I’m pretty sure Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse is going to be the movie kids of the future look back on, when they dig deep to find out what kickstarted their love of super hero animated movies. If I had to describe how I felt while watching, I’d say it was like watching back to back episodes of my favourite action cartoon.
I’m twenty one this year. When I think back to the cartoons I loved when I was younger, several series would come to mind. Like Teen Titans, or DC animated universes’ Justice League. The movie was a perfect balance between action and story, heart-wrenching and humorous. This is the shot in the arm the tired Spider-man franchise needed. I can scarcely believe this movie was written by the same guys who did Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs!
If I’m what I’m saying still isn’t clear, allow me to continue praising this movie to high heavens. This was one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. Rocketing past Spider-man: Homecoming and settling up there with Marvel’s brutally amazing Infinity War. Tom Holland’s remake was decent, but the movie didn’t leave me giddy with excitement like Into the Spider-Verse did.
Set in Brooklyn, the movie is centered on Miles Morales as he stumbles upon an evil plot resulting in the death of his world’s Spiderman. Bitten by a radioactive spider and developing the same Spidey powers, Miles’ life begins to spiral out of control.
Fortunately for him, the mastermind responsible for Peter’s death has inadvertently summoned heroes from parallel universes, and he teams up with them to learn what it takes to be a hero and to stop Brooklyn from being destroyed. Oh, and did I mention those heroes are also variations of Spider-man?
I went into the movie with minimal knowledge of the movie. I probably saw a trailer or two, but for the most part, I only knew it had the gimmick of the same heroes being summoned from a parallel universe. Into the Spider-Verse could have easily been a flaming dumpster fire with so many characters, but the plot is ridiculously airtight.
Narrative threads are set up and seen to fruition. The plot moves at a blazing pace but remains economical for viewers to follow. Even better is that despite the clichéd setup, the movie still manages to pull off a number of plot twists that I wouldn’t have dared to dream of.
Take the villain, as an example. When Wilson Fisk, or Kingpin, was introduced, I had a faint notion of his personality and motivations from Daredevil. The screenwriters could have used him as he came, I’m sure Marvel fans wouldn’t have minded. But this image I of him I had was completely ripped apart and built up over the course of the movie.
I say from experience that animated films often fail in the villain aspect, likely to keep the story digestible and easy to follow for kids. As I said before, Fisk kills Peter Parker at the start of the Into the Spider-Verse but the movie still successfully turns him into a sympathetic character. I rooted for Miles’ and his merry band of heroes to save the day, but deep down, I also hoped Fisk could somehow reach his goal.
When I think this, I have to remind myself that him getting what he wants would undoubtedly result in the destruction of Miles’ reality. There’s something amazing to be said about Into the Spider-Verse’s portrayal of characters that can make me root for both the villains and heroes.
Rarely is there an animated movie as stunning as this one. It shuns realistic 3D used in movies like How to Train your Dragon in favour of a gorgeous comic-book cell-style that makes backgrounds, environments, and characters pop. Even if your kids get doozy because they can’t follow the story, they’ll be enraptured by the visuals.
The concrete jungle of Brooklyn is anything but dull. A mish mash of clothing colours, graffiti, normal everyday objects seem so lively. On the other end of the spectrum, take the autumn forest featured in the trailers where Miles and Parker swing around in, which is practically dripping with colour. Absolutely gorgeous.
Lush orange leaves scattered across the forest floor, the standout red and blue of the signature Spidey suit. I was wrapped up in the moment, and I felt truly, like I was there, watching as they swung from tree to tree. Without a doubt, the animation was one of the best this year.
I’m glad I dragged myself to catch this movie. Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse is one hell of a way to finish a year.