Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Rating4.5 / 5
Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
13 December 2018
Not one, but seven Spider-Men prove that artistic ambition, risk taking, and heart are still alive in blockbuster franchise films. You’re in for an absolute blast.
In Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, ordinary Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales’ (Shameik Moore) admiration of long-time hero Spider-Man becomes all-consuming when he, too, is bitten by a radioactive spider and begins to develop super powers. When Spider-Man’s attempts to thwart a plot by the villainous Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) ends in tragedy, Miles is thrust into taking up Spider-Man’s mantle and protecting the city. But now he’s not the onl ySpider-Man; Kingpin’s reality-meddling has transported several other alterations of Spider-Man from different dimensions into Miles’ own, opening the ‘Spider-Verse’.
Here’s something you probably didn’t see coming. In a year completely overstuffed with superhero movies, one very late entry blows the whole lot of them away and manages to completely reinvigorate the genre. Here’s something else. It’s the seventh entry in the Spider-Man franchise, the fourth reboot of the character, this time in cartoon form from the same studio responsible for The Emoji Movie. And yet Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse completely shatters all expectations. It’s the best Spider-Man outing since Spider-Man 2 and it’s the best animated movie of the past few years. It’s also the most satisfying bang-for-your buck blockbuster extravaganza this year – yep, more so than Avengers:Infinity War.
Like Infinity War, you’ll need a bit of prior knowledge to appreciate this culmination of a number of beloved characters in one all-out spectacle. The Spider-Man we’ve known and loved for so long, Peter Parker, this time steps aside into a Mr. Miyagi-type mentor role to Miles Morales, a charismatic fan-favourite who cements himself as a black superhero with even more staying power than Black Panther. The relationship between this pair of Spider-Men forms the core story, but the many decades of Spider comics have been mined meaning we’re treated to a whole bunch of others along for the ride – spunky Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), 30’s black and white crime detective Spider-Man Noir (Nicholas Cage), anime girl with a Spider-Bot Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), and wisecracking pig Spider-Ham (John Mulaney).
Anyone afraid that a shift to animation will limit the wall-crawler’s appeal need not fear. Spider-fans of all ages are bound to be pleased, especially long-time fans, who will gush at the number of references thrown in, including the late Stan Lee’s cameo, which is impeccably timed and bittersweet. The animation itself is absolutely breathtaking, and truly unlike anything we’ve seen on the big screen before. The style blurs the lines between 2D and 3D, and gives a genuine sense of being thrust right into the pages of a comic book. Visually, it could be labelled an inventive masterpiece, exploding with vibrant colour and creative detail .
Sixteen years on and Spider-Man is more unstoppable than ever in 2018, with a huge splash in the Avengers, a hit PS4 game, and now the year’s funniest, most satisfying and enjoyable blockbuster. There’s no sign of the webslinger slowing down. Inevitably, Sony has already announced a number of sequels and spin-offs which are more than welcome, but as a standalone gem, it’s going to be hard to top this.
Image courtesy of Sony Pictures