By Mark Fields

One might ask if there haven’t there been enough live action Spider-Man movies? A fair question after so many of the films fell short, even far short of expectations (Spider-Man No Way Home is perhaps the exception that proves the rule). But in 2018, producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the manic geniuses behind The Lego Movie, captured lightning in a bottle with the release of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, an animated feature that explored the Miles Morales iteration of the character. That film was a fast-paced, high-energy explosion of color, inside jokes, and stunning visuals that gave new life to the franchise. Both the story arc and the financial success of the first film assured that there would be a sequel, which is arriving at our friendly neighborhood cineplexes this June.

How does the new film compare? Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse contains most of the same frenetic energy, humor, and visual brilliance of the first film, and builds on the story of Miles’ awkward adaptation to his new superhero role in satisfying detail. Much of the same voice cast is back — Shameik Moore as Miles, Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman, Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Morales, and Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker. The complicated plot continues the idea of multiple Spider-Men (and Women) in alternate universes coming together to face an overwhelming challenge. One really needs to have seen the first film to have any hope of keeping up. And it should be no surprise that this new features ends with a set-up for yet another. As long as they are made this well, keep them coming … please.

Mark Fields
Mark Fields has reviewed movies for Out & About since October 2008. In addition, he has written O&A profiles of documentarian Harry Shearer and actress Aubrey Plaza. Over the years, Mark also has written on film for several publications in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and his home state of Indiana, where he also served as on-air movie critic for Indianapolis’s public radio station. Mark was an adjunct instructor of film history at Rowan University from 1998 to 2018. A career arts administrator, he retired in fall 2021 after 16 years as an executive at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House. Mark now leads bike tours part-time and is working on a screenplay. He lives in Trolley Square with his partner Wendy. Mark spent the fastest 22 minutes of his life as an unsuccessful contestant on Jeopardy…sadly, there were no movie questions.