Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Writer: Phil Lord
Actors: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
When the trailer for Into the Spider-Verse came out, I was cautiously optimistic. You see, aside from the X-Men, the Miles Morales series is actually one of my favorites Marvel has put out. I had always seen the potential in Spiderman. There is so much in the character that just feels right for comic books. He is relatable, fun, quirky, and most importantly real. That sentiment was even truer when I read the Miles Morales series that was just riddled with so much character and realness into the whole series. So when I saw that they were creating a movie based on the comic, I was excited. Then I was scared again, at the end of the day it was Marvel. I know its Sony, but I was scared that producers would play around and force generic decisions onto the film that would just ruin it. Nevertheless, the film came out and I decided to give it a shot. The animation looked nice, so why not? Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting coming out of that film and thinking it was the best Marvel film ever released. That’s what happened by the way.
If I were to use one word to describe this film, it would be FUN. The film oozes fun from every corner. The film strikes a perfect balance between its lighthearted nature and its really touching story. This is what a superhero film is supposed it be. It shouldn’t be dark and gritty in order to be “good”, it doesn’t need to give away its charm. But it needs to balance it out, and that’s what the rest of the Marvel films have never figured out. The lighthearted and serious tones need to balance WITHIN the context of the film. There is no point in aiming for a dark and serious story then suddenly sprinkle in some cheesy one liners. It just breaks the immersion. With Into The Spider-Verse, nothing is broken. Everything feels integrated. The comedy feels right within the context of the film, and it never feels out of place. It’s because it all makes sense in the story-line of the film. Subsequently, the serious nature of the film did not feel out of place as well. All of the characters are going through a rough time, and they all cope with it differently. Yet it still blends in perfectly. Miles’ struggles of being socially accepted is not out shadowed by his troubles with his father. Everything is important, and the writers really used Miles’ story to the fullest.
Let’s talk a bit about the art style and animation of this film, because goddamn…. its incredible. This film has the perfect animation style to convey the feeling of a comic book. The subtle lines that pop out as someone knocks on the door. Or the thought bubbles that fly across the screen as Miles is fighting with his inner thoughts. Or even the small dots that you would usually see in old comic books. All of these just enhance the aesthetic and just create this incredible style that is so unique. Not only is the art style incredible, but the animation coupled with it is the perfect combination. The animation has this sort of “laggy” feel, I don’t know how better to describe it. The animation isn’t smooth, as if there are a couple of frames missing in each movement. But that’s not a bad thing! When you first see it, it feels a bit odd like something is out of place. However, as you see it more often you know that it was the best choice for the film. Because it makes it feel more like a comic book. When you read a comic book you don’t see every single frame of movement. You get each panel, and the key movements that are needed to be conveyed. It’s the same with into the Spider-Verse, its not the smoothest animation, but it is incredibly charming and works towards the whole goal of this film. It all works together perfectly, and it fits the tone of the story as well. Just amazing.
I want to talk about the story and the characters, unfortunately I kind of knew how the film was headed based on the comics I read. Obviously I didn’t know what will happen with all the alternate Spidermen (and women). But I knew the fact of Uncle Aaron and all that. Nevertheless, as I stated above, the whole story works well. I bet even for people who never read any comics, the story would not be confusing. The film gets straight to the point. Introduces the characters and goes right into the meat of the story. No extra frills, nonstop fun and excitement. I couldn’t think of any moment in the film that needed to be removed or changed. It was all done well. Even though some of the Spidermen such as Spider-Ham and Peni Parker felt really out of place in the aesthetic of the film, it still made sense. Because it works in the context of the film and its story. I know I sound like a broken record player, constantly repeating this, but its is such an important concept that I feel like many modern films seem to forget. There always needs to be this harmony and cohesiveness in what is shown on screen. It should all fit well, and not feel like something put in there by people. When I watch a film, I want to be fully engrossed in the universe. I dont want to be pulled out of it. Thankfully, Into The Spider-Verse does that in spades, and never misses a beat.
I don’t know if this is recency bias coming into play, but I feel like I can confidently say this is my favorite Marvel movie ever made. And I’m talking about ALL Marvel movies, not just the MCU. This is leaps and bounds better than anything else that Marvel has ever come out with. It is a breath of fresh air. Something that can appeal to both adults and children. And most importantly, a film that keeps the spirit of comic books without affecting anything about the film. Rather it relishes in the fact that it is a film based on a comic book, and it uses it to the best of its capabilities. The film oozes charm, and it is a joy to watch. I can’t recommend this film enough, and I hope they can top it off. Because if they can’t, I would rather they not try and just leave it as is. I will be a bit conservative with my initial scoring of this film. If need be I will come back and change it. But nevertheless, what I want you to know is that I recommend this film. Do yourself a favor and go watch it. Because you will have FUN, and that’s the best thing a film can offer.