Before Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hit theaters, I read comments online asking “why” and saying that it doesn’t need to be a theatrical movie.

After seeing the new animated Marvel film, I have to say that it very much deserved the big-screen treatment, possibly surpassed Big Hero 6 in the realm of animated superhero movies and might be the best Spider-Man movie ever made.

Yeah, even better than Spider-Man 2.

It is also one of the best of the animated movies released in 2018 — by far.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse fought an uphill battle from the start, introducing Miles Morales as Spider-Man — someone comic book fans know all about but movie fans possibly have no knowledge of.

In the comics, Miles is the second Spider-Man to exist in the Ultimate Universe (which is where the Sam Jackson version of the Nick Fury character was originated and it is also a large influence on the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Miles took over the role of Spider-Man after Peter Parker died in a battle with the Green Goblin in order to save his family and friends.

There is a slight change in the movie as Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man while Peter Parker is still alive and kicking (and battling Green Golbin, Prowler, Kingpin and more baddies to start the movie). But, alas, soon Miles is the only Spider-Man left alive.

That is … until alternate dimensions open up and Spider-Man’s from all over end up in Miles’ world. This includes a 30-something Spider-Man who is depressed and out of shape, a Spider-Man from a ’30s era black and white Noir world, Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy becomes Spider-Woman after Peter dies in her world), and Spider-Ham (an anthropomorphic pig).

Fans of Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series know a number of these characters from when they had a Spider-Verse crossover a few years back. Now, it is time for movie fans to join in on the fun.

These different Spider-Man’s have to team up to stop Kingpin — who is trying to open up the wormhole to bring his dead wife and son back to him by stealing them from another dimension. While he has the help of a genius Doctor Octopus (gender-swapped in Miles’ world), he also threatens to destroy the entire multiverse.

The movie was produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the guys behind The LEGO Movie) and it was obvious. They brought their love of the subject matter to the movie and delivered a film that paid homage to what came before and then surpassed them all.

Humorously, there were references to every Spider-Man movie, with Peter hanging upside down to kiss Mary Jane, a Doc Ock attack on a coffee shop, and even the dancing Peter Parker from Spider-Man 3.

The movie itself was created in a spectacular comic book style, with panels popping up occasionally, word balloons and those wonderful exclamations after a punch from the old Batman TV show. And unlike Ang Lee’s Hulk, it never feels weird here.

The story itself is what carries this movie over the top. Miles is a kid — probably around 13 — and he was an outcast before he ever gained the powers of Spider-Man. He has a rough relationship with his police officer dad, who wants only the best for him, and a great relationship with his uncle that turns complicated.

The voice cast is also great. From the big name actors, such as Chris Pine voicing the Peter Parker from Miles’ world to Nicolas Cage as the perfect Spider-Man Noir and Liev Schreiber killing it as Kingpin. Add in a great Shameik Moore as Miles and Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy and these actors knocked it out of the park.

Now, let’s talk Miles Morales.

When he first appeared in the Ultimate Universe, he was advertised as the first major Latino hero to take on one of the major roles in the Marvel Universe. He ended up spectacular in his run and really took on such a great life of his own that Marvel kept him around when they shuttered the Ultimate Universe.

In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, he was even better. In making Spider-Man a young kid, barely a teen — if that — they created something special. His relationship with his family is so dynamic and powerful and this character brought so much heart into this movie that he carried it to immense heights.

Honestly, I love Peter Parker and he has been my favorite character since I was a kid. The Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is better than Peter Parker and that says a lot coming from me.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not only a great animated movie, but it is a great movie — period. This sits high on my list of 2018 releases and is the best Spider-Man story I have seen on the big or small screen.

This is an easy recommendation. See it. You will love it.

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