Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follows scrappy teen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as he gains superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, with the movie, in addition to detailing Miles’ initial efforts at coping with his newfound abilities, revolving around Miles’ interactions with heroes’ from a variety of different dimensions (including John Mulaney’s Spider-Ham and Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir). It’s a decent premise that’s employed to consistently (and disheartening) underwhelming effect by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, as the directors deliver yet another tedious origin story that’s been augmented with a whole host of unappealing elements – with the most obvious and aggressively in-your-face example of this, surprisingly enough, the headache-inducing animation style. In their efforts at replicating the appearance of a comic book, the filmmakers have cultivated an unpleasant atmosphere that’s riddled with questionable instances of over-the-top style (including a baffling decision to blur the backgrounds, forcing one to occasionally wonder if they accidentally stepped into a 3D screening). Beyond that, though, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse suffers from an all-over-the-place, seemingly endless midsection that contains almost nothing for the viewer to embrace or enjoy – which is a shame, really, given that the picture boasts a raft of exceedingly entertaining voice performances. By the time the exhausting and absolutely interminable climax rolls around, however, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has certainly cemented its place as an uncommonly ill-advised animated endeavor that, extraordinarily enough, fares even worse than most live-action comic-book movies.
* out of ****