Perhaps it was me, but I sensed a smidgen of negativity towards my review of Avengers: Infinity War. Like, just featuring Rocket Raccoon on the poster (he's in there somewhere, I'm sure) just wasn't enough for some of you. To be fair, if Infinity War ends up winning the Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, as billion dollar box office blockbusters from Disney are known to do, well, that would be both bad and also probably completely my fault, so preemptive apologies if it does!
Now I'm reviewing another Marvel movie with a supporting character who's totally furry, but that's about it. In this case, it's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and that character is Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham (voiced by John Mulaney), an anthropomorphic spider (bitten by a radioactive pig, see). On one hand, despite being a part of a much larger cast, I feel Rocket got a slightly bigger role in his movie. He has his own subplot with a bit of an arc to it, while Peter Porker is basically just another member of the team; the movie's focus is on other teammates.
On the other hand, Spider-Ham is part of a much smaller ensemble, so though his role is smaller, his screentime is bigger, and though the movie focuses more on the three versions of Spider-Man that are the most "normal" (Miles Morales, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy) rather than the "gimmicky" characters (Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker and Spider-Ham), Spider-Ham gets the most attention of that trio, being the last of the three to leave and the one who gets the stand-out action beat (as well as being just a scene-stealer in general).
And on the gripping hand, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is just a way better movie than Avengers: Infinity War.
The story follows Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), a normal kid who also happens to be a talented graffiti artist, a calling not exactly looked upon enthusiastically by his cop father (voiced by Brian Tyree Henry). His uncle (Mahershala Ali) is more supportive, taking him to an abandoned subway tunnel that he can tag in peace, other than a few spiders. You can guess how that turns out.
Meanwhile, in the very same tunnels, the villainous Kingpin (voiced by Liev Schreiber), is battling the movie's version of the original Ultimate Spider-Man (voiced by Chris Pine), which does not go well for either Kingpin or this version of Peter Parker. Kingpin was trying to bring alternate universes together, and instead only ended up bringing five alternate versions of Spider-Man to this universe. These five team up with Miles in order to return to their own universes, as well as stop Kingpin's plan, which will almost certainly destroy the multiverse if allowed to continue.
The plot is pretty standard superhero stuff; the more experienced Peter Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson) admits as much at multiple points. Where the movie really takes off is that it uses animation to differentiate its characters and their original universes. Spider-Man Noir (voiced by Nicolas Cage) is black-and-white only, while Peter Porker is animated in a more cartoon-ish style. It makes a very valid argument that maybe we should just do all these superhero movies animated, because it allows the look of the movie to be both much more "comic book" like, and allows the already pretty impractical to film things happening on-screen to be just that much more impractical.
Peni Parker (voiced by Kimiko Glenn), who is given an anime-esque style, deserves a bit more explanation, as she's probably the most divergent character from the prototypical Spider-Man. Peter is the standard Spider-Man, Miles, Gwen and even Noir are pretty standard What If? characters, and funny animal superhero parodies are a dime a dozen. But Peni is actually psychically connected with the spider that bit her. Together, they fight crime! Technically, this spider is a little bit anthropomorphic as well; he spends most of the movie in the spider-like mecha he and Peni pilot, SP//dr, but you get to see him near the end.
I have to confess, I'm not the biggest fan of Spider-Man. I just never liked the character much either in comics or cartoons, and I have to say that I find the aura of awe that some people seem to want to confer to the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies a bit perplexing. I liked the third, which Spider-Verse goes out of its way to make fun of, because it ended. So, me saying this is the best of the Spider-Mans is maybe not the greatest recommendation. However, it really is.
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a red fox
New teeth. That's weird.
Watching that scene from Spider-Man 3 again just makes me appreciate Tom Hardy's rendition of the symbiote's less-appealing "enhancements" more.
Also, my favorite Spider-Man movie is the PS4 game that came out this year.
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