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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Poster Image
Excellent, intense adventure has thrills, humor, heart.
  • PG
  • 2018
  • 116 minutes
 Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 52 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 89 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about friendship, mentoring, perseverance, the importance of power and responsibility, and working with others for the greater good. Characters must learn both to trust themselves and to rely on others. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith to succeed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Miles, like Peter Parker before him, actively works to find his place in a world where he's got powers only other Spider-people can understand. Miles is courageous, committed to doing the right thing, even when it puts him at risk. Miles' parents are supportive, encouraging, make it clear they have high expectations but also love him unconditionally. Peter, Gwen Stacy, other Spider-people each have talents, strengths they share with the group. Peter particularly helps train and mentor Miles -- and learns something about teamwork and selflessness. Strong diversity within central group of characters.

Violence

Intense large-scale action violence/destruction/explosions and close-up fighting/confrontation, nearly always between a Spider-person and enemies (monsters, bad guys, etc.). Frequent suspense/peril and potential for mortal danger. Chases, pursuits, narrow escapes; multiverse portal dangerously destabilizes the city. For the most part, superhero powers/laser-type weapons are used for fights/combat, but an actual gun is used to injure/kill a few characters. And (spoiler alert!) characters do die: Not only does one Peter Parker/Spider-Man die at the hands of a supervillain fairly early in the film, but so does an important secondary character later on. In quick flashbacks, various Spideys share whom they've lost; a villain's personal losses are also shown.

Sex

Miles flirts with Gwen using a move he learns from his Uncle Aaron. They later make eyes at each other but don't go further than hugging. Uncle Aaron jokes that his nephew has to have "game." A married couple embraces. Uncle Aaron says "smart girls is where it's at."

Language

"What the..." (unfinished), "crap," "hell," "dang," "freakin'"; insults like "janky," "old," "broke," "hobo," "fat," "stupid," "dumb," and "pig."

Consumerism

Marvel comics, Sony headphones/electronics, Nike feature in movie; billboards show brands like Coca-Cola (and tweaked alternate-universe brands too). Off-camera, tons of Marvel-based comics, toys, games, plus clothes, collectibles, house goods, much more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a funny, original, action-packed animated Marvel adventure that centers on Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), who becomes a new Spider-Man and ends up meeting other Spider-people from parallel universes. It's sure to appeal to Spidey fans of all ages, and it's more tween friendly than the live-action wall-crawler movies, but it's still pretty intense. And while the violence is mostly cartoonish, there are lots of fights that involve weapons (including guns), injuries, and even death. (Spoiler alert: One version of Spider-Man dies, as does an important supporting character.) There's also large-scale destruction, as well as frequent peril, suspense, and mortal danger. Characters flirt a little and occasionally use words like "crap," "hell," "dang," "fat," "stupid," and "dumb." But kids won't fail to notice the movie's diverse characters and clear messages about friendship, courage, mentoring, perseverance, teamwork, and (of course!) the nature of power and responsibility. Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Nicolas Cage co-star.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJackBlackWhite December 16, 2018

Really fun movie Just one flaw.... Fatter-man

I'm sure there are plenty of folks that are going to have a wonderful time at this movie and could care less from what I'm about to say. I brought my... Continue reading
Adult Written byStevie111 December 8, 2018

Perfectly done superhero movie has plenty of action despite PG rating

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse is a really well done superhero film with a great story and characters. The animation really impressed me. There was a great s... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bykooden December 14, 2018

A must-see film this holdiay season.

This is the best spiderman film to date; which says a lot after homecoming and spiderman 2 starring toby maguire. The story is shockingly solid, and while it d... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJayRuss December 17, 2018

Great movie, but a rough PG

Starting off, this movie is absolutely fantastic. The animation style and graphics are stunning, (especially as I saw it in 3D) and using comic book graphics in... Continue reading

What's the story?

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE introduces viewers to 14-year-old Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), who's reluctantly enrolled in an elite New York City boarding school but would rather hang out with his Brooklyn friends. After he's accidentally bitten by a radioactive spider, Miles starts to experience changes he can't explain. Retracing his steps to a mysterious underground lab, Miles discovers Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Jake Johnson) trying to stop greedy crime boss Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) from opening a hole in the space-time continuum, which could destroy New York. (Spoiler alert!) Spider-Man is mortally wounded, but Kingpin's experiment results in another Peter Parker (this one older and more haggard) from a parallel universe showing up and bumping into Miles, who asks him for mentorship and advice. Together they encounter four more "Spider-people," including teenage Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), an anime-style girl from the distant future (Kimiko Glenn), a cartoon pig (John Mulaney), and a black-and-white 1930s noir Spider-Man (Nicolas Cage). After getting over their shock, everyone understands they must work as a team to defeat Kingpin and return to their own universes.

Is it any good?

This rousingly entertaining superhero adventure is everything a great family movie should be: laugh-out-loud funny, filled with teachable moments, and appealing to parents and kids of all ages. The animation in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is impressive, with lots of old-school comic book touches (Spidey-sense zigzags, typed fight sounds, and panels), and the plot is fast-paced and absorbing. Miles' origin story is similar to Peter Parker's, of course, but he's brown, younger, has two living parents, and is from Brooklyn, not Queens. Moore makes Miles charmingly adorkable -- he's nerdy but cool. It's also moving that Miles sees what's good in his Uncle Aaron (the always excellent Mahershala Ali), despite the older man's somewhat shady rep. The rest of the voice actors are equally good in their roles. As the thirtysomething, slightly out-of-shape Spider-Man in crisis, Johnson is hilariously jaded and ambivalent. Of the multiverse Spideys, Cage's stands out for being obviously dated and dark, and Mulaney's Spider-Ham is guffaw-worthy. The filmmakers cleverly introduce each web-slinger with a quick montage explaining their origin story. In lesser hands, the bit would grow old, but here it's funny every time.

Like any "motley crew" comedy worth watching, Into the Spider-Verse shows how the various Spideys get to know one another, share strengths, and become a necessary unit to defeat their enemies. Miles struggles with the steep learning curve of his superpowers and also with his overall place in the world. But there's a lot that has to get done, so he can't let himself wallow in Tobey Maguire levels of angst. Instead, Miles relies on trusted adults -- and his new Spider peeps -- to figure out his powers and his role, not only in the mission but in his community. Fans should be sure to read both the original Miles Morales comics and award-winning author Jason Reynolds' young-adult novel about the Bronx-born young superhero. Meanwhile, this big-screen take on everyone's favorite web-slinger is destined to be a family movie night favorite.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Do you think comic book-style violence impacts viewers differently than live-action violence? Why?

  • Do you consider the Spider-people role models? How do they exhibit teamwork and courage? Why are those important character strengths?

  • Why does representation matter? How is Miles' cultural background explored in the movie? In what other ways does the movie support the idea of diversity?

  • Discuss the movie's messages about mentorship and the loneliness of superhero life. How does meeting the other Spider-people impact each of the superheroes? What do they learn from one another?

  • How does this compare to other Spider-Man stories you're familiar with? How is it similar/different? Which Spidey is your favorite?

Movie details

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