INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE: A CELEBRATION OF CELEBRATIONS
BY SAM WURDEMANN
Fans of things rejoice–Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse has things for everyone to enjoy! An easy competitor for best animated movie of the year, one of the best superhero films of the year (would be the best, but admittedly Infinity War IS a tough act to follow), one of the best Spider-Man films, one of the best family movies, comic adaptations, etc. etc. etc. This movie has a lot, and it does a lot of it right.
After a long trend of Marvel Movies following a very linear formula of filmmaking that truthfully does work, though is getting tired after ten years with an average of two movies per year taking up a good portion of the business’s yearly income, Into the Spider-Verse is a wonderful change of pace. In terms of presentation, this is some of the most stunning 2D animation we ever have or possibly ever will see on the big screen. Every movement , every punch, kick, or thwip is gorgeous to the eyes. Traditionally 2D-animated feature-length epics are a bit scarce in this 3D motion-picture climate, and to see one this stunning is a treat from start to finish, especially in the ways that it utilizes different animation styles in order to depict different characters from different universes.
In an attempt to keep things fresh (we’ve had so many Spider-men lately), the film ditches the Peter Parker tropes and instead opts to center the plot around Miles Morales, a completely different Spider-Man with his own history, struggles, and unique powers. That’s not to say Peter Parker doesn’t play a prominent part in the film, he’s just taking one we haven’t yet found him in: the sleazy mentor. It’s an interesting spin on the formula that works well for what it tries to accomplish.
Of course, being a film with the word Spider-Verse in its title, odds are you’re going to want them to deliver all sorts of spider people. And deliver they do. Every prominent Spider-Person they could think of makes their triumphant debut on the big screen: Hailee Steinfeld’s Spider-Gwen chief among them, enjoyable and compelling though admittedly kinda bland in comparison to the others. My personal highlight among the Spider-Cast is Nicholas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir, a hard-boiled detective type Spider-Man who gets just about every great line the movie has to offer. Along with them are two others–the two with in my opinion the most interesting animation: Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker, Japan’s interpretation of the Spider-Man, and John Mulaney’s Peter Porker: the Spider-Ham (his Looney-Tunes inspired fighting antics are another highlight). The movie does a lot to distinct each of them, yet keeps universal constants that are what make all of them Spider-Man.
And really, that is the message the movie is trying to convey: anyone can be Spider-Man! Part of what makes the character (or, in this case, characters?) so timeless and relatable is that it is constructed in a manner that amplifies the small-town, down-to-earth vibe the movies carry (of course coated with a bit of multiverse theory and supervillains that use cephalopod-like limbs as their gimmick).
It’s hard to think of anything this movie really gets wrong. If one is to nitpick, the pacing can sometimes be a bit off, and the villains suffer from that same Marvel syndrome where they aren’t nearly as interesting as the heroes (you could argue this was not what they were going for, but spoilers here: they totally were). Disregarding miniscule details that don’t really deter from your enjoyment of the film, however, and it’s just about the best Miles Morales Spider-Verse film we could have asked for.
Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse gets a 9/10.