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Saturday, December 15, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Spider-Man : Into The Spider-Verse
Bob Pesichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Liev Schreiber and others
Rating: * * * 1/2

Spider-Man : Into The Spider-Verse works with the thrilling premise (think of multiple franchise opportunities!) that there may be other ‘Spider-Persons’ in this world and in parallel universes.

Directed with great flair by Bob Pesichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, the animated film is visually daring and fun to watch, more so for Spidey fans who get more webslingers than they could have bargained for, and wrapped in a sweet family plot that makes the frenetic action and occasional incoherence worthwhile. And to top it all, for politically correct times, the young protagonist is African-American and Puerto Rican.

It would help if the viewer was familiar with Spider-Man because characters like AuntMay andMary Jane Parker are in this film without an introduction.

Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), a 13-year-old student is about to experience some strange changes in his body, that he puts down to the onset of puberty, but were actually caused by being bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, just like Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man. His hands tends to stick to anything he touches, and it’s only when he meets his hero Peter Parker, that he realizes that he is a Spider-Man too, though he needs a bit of mentoring to make his superpowers work.

As the villain, Kingpin (Liev Schreiber), the huge hulk with a tiny head, messes with time and space with the help of a nuclear collider, Peter Parker is killed in  this universe; comic book creating icon Stan Lee, recently deceased,makes an appearance as himself to express regret at Spidey’s death.

But then, Spideys land from other universes- -a dark-haired, unshaven Peter B.Parker (Jake Johnson), a tough girl Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage) from the world of black and white gumshoe movies, Peni Parker (KimikoGlenn) a Japanese kid and, Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), a pig. Together they have to fight Kingpin, and his cohorts Prowler (Mahershala Ali) whose identity turns out to be a shock forMiles, and a Medusa-like Doc Ock (Kathryn Hahn).

The film has humour, warmth, adventure, classic coming of age and good vs evil tropes, and the simple but effective message of cultural inclusivity. What’s not to like, even if the bright colours and relentless movement threaten to bring on a headache.

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