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'Spider-Man' swings into dazzling if goofy 'Spider-Verse'

Much like its hero, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" swings wildly from place to place, in a tone that's ...

Posted: Dec 13, 2018 11:14 PM
Updated: Dec 13, 2018 11:14 PM

Much like its hero, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" swings wildly from place to place, in a tone that's so uneven as to initially be a trifle disorienting. Stick with it, though, and this animated feature -- distinguished by its dazzling visual palette, which creates the feel of a comic book leaping onto the screen -- proves a great deal of fun, reinforcing that animation remains the ideal medium (if not the most profitable) for superhero adaptations.

Produced by, among others, the makers of "The Lego Movie," this "Spider-Man" is filled with an even higher level of irreverence, mirroring some of the cheekiness that has defined the "Deadpool" movies.

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That sort of relentlessly smart-alecky tone can become a bit wearisome, and the convoluted plot might have even comic-book nerds scratching their heads, built as it is on the notion of multiple permutations of the signature Marvel hero being sucked into the same universe. It seems the Kingpin (voiced by Liev Schreiber) is seeking to open portals to alternate realities, in the process bringing an assortment of Spider-People into the same colorful, chaotic realm.

Central among them is Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a teenager who is (yes) bitten by a radioactive spider, endowing him with spectacular abilities. He's ill equipped, however, to deal with this world-shattering threat, receiving counsel from the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), who, in his world, is paunchy and older, having messed up his life and relationships.

Filled with insider references and visual flourishes aimed squarely at the comics faithful -- from thought balloons to approximating the Ben-Day dots from old-fashioned printing -- the movie caters to a very particular crowd.

The filmmakers also play it heavily for laughs, especially in the learn-by-doing stage of Miles' origin story -- coming to grips with the whole "With great power comes great responsibility" thing -- in a way that skews more toward older fans than kids or casual ones.

The one constant, which redeems most everything else, hinges on the swooping nature of the visuals, which explode with energy as Spider-Man swings, fights and occasionally careens across a skyscraper-filled New York.

Even if the chaotic finale drags on a bit, the movie also serves as a loving ode to the comics -- including a tribute to Spider-Man creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko -- that capitalizes on the attributes (and lower budgets) of animation to tell a story that indulges in the kind of quirkiness and eccentricity that would derail a live-action blockbuster. The film, notably, comes on the heels of Sony and Marvel's collaboration on the live-action "Venom," and it surpasses that by leaps and bounds.

Sony has already announced plans for a sequel and spinoffs, appearing determined to mine the nascent Spider-Verse for all it's worth.

Granted, few properties creatively benefit from a studio being so intent on quickly strip-mining them, as Sony appears eager to do. For now, though, "Into the Spider-Verse" -- even with its excesses -- feels like one of the freshest spins on comic-book fare to swing into your friendly neighborhood cineplex.

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" premieres Dec. 14 in the U.S. It's rated PG.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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