Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse review - an electric, eclectic joy ride
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Verdict: unapologetically nerdy, heartfelt, and genuine - everything a Spider-Man movie should be!
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a film that’s unapologetically aimed at comic book fans, and manages to achieve the impossible: appeasing those fans without alienating a mainstream audience and without compromising its source material. Now if only the MCU and DCEU would learn something from this…
Yet another Spider-Man movie, I hear you cry. Sure, but this one’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. Almost an animated answer to Deadpool in its irreverent fourth wall breaking, but with all the heart and simple joy that’s been somewhat lost from the superhero media that we’re constantly inundated with.
Sony have had a pretty rough time with their animated movies - Hotel Transylvania and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs are irrelevant, while Peter Rabbit was horrendous - so while their live action Spiderman rights were handed off to Disney, it’s about time Sony had a win. This film is it.
Introducing Miles Morales — the afro-latino Spiderman that the internet has been clamouring for Donald Glover to play for years. While Glover made a cameo as Miles’ uncle in Homecoming, our Miles finds his voice in The Get Down’s Shameik Moore: an underrated talent whose star is definitely on the rise.
The rest of the cast is filled with talent: Oscar winning Mahershala Ali as Miles’ streetwise uncle Aaron, Widows’ Brian Tyree Henry as his cop father and Liev Schreiber as the villainous Kingpin, while Nicholas Cage, Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen), Kimiko Glenn (Orange is the New Black), Jake Johnson (New Girl), and comedian John Mulaney play various other Spider-people.
As complicated as a multiverse may sound to someone who’s never picked up a comic book, the storytelling is so deftly constructed that it’s not difficult to follow at all, so there’s so much scope to simply revel in the joy of it all.
The animation itself is a huge part of what makes this film so compelling — unlike the same old boring animation style Disney’s been trotting out for years, Spider-Verse is innovative and fresh. Mimicking comic book style, yellow text boxes and thwip sound effect bubbles popping up on screen will have you yearning to find that old stack of comics in you attic. The action too is incredible, with the animation achieving speed and split screen sequences that could never work in a live action film.
At the heart of it all, orbited by bright colours, a dope soundtrack, and quippy heroes, is Miles himself and his relationship with his family. The emotional weight of the story keeps it grounded amongst all the whimsy. An ethnic kid struggling with the weight of the great expectations placed upon him, and slowly learning to use his superpowers, be they literally spider-related or metaphorically his sharp intellect and the love and support of his family.
Bonuses include Lily Tomlin as a kickass Aunt May, deadbeat Peter Parker’s significant gut, and finally some on-screen justice for Gwen Stacy. A fan service movie in the best possible way, I challenge you to leave the cinema without a massive grin on your face. Oh, and make sure you stay til the aftercredits.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse swings into cinemas on December 12th.