By Kyle Thiede
2018 has brought plenty of superhero movies. From the comical and action-packed Deadpool 2, to the impactful Black Panther, and even the epic Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse, might just top all three of those movies in each of their biggest qualities. The screenplay was done by Phil Lord and Chris Miller who previously worked on Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009).
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse isn’t something that we are used to, for the main focus isn’t Peter Parker. Instead we are greeted by Miles Morales, a fourteen-year-old kid from Brooklyn who exists in a alternate universe. Miles, along with new characters, bring a new take on the charter arcs that we’ve seen many times before. For one, Miles’ father pushes him to become something great, yet he finds it hard to communicate with Miles. While Miles connects better with his uncle, who shares a passion for graffiti and is laid back.
Similar to Peter Parker, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider. After he’s bitten, an interdimensional portal is opened bringing other spider-heroes from different universes. Miles has to find out who is terrorizing the city, while getting the other spider-heroes back home.
This film has beautiful animation. Sony Animation doesn’t get a lot of credit for how well their movies are designed. This is because they are usually outshined by Pixar or Dreamworks. However, this film allowed the animators to have fun, go all out and be creative. Several of the different spider-heroes are animated in a different style, one being based on 40s cartoons style (Spider-Ham), another was Japanese-Anime-inspired (Peni Parker), and one was entirely in black and white (Spider-Man Noir). Because the animators are so good, these characters don’t feel out of place or distracting. Under the direction of Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, a beautiful film was constructed. However, the imagery feels as though it could have been much better than what it was. Most movies use imagery and visuals to tell the story. However, this movie broke the rule “show don’t tell.’ They choose to tell us how charters were feeling instead of using imagery for the viewer to infer what was going on.
Another thing that was absolutely phenomenal was the music, at least for the most part. Minus three scenes that tried to be serious but almost made me laugh in the theater, the music was great. This movie’s soundtrack is composed of a lot of licensed music, however, it doesn’t feel forced unlike a lot of other movie. A lot of the music was used to make Miles more relatable to the younger audience, and it succeeds. That’s not to say that the film soundtrack isn’t great. Particularly the Prowler’s theme which is exhilarating and adds a sense of danger whenever Prowler is in the scene.
Then we get to the action. The action is spectacular and tops every single superhero movie this year. Thanks the animators, the directors, the music, as well as some great sound design, the action becomes much more thrilling. With every punch that’s thrown, carrying weight making audience feel it. Every step, boom, smack, and bang is all delivered great. Seeing every individual Spider-Man fight is entertaining just within itself.
The best thing about the movie is the writing. The dialogue exchange between each characters is great. For the most part, they all feel like real people. Miles Morales, Peter B. Parker, and Gwen Stacy are all really interesting characters. Miles actually feels like a teenager, which is hard thing to say fo a lot of films, TV-shows and books. But beyond the drama part of the movie, this movie is hilarious. The movie uses a lot of visual humor, but the verbal jokes are also funny. I saw this movie twice and I laughed just as hard the second time compared to the first.
Yet, the only other thing I feel could’ve had more improved was the villain. In this movie, it’s Wilson Fisk or Kingpin, who’s a good Spider-Man villain. However, he doesn’t work best in this sci-fi heavy story, where normally he’s just more of a mob boss. His character is given a wired taked. Most of his actions were with valid motivations. Yet, he wasn’t given the attention he need falling flat on charter depths and being the least humanized. This made everything feel forced as if he was just polt device for Miles to overcome. To add to this, Kingpin is very initiating, and his existence adds stakes to the story.
The three superheroes that are on screen the most, represent something. For one Miles Morales is the first mixed-raced superhero portrayed in film. Peter B. Parker in the movie is an aged Spider-Man who’s out of his prime and has developed depression. Gwen Stacy is the first spider-woman portrayed on film. Unlike many superhero films today, Gwen Stacy actually has a character beyond being just a girl. All this is why Stan Lee liked Spider-Man so much. He’s relatable. No matter who you are, whether your race, your gender, or your mental stability, you can wear the mask and be a hero. And this movie has expresses that effortlessly.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is more than the best superhero movie of the year. It’s one of the best movie of the year and best superhero movie of all time. Go watch this movie if you haven’t. This is a solid 9 out of 10. You’ll be able to love it if you like animation, super-heroes, comedies, or just good movies in general.