Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Review

Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker and Shameik Moore as Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

We all know the base story of Spider-Man, his origins, his persona; we’ve seen it be rehashed many times before in nearly all mediums – the question is, what does Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse do that makes it worth watch? Well, I must say, much like Marvel Studios Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) this is largely just a simply coming-of-age story of a kid trying to find his own identity in a world that has been turned upside down. This story also takes advantage of its unique characters, electrifying comic-book-like visuals, and wild narrative structure to stamp its own mark within the Spider-Man franchise. I really never have seen anything quite like it, at least on a visual level.

We follow the journey of Miles Morales, a young kid from Brooklyn enrolling in a prestigious school. Miles is a relaxed kid with a spark of talent, but lacks the discipline to direct it. Miles is faced with steep expectations from his family and piles of school work landing on his lap; doubt in his own abilities, guilt in his inaction, and fear of taking a leap. Things become slightly more complicated when Miles is granted the powers of Spider-Man. With his world colliding around him, both mentally and literally, Miles is faced with those same fears, expectations, and responsibilities that he’s always had trouble confronting. With all of these emotions punched into overdrive Miles faces a crossroad, but this time, as Spider-Man. All of these themes are spun neatly and symmetrically, it’s no wonder I got trapped in the story like a bug in a web. 

The narrative begins to get more complex when a blistering array of Spider People are introduced; these Spider People are seemingly different versions of Spider-Man (or woman) from different realities. This is where the film’s composure is tested, and I must say, Spider-Verse handles it masterfully. This is a highly consistent film across the board and that’s reflected in how well it handled its wide range of wacky characters with wildly different personalities. Each character has their quirks and visual aesthetic that compliments all surrounding characters and visuals; and the cleverly selected voice acting roles provide each of these Spider People a true voice of their own, separating them from anything you’ve seen before. Despite containing an abundance of it, the charm of Spider-Verse does not lie in its captivating or deeply emotional story, but rather, in the execution of each and every one of its components. With plenty of humour that strikes true and enough heart to invest you into the story, this may be many peoples favourite Spider-Man film to date; it most certainly gets close for me.

Shameik Moore as Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Above all stands the vibrant animation in this dazzling world of refracting colours and cartoonish aesthetics. This is perhaps the first comic book film I’ve seen that truly makes it feel as though your brain is being fed a stream of comic panels. Throughout the entire film, comic book words blast their way onto screen, vibrant KA-BLAM’s and BOOM’s light up like an explosion and the drawn black edged style of animation makes everything pop right off screen. Most impressively, it was the way in which this was all stitched together that makes it so dazzling. This film is highly fast paced; from its low-frame rate to its crisscrossing panels, it all makes it feels as if I’m speed reading a comic book. With all this vibrancy on screen we’re also given a standout soundtrack that helps fit the entire direction and culture this film was aiming for.

Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse brings to life comic book magic, paying respect to both its source material and the art of film making. An uncompromising movie experience for all ages, Spider-Verse spins comic book magic seamlessly to screen – offering a vibrant experience that will trap you in its web.    

8.9/10

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