When it comes to superhero movies the likes of Spider-Man remains a prevalent name in the genre. Whether he is swinging in solo adventures or teaming up Earth Mightiest Heroes, the Wall Crawler continues to grace the silver screen and play an important role in both and pop culture. This year has been a unique one for Spider-Man as the series saw its first spin-off with Venom; which managed to find success in the fall season. Now the franchise swings into new territory with the animated feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Directed by the team of Bob Perisichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman Into the Spider-Verse was developed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who are known for their work in films such as The Lego Movie. Since the first trailer I have been enthralled by this movie as the animation alone was enough for me to check this movie out; plus I am a Spider-Man fan. After seeing the movie for myself all my senses tingled as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not just a great animated film but perhaps the most dynamic superhero film to swing into theaters this year.
The plot of Into the Spider-Verse centers on Miles Morales (Shamiek Moore) who, after bitten by a radioactive spider, find himself in interdimensional dilemma when Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) winds up in Miles’ universe and together, along with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), they have to find a way to stop Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) before his super collider destroys the multiverse. There was a lot to this plot but Into the Spider-Verse ended up being a superhero tale empowered by adventure. The origin side of things was fairly standard but it managed to work thanks to the movie’s stellar execution. Along with the origin aspect the multiverse element added the right level of intrigue and conflict to make this adventure enticing. The only thing working against the plot was that the there was a lot to the story. The plot featured many aspects such as Mile’s family issues or Peter’s personal crisis that, while interesting, could get tangled in the web this plot was weaving. Yet aside from that complication the story of Into the Spider-Verse was an entertaining as it was engaging, and that was more than enough to live up the name of Spider-Man.
Equally as impressive was the cast which had plenty of character to it. Miles Morales made for an engaging, albeit typical, protagonist while the film’s Peter Parker brought a different side to the character; and together both Miles and Peter made for fantastic duo. Just as impressive as Miles and Peter was a supporting cast that had plenty going for it. Along with Gwen Stacy the additions of Noir Spider-Man (Nicholas Cage), Penny Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) were solid in their roles-despite their minor presence. Even the villains had plenty to offer the cast. I was surprise at how complex the Kingpin ended up being while the likes of Prowler (Mahershala Ali) made for a threatening antagonist when he was on screen. With a variety of characters, and some surprises, this cast was as impressive as any superhero ensemble and for any movie for that matter-even if some characters needed more screen time.
Going into this movie I was expecting good things from the animation, and it did not disappoint. The animation was a spectacle to behold as its blend of styles created something truly unique. The animation definitely played a factor in elements such as the action which was as thrilling as it was creative; as well as moments like the web swinging sequences which were just as impressive as their live action counterparts. The music by Daniel Pemberton was as stylish as the other technical aspects as the score was thematic and only added to the unique presentation of this animated feature.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse defied expectations. The movie does have its share of shortcomings but more than makes up for it with its solid storytelling, great characters and stunning animation. For these reasons Into the Spider-Verse catches many titles in its web as the movie is the best animated film of the year, a dynamic entry in the Spider-Man franchise and one of the best movies of 2018.