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.