This is the Willie Wonka’s Chocolate factory of Spider-Man movies. Wonderous to indulge in because anything can happen, which is both beautiful and refreshing. Especially, for a superhero story whose first origin film happened about sixteen years ago.
Spoiler Alert: Tiny characterizations but no plot spoilers. This is mostly me encouraging you to watch this movie.
One of the best things about the Spider-Man mythos is how refreshing it is that every iteration tells us a story about our times.
Toby McGuire’s emotional Spidey with the baby eyes set in a heroic NY post 9/11 world, is not the cool Mark Zuckerberg technology guru that was Andrew Garfield’s, nor are either, the charmingly enthusiastic yet heartfelt Tom Holland version.
But what they all have in common is that they were relevant for its times.
The Spider-Man series has always had its finger on the pulse of modern culture. This is true, especially for teens, as the ones of today are not the same as the ones from the 1990’s or 2000’s.
So it’s uplifting to see a different origin of the pop-cultural phenomenon. One that incorporates cultural context but also doesn’t take itself too seriously.
‘Into the Spider-Verse’ starts off as an origin story for Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino teen who donned the mantle of Spider-Man in the comics, although is a separate entity from the well-known Peter Parker.
He lives in Brooklyn, has a mom who’s a nurse and father who’s a cop – though one that highly disapproves of Spider-Man. He also has a supportive uncle who is very cool in supporting his art habit: Street tag graffiti, as the popular Banksy inspired artists of today aspire to be.
Miles is smart and well liked in the community but is adjusting to a new life. He gets his powers like most Spider-People: from a radioactive spider bite, and shortly after, meets his more renown counterpart during a catastrophic event often typical in a comic story.
The event breaks reality, opening gates to parallel universes where several other iterations of Spider-Man, including ones that aren’t Peter Parker, exist.
The movie plays around with this idea by recapping the many spider-people’s origins, all while keeping faithful to the comic book medium. It works really well. To be honest, many critics, including myself, were skeptical that a multiple-spidey story would work for a movie.
Let me be clear, the premise is sound.
Speaking of which, the soundtrack takes on a life of its own. Whereas New York has always been seen, in many ways, as its own character in Spider-Man – the music could be its own for this movie. One that plays narrator of tone and emotion.
Likewise, all the beats of a solid Spider-Man story script are also there. Romance, Geekiness and moments of being an awkward teen? Check. Witty one-liners, New York skylines and landmarks feature agile action scenes and gorgeous fight sequences with creative web shooting? Also, check.
But where the movie excels most is its visuals. Seriously, the animation style is so gorgeous Sony is trying to Patent the look, something that’s never been done before. It’s a unique hue of saturated colors mixed with 3D texturing, while also playing with the comic-book medium’s shape, shading, and texture.
All of which doesn’t detract but accentuates the story as the mind-bending animation works well for a reality breaking multiverse type of tale. The main story’s art reminded me of a telltale game as it was comical, but also had infinitely better quality. Especially in how it mixed and matched technique and style.
Picture a DJ mixing performing a concert except replace sound with visuals, it’s quite profound. Which works well for this movie, because it’s a mix of different iterations of the Spider-Men mythos, blending together for a team-up of epic proportions.
I went away from the film with this heartfelt message that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Part of me wants to tell you more about the Spider-People… but those have such a vibrant life of their own, it would be a disservice for me to ruin the surprise.
This is one of the most innovative takes on a Spider-man movie, let alone an animated movie, you will ever see. It’s really that good and I highly suggest every Spider-man fan or animation fan go and watch it.
Oh, and stay for the post credits, Spider-Fans.