When Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was announced, the only thing the only thing running through everyone’s heads was – god, not another Spider-Man film. But truth be told, after watching this film all it made me think was – why did they wait?
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is the first animated feature Spider-Man film and follows Miles Morales, a smart kid in Brooklyn who unwittingly finds himself bitten by a radioactive spider and is then obliged to take on the mantle of Spider-Man after a tragedy undergoes the original webslinger. Unbeknownst to him, Fisk (Kingpin) is planning to use a particle accelerator to break open their universe, accidentally ‘letting in’ a couple of unexpected visitors. Morales, with the help of his web-slinging multi-verse counterparts, finds out what it truly means to be the man behind mask and whether its worth risking his life for it.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a surprising breath of fresh air in a tired and well-worn film franchise. But what is truly impressive and awe-inspiring about this film are the visuals. In a way that no live-action movie could ever replicate, Into The Spider-Verse not only follows it’s comic-book roots, it takes a hold of them and rewrites the stereotypes of what we know as ‘comic’ films.
With a modern, slick design, integrated with pop art visuals and comic art framing, the film aesthetic of the film takes the well-used comic-book genre to the next level of integration between the original source material and the silver screen. And in this sense, Into Spider-Verse is clearly more faithful to its comic-book roots than any film before.
The four new multi-verse characters introduced in the film are Spider-Gwen/Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicholas Cage), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney). And with each new character, they own their own distinctive universe’s design and style, each with a unique animation style. I would even go as far as saying to go see this film in 3D, as it is potentially the only film to ever be worth seeing in that format.
Interestingly, however, the visuals are not this film’s one trick pony. The gobsmacking graphics are backed up by some truly first-rate comedic writing. The film’s hilarious intro shows just how much writers Phil Lord (The Lego Movie) and Rodney Rothman (22 Jump Street) are in tune with their audience, extracting laughs from the past decade of the live-action Spider-Man films highs and very low, lows – do I hear you say, Tobey Maguire evil moonwalk in Spider-Man 3? The film is very self-aware and almost delights in its own past franchise stupidity, which is almost surprising to see with Marvel, who are actively moving towards a gritty realism with their main franchises.
Out of any animated feature this year – or unanimated for that matter – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse shows the true merit of creativity on the silver screen. It is truly a film made by fans for fans. With a great soundtrack and a stellar cast, there’s not more that you could ask for. Sure, there are issues with the film, but it is nice to see a film that is so in tune with itself that it can make you laugh at its own expense and still come back swinging.
After winning the Golden Globe at the 76th Golden Globe Awards for Best Animated Feature Film and being nominated for Best Animated Feature Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards – a critical feat no other Spider-Man film has achieved, it stands to question then, is this the best Spider-Man movie ever made?