Without a doubt Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will go toe to toe with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 for the ranking of best Spider-Man film. Lord Miller, Sony and Marvel deliver an outstanding new take on Spider-Man in this busy superhero origin story for Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) introducing multiple versions of the titular character throughout the multiverse. With the combination of animation styles in its dazzling visuals and sleek humour the film deconstructs what we know about Spider-Man’s origin to create a new vibrant palette that works so well.
We follow Miles on his journey as a student in Brooklyn who gets bitten by a glowing radioactive spider and gains his Spider-Man powers, focusing on the multiverse and Wilson Fisk’s quest to get an alternate version of his family, in getting his powers he sees his Spider-Man die. Soon after multiple Spider-People transition over to Miles’ reality with Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), an oversized-lazy version of Spider-Man on the edge of his dull-depressing life, as well as Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) and Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn). Together they team up to stop Fisk and Doctor Octopus but Miles needs to learn embrace his powers to become Spider-Man.
Miles Morales ventures through his life with many struggles, being a smart yet quite boy – not only to be given the powers of a superhero and he is burdened after the death of his Peter Parker to save all realities from the dastardly claws of Fisk. You would think all this story and bringing in many new Spider-People would weigh down Miles’ story… it doesn’t. Skillfully delving into deeper stories yet always dangling and pulling along the core of what makes the film work so well, it’s confidence. The film is undoubtedly Spider-Man’s most hilarious film, but it has an underlying sense of tragedy in their exploration into the deep end of these people.
The visuals in animation are striking, with the leap into many different styles from around the world with it’s most obvious use of cliche in an irresistibly-smart way to help create a dense story packed with layers illustrating the fanboy-like world of the Spider-People in a versatile way. The use of sound is another component that helps drive the narrative, with the frequent superhero-like narration of backstory and the careful choice of music all link to the effect the film creates on the audience as we sit watching this funny, visceral and beautiful addition to Marvel’s lore of films.
As the film develops we see the idea of Spider-Man in a grander way than told before, with the clever use of symbolism in these characters and the struggles they exhibit – relating to the everyday person, unlike say Tony Stark who is far beyond accessible in understanding the depths of who he is. Acting as a symbol that no matter who puts on that mask as Aunt May says, they all act for the same reason it doesn’t matter who it is.
The film is sharp in it’s script, with an obvious self-awareness talking about comic books, fandom and the nature of how real these situations are – the style is completely unique, incorporating comic book-like animation mixed with anime, 2D and 3D animation all combining to make the perfect feast for our eyes.
Going into Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse I had my hopes up, but wasn’t as excited as a lot and the film easily surpassed all my worries to actually me concluding this is my favourite superhero film of 2018 so far and perhaps one of the best films of the year as well. It works in it’s breakdown of Morales with the addition of the outstanding Spider-People, capturing a unique, entertaining and heartfelt story – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is nothing short of a masterpiece in animation.