Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a fantastic movie with a unique premise. A new take on both the traditional Friendly, Neighborhood Spider-Man adds both a new perspective and a refreshing feel, rather than simply another installment in a series of Spider-Men. Creating a magnificent masterpiece of faithful animation, Into the Spider-Verse is a bold, refreshing take on an increasingly obscure world that marks itself as the animated feature of the decade.
What viewers will notice first about the movie is the main character: a young, Afro-Latino teenager who feels out of place at his elite prep school. This is one of my favorite aspects of the movie; Marvel decides to take a break from its routine and base the story off someone other than the bland, bookish Peter Parker. While the story does portray Peter as a dashing, compassionate hero, the break from the blinding caucasian-ness is a great relief.
Second to the eye is the superb animation. Blending the traditional (yet simple and graceful) style of comic books and the modern and smooth style of animation results in a dazzling display of Marvel’s capabilities, extending past the impressive but somewhat unoriginal screenplay. From sweeping shots that integrated stylistically marked character models to meaningful close-up shots, Into the Spider-Verse revolutionizes what comic-book animation can be.
Furthermore, Marvel integrates more than just the comic animation style, incorporating a comic book feel as well. Scenes are infused with comic text boxes and comic panels to seamlessly blend a classic and contemporary approach. It’s a neat touch that may not add much to the actual story, but is still favorably present.
Additionally, the unique manner that accompanied each Spider-Man (or woman or even robot) created a further distinct integrity to the film. Each obscure character is surrounded by their own aura, unique to their personality and universe which gives the movie an overall multifarious yet cohesive spirit. Miles has his urban style, older Spider-Man with a mid-life crisis vibe, Spider-Woman with a sleek, graceful, and hazy yet dreamy look, Peni with her own anime animation style and futuristic take, Spider-Man Noir, who takes a dark and dour tone, and Peter Porker, with a self-deprecating, satirical, and humorous persona. On the surface, it’s hard to see how these characters could ever merge together in a meaningful way. But through the filmmaker’s ingenious, yet simple tactics, it all feels natural and more sweeping than disjointed.
As for the plotline, it is equally as stunning. The multiple antagonists banding together is no new concept to Spider-Man, but this case is different. Into the Spider-Verse offers not only a female Doc Oc but a VERY unique take on Kingpin: Kingpin is portrayed as a family man with a tragic backstory that serves as the basis for his antagonism and the premise for the storyline. Shocking twists and touching farewells complement each other to form a superb narrative that comes alive.
The music of a movie is an overlooked aspect that has the potential to make or break a movie, and Into the Spider-Verse’s music does not disappoint. With relaxing and meaningful songs like Swae Lee and Post Malone’s Sunflower, to the dramatic and exciting BagBak by Vince Staples, or the electric, frightening, and chills-down-your-back-inducing music that accompanies the Prowler throughout all his high speed chases and fights. The hip-hop based soundtrack of the movie features both music with emotion and exhilaration, reflecting the ups and downs of Miles Morales in his coming of age movie.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a brilliant movie with a phenomenal soundtrack, animation, and story and an all-around revolutionary new take on an old and recycled character. The stunning array of characters brings together a marvelous movie with an incredible and genuine feel. Never before has a superhero film been so keen on both innovating and retaining its heart and spirit. Thankfully, Into the Spider-Verse does both handily, allowing its diverse roster of characters to flourish with a well-balanced and delightful treat for any Spider-Man fan. It respects the old, especially with a heart-warming cameo from legendary icon Stan Lee, but never hesitates to embrace the new.
Score: 8.6 out of 10