The various multi-verse versions of Spider-Man are also a great idea ranging from a brooding noir style to Japanese animation and even a Porky Pig-style incarnation.  We also get the semi-usual Spider-Man and even Spider-Gwen.  Action throughout is also inventive, exciting and a visual showcase.

Villain Kingpin’s look is too exaggerated for my liking, but characters like The Prowler (something about that guy sends shivers) and Doctor Octopus are a welcome addition.  For a movie called ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ the fact multiverses aren’t especially explored is disappointing, and the final battle has a bit of a weak conclusion.  However for a Spider-Man movie this is a step-up from The Amazing Spider-Man movies and even Homecoming.  Recommended.

Verdict: 3.5 /5

The Amazing Spider-Man

Viewed – 19 July 2012  Cinema

Few of you would disagree that this came as a surprise when it was first announced.  Although Spider-Man 3 was a bit of a let down, what director Sam Raimi and star Toby Maguire achieved with the original (not so long ago) Spidy franchise was incredible.  So why the need for a re-boot?  Well as a long time Spider-Man fan I still had time for the webbed wonder no matter what guise he comes in, and when you consider that gifted actor Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) had been chosen to fill Maguire’s boots, and love-interest Gwen Stacy is played by current hot property Emma Stone (Easy A) … I knew this had potential.

Peter Parker (Garfield) is abandoned by his parents and left to grow up with Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) but as he reaches adolescence, curiosity considering his missing father’s background gets the better of him and soon he is seeking out his father’s former business partner Dr Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans).  Yet on the discovery that his father was experimenting in cross-species genetics, he soon stumbles upon radio-active spiders, and before you can yell ‘spider-sense’ … Peter is a changed man.

Garfield is perfect as Parker / Spidy and brings some unexpected emotion and depth to the character that even Toby Maguire lacked … also proving far less nerdy.  His story may offer little new to the franchise apart from his parents back story, but it’s the relationship between Parker and Gwen Stacy that holds the most weight, proving to be one of the more convincing relationships of a comic-book adaptation.  Rhys Ifans’ scientist-turned-The Lizard offers little again that hasn’t been seen before.  Thankfully Ifans is good enough as Dr Conners, even if the part seems a bit beneath such a talented actor.  The same could be said for screen legend Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, but suits the ageing actor quite well.  Sally Field on the other hand barely makes an impression other than looking concerned a lot.   Emma Stone is as expected excellent and acts former love interest Kirsten Dunst (May Jane) off the screen for emotional range … also helps she’s damn fine-looking too!

Along with a series of impressive action sequences with decent effects and some real heart-in-mouth moments, this very nearly was the best Spider-Man movie yet.  Sadly its let down a by moments of corny dialogue and a fair few clichés (the school bully is called ‘flash’ for example).  Add to this plot threads that go nowhere (a vendetta against a robber is just ‘forgotten’ and really, why did Parker’s parents disappear?).  With a little more polish and possibly a more interesting villain  – this could have been well, amazing.  As it stands, it’s simply a very enjoyable and capable movie that proves one thing – there’s plenty of life left in ol’ Spidy yet.

Verdict:  3.5 /5