Released: 13th December
Seen: 2nd December (Advanced Screening)
This year has been particularly good for superhero movies, possibly the best that we’ve had since Marvel decided they wanted to take over the cinematic landscape. From truly important cultural milestones like Black Panther, to displays of just what the genre is capable of like The Avengers, to silly little parody films that I still can’t even begin to get enough of like Teen Titan’s Go To The Movies, it’s safe to say this year has been an absolute boon time for the Superhero movie… and now we get to throw Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse into that pantheon of truly great superhero movies.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is the first movie to focus on Miles Morales, a young black teenager and the son of a cop who is going to a private school. One day, the usual thing that happens to a Spider-Man finally happens to Miles. He gets bit by a radioactive spider, discovers he has powers, tries to learn those powers in time so he can help save his town (and, inevitably, the world) from Kingpin… oh, also, while he trying to do that he has to deal with a slight dimensional rift that’s brought Peter Parker, Spider-Gwen, Noir Spider-Man, Peni Parker and Spider-Ham into his universe so now he not only has to deal with his first ever villain but with five other spider-people (And pigs) who aren’t sure if Miles has what it takes to be a hero.
To make my feelings on this film crystal clear, this is one of those films where I could just make the review “GO SEE IT” a couple of thousand times and that’d be that. It’s genuinely perfect in ways I didn’t expect. The animation is some of the best I’ve ever seen in my life, it’s a stylistic combination of the texture of a comic book blended with CGI but its also able to slip into Anime or even a Looney Tunes bit with effortless ease. I’ve never seen a film look like this before and I love every frame of it, it’s such a bold art style choice that I hope that the studio uses it again to make many more Superhero films. I want to see so much more of this world and this style. It’s an adaptation of a comic book style that I haven’t seen done so perfectly since The Peanuts Movie, you’ll stare in awe as they manage to make a comic book come to life on the big screen.
It’s also not ashamed to admit that other films exist, one of the best opening jokes is a pointed critique of Spider-Man 3 and it works amazingly. We don’t need to think too much about Peter Parker’s backstory because we’ve literally seen it a half-dozen times over the last few decades, but they give us enough key info that even newbies will be able to keep up. The info is also delivered brilliantly by just chucking a comic book on screen and reading it to the audience, which might not sound impressive but trust me when I tell you that the way they handle it is great. Every version of Spider-Man that you can think of is in some way referenced here and they make it all work.
On top of the fantastical stuff around the superheroes, there’s also this genuinely charming story about a father and son not connecting that will break your heart. It’s beautifully done and all praise has to go to Bryan Tyree Henry as Jefferson and Shameik Moore as Miles who really make their characters shine and pull out the emotion so easily, they’re genuinely brilliant together and the chemistry between the characters is so strong that I will be shocked if they didn’t record their parts together, it’s amazing.
Everything, just in general, is amazing. This version of Kingpin is amazing, he’s intimidating but his painful tragic past is a great motivation that makes you understand his character completely. Lily Tomlin might be the best Aunt May that has ever existed and I’m going to stand by that because she steals every single scene she’s in. I love Spider-Ham who is just Porky Pig in a Spider-Man costume and his elaborate cartoonish jokes work brilliantly. I absolutely love the post-credits scene and I promise you, it’s up there with Deadpool 2 in terms of hilarious ending scenes. Literally, the only thing I kind of wish they had done was to get Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland to turn up for a bit but that’s just a silly extra that wasn’t needed (Maybe in the sequel?).
The thing that amazes me most is how perfect the tone of this film is. It’s bouncing between a serious story with the lovable goofy Spider-Man we know and love, but it’ll also throw in some emotional curveballs that hit perfectly and then go for an elaborate slapstick joke and every element is just blended together so perfectly that nothing feels out of place. The Stan Lee cameo is not the first time I welled up during this film (Though be prepared for that because this one is a pretty heavy cameo, but it’s so perfect)
This is a film that knew from the start what it wanted to be and achieved that with effortless ease. Its perfect script, brilliant animation and amazing voice cast will be remembered for a long time. It’s proof of just what can be done in this medium and easily a front-runner for the best animated movie of 2018, one that everyone who enjoys animation, superheroes, movies or the concept of joy NEEDS to see.
What did you think of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse? What’s your favourite Spider-Man movie? Let me know in the comments below