Parents' Guide to

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Excellent, intense adventure has thrills, humor, heart.

Movie PG 2018 116 minutes
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Poster Image: Miles Morales as Spider-Man

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 107 parent reviews

age 8+

A little exhausting but great story!

As a father of an 8 year old boy with high-functioning autism, I can say that my son loved the movie. However, beware that the fast moving and jarring animation style could be disturbing to anyone with autism. When we left the movie my son seemed extremely tired and a bit irritated. We had dinner just after the movie and he never said a word, he stared off into the distance and repeated blinked his eyes unnaturally (which is very out of the usual for him). He later said that the movie was exhausting and he wouldn't want to see it again (although he did enjoy the story). Just a note to anyone who suffers from visually stimulating situations or media.
age 9+

A very family-friendly, visually striking and wildly entertaining version of Spider-Man.

Initially, I thought Into The Spider-Verse was going to be just another superhero cartoon fluke. But there’s enough humor, special effects, and a storyline that is strong enough to make this movie entertaining. Matter of fact, it is by far the most brilliant animated superhero movie of all time. Despite my opinion that No Way Home and Spider-Man 2 have slightly better storylines, I still really enjoy this one. The movie’s story centers around an average middle schooler named Miles Morales (played by Shameik Moore), who has just been sent by his parents to a new prep school against his will. However, he starts adapting to the new environment once he meets a girl he turns out to be interested in. This girl is later revealed to be Gwen Stacy (played by Hailee Steinfeld). The basic storyline is that Miles Morales is doing a typical hobby of his, which is spraying graffiti in the subway. But all of the sudden, he gets bitten by a radioactive spider, causing him to gain Spider-Man’s powers, with some additional ones (but no spoilers!). Soon after Miles notices a collider, he witnesses Peter Parker, the real Spider-Man (played by Chris Pine) during a brutal fight! After Spider-Man is severely injured by Kingpin, he gives Miles the chip that disables the collider. However, Kingpin (played by Liev Schreiber) kills Spider-Man, and activates the collider, which opens up several alternate dimensions. After that, an alternate version of Spider-Man (played by Jake Johnson) comes into Miles’ universe. However, he is not in as good of shape as the deceased one was. So, the main goal throughout the entire movie is to send all the characters from the alternate dimensions back home to their universes. What makes this movie especially brilliant is its stunning visuals. The storyline is overall an 8.5 out of 10, but visually, it is at least a 9.8 out of 10. The animation is so bizarre and colorful, that it almost feels psychedelic. I have no clue what kind of technology they used, but whatever they used was spot on! Another thing that I found to be genius is that whenever a scene is intense, they use comic captions just like the ones out of the old Marvel comics. So, it seems like a live action version of a comic book, which makes it so unusually intriguing. Also, it has some great action sequences and a solid soundtrack to go along with it. Into the Spider-Verse has an abundance of memorable characters. Some stand out more than others, but so many of them deserve to be mentioned. Shameik Moore was the perfect choice to play the main character, Miles Morales. He is a smart kid, but he clearly does not like the rules. He often under-appreciates his parents, and visits his uncle regularly. Another important thing to mention is that he has been a fan of the Spider-Man comic books his entire life. Throughout the movie, he is confused about the strange events that are happening to him, but learns to adapt to his new mantle as Spider-Man. However, it’s his enthusiastic personality that makes his character so strikingly entertaining. Jake Johnson’s performance as the Spider-Man from the alternate dimension is also extremely entertaining. What makes his character so funny is that he is such a blatant slob. His Spider-Man is burned out, slightly overweight, and craves junk food. But most of all, he does not even remotely have his life together. Normally, you would expect Spider-Man to be fairly healthy, but not here! Instead, you get a bum who does not take care of himself! Hailee Steinfeld plays a great role Spider-Man’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. She turns out to be the most mysterious character throughout the entire movie, making her character so memorable. When she first appears, she just seems to be one of Miles’ classmates. But as the movie goes on, you find out that she’s Spider-Gwen, who actually knew the deceased Peter Parker of their dimension. Just when you think she is an average school student, it turns out that she is fearless when it comes to fighting when she needs to. But she does not have a lot of friends, prompting Miles to be interested in making friends with her. And she does have a soft spot for him as well. Mahershala Ali’s performance as Miles’ uncle Aaron, has to be one of the best in the entire movie. He and Miles share the same rebellious nature, but he often gives him advice on ways to crank his swagger up a notch. Miles’ father, Jefferson is not particularly fond of Aaron, due to some of his criminal activities. What makes his character most memorable is that his too-cool-for-school personality and that he can be downright funny sometimes. The best scene involving him is when he is telling Miles the “cool” way to get girls, but I will spoil this no further. The most important thing to remember about his character is that no matter what he does and how much of a criminal he can be, he always cares for his nephew. Liev Schreiber typically always does a solid acting job whenever he plays in a movie. But his character, Kingpin is rather menacing. One thing to get out of the way is that Kingpin is an unusually large human being. He is still bitter about the deaths of his wife and son, who both died in a car crash. So the main reason he wants control over the collider, is so he could attempt to resurrect his family. Kingpin also hates Spider-Man because he deems him responsible for the deaths of his family. Other memorable characters include some of the Spider-Men that are introduced later, including Nicolas Cage’s bizarre portrayal as Spider-Noir, and John Mulaney’s comedic character, Spider-Ham. Brian Tyree Henry’s performance as Miles’ father, Jefferson Davis, and Chris Pine’s short cameo as the original deceased Spider-Man are also worth mentioning. Overall, this movie stays into PG-rated territory. So it’s appropriate for most children, but it is more likely to interest children 8 and up. It is not very violent, but does contain some scenes that are intense, including the deaths of some beloved characters. There is barely any language at all, and it steers completely clear of sex or substance abuse of any kind. Parents Guide: Violence: Most of the action sequences include punches and kicks, but the worst thing that happens characters occasionally get a bloodied nose. One beloved character gets tragically shot in the chest (off-screen), by Kingpin. This might upset viewers who watch this. A couple characters get electrocuted or shot by lasers. Also, some of the villains may scare younger children. But this movie is far tamer than anything that happens in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or even Star Wars. Sex: None. Substance Abuse: None. Language: One use each of H.E.-double-hockey sticks, or the four-letter word that starts with d and ends with n, is the worst thing you will hear in this movie. Other than that, it is squeaky clean! Anyways, I highly recommend this movie for all audiences. Fans of Spider-Man, or anime fans are most likely to enjoy this movie. And if you have been struggling to find a superhero cartoon that is actually top notch quality, this is the right place to be.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (107 ):
Kids say (262 ):

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.

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