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Movie review: Chapter and ‘Verse’

Published February 27. 2019 12:22PM

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” takes a new approach to the comic-book superhero feature movie genre.

It’s more like an old-school approach.

“Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” is the first animated feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Even though it’s CGI, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” eschews the slick style that dominates superhero movies in favor of the clunkier 2D-style animation of yesteryear.

“Spider-Verse” is a wordplay on “Universe,” as in Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie takes place in a “multiverse,” dubbed the “Spider-Verse,” which has alternate universes.

A particle accelerator provides access to parallel universes where alternate versions of characters exist. A USB drive also figures in the plot.

The character Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), the Brooklyn teen who imagines himself to be Spider-Man, is the heart of “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.”

Directors Bob Persichetti (feature animated film co-directorial debut; head of story, “The Little Prince,” 2015; “Puss in Boots,” 2011), Peter Ramsey (director, “Rise of the Guardians,” 2012) and Rodney Rothman (feature film co-directorial debut; screenplay, “22 Jump Street,” 2014) work from a screenplay by Phil Lord (director, “The Lego Movie,” 2014; director, “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” 2009) and Rothman with the story by Lord.

The dialogue is conversational, heartfelt and fun.

The voices, in addition to Moore, include Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage and Liev Schreiber.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a comic-book brought to life on the big screen that should even please non-comic-book fans.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” MPAA Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give “parental guidance.” May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.) for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language; Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure; Runtime: 1 hr., 57 mins; Distributed by Columbia Pictures Corp.

Credit Readers Anonymous: The “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” closing credits include Spider-Man 2099, who time-travels to the “Spider-Man” 1967 show. The film is dedicated to “Spider-Man” creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, who died in 2018.

Oscar winners: The 2019 Oscar recipients, of those in Lehigh Valley Press Focus section “Readers Pick The Oscar Contest” are: Leading Actor, Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”; Leading Actress, Olivia Colman, “The Favourite;” Supporting Actor, Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”; Supporting Actress, Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”; Directing, Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”; Best Picture,” “Green Book,” and Animated Feature, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

None of the dozens of entrants correctly picked all seven recipients in the “Readers Pick The Oscar Contest.” Three entrants correctly picked six of the seven winners: Donna Wagner of Catasauqua; Sandra Lambert of Bethlehem, and Noreen Kromer of New Tripoli, whose entrant was received the earliest, so the contest winner is: Noreen Kromer.

Many entrants correctly chose five of the seven contest categories and more correctly chose four of the seven categories. I correctly chose four of the seven categories.

Unreel, March 1: “A Madea Family Funeral,” PG-13: Tyler Perry directs himself (as Madea) and Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely and Mike Tyson in the comedy. Madea and the family travel to backwoods Georgia and attend a funeral.

Three popcorn boxes out of five popcorn boxes.

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