Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Screenwriter: Phil Lord
Starring: Shameik Moore, Chris Pine, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoe Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber
Sony Pictures Animation’s hotly anticipated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse promised to take the idea of cross-dimensional travel and superhero team ups to the next level through a brand new animation style filled with vibrancy and life. Oh boy did they deliver.
Into the Spider-Verse is simply an unforgettable animated movie experience, a soft opening drip-feeding the less usual elements of its original visual style and potentially complicated central story arc in a way that was easy to digest, the impactful, exciting and often moving narrative beats consequently hitting you like a rush of blood to the head, the aesthetic wonderment of the film’s comic-book-inspired visuals pulsating from the screen and screaming “look at how cool this is!”
This animated feature is simply bursting with life, every frame filled with colour and an energy to its motion, its youthful exuberance right on the pulse of youth culture from the ideals and concerns of its central character to the fashions and technology used by the cast, right through to the pulsating beat of the soundtrack.
And it’s layered too…
Into the Spider-Verse relies upon some pre-existing knowledge of the Spider-Man universe, sure, and the joyful experience is bound to be increased if you’re at least somewhat familiar with the character, but it offers enough uniquely comic book style explanations to get itself through what would usually be tedious expository dialogue, and ultimately offers a cast made up of some truly fleshed out characters and one of the best central protagonists in any superhero movie ever – Miles Morales is someone you can’t help but want to see succeed. It’s a feeling emphasised by the piece’s unusual take on an origin movie – that being an inter-dimensional team-up of sorts – that (alongside the fantastic and original animation) distracts from some of the movie’s more clear-cut tropes and cliches, creating the feeling of an entirely fresh and distinct piece of work in every aspect.
It is for this reason that Into the Spider-Verse becomes transcendent of what it could have easily fallen into the trap of being: a superhero movie for comic book superhero fans. It simply screams too loudly and holds too tightly to be relegated to such a position; a truly fantastic achievement.
Visually, the team at Sony Pictures Animation have achieved something extraordinary, their new technologies taking the comic book visual form and firmly stamping it into the mainstream cinema experience. The film is awash with colour and an almost palpable electricity as a result, every single frame rendered with some of the most beautiful and striking visuals in any film this year. It’s in this respect that Into the Spider-Verse is really sent over the edge as an overall movie; the visual construction wrapping an otherwise solid picture in something so spectacular and original that it is absolutely monumental, and will guarantee that audiences (if not the industry itself) will look back upon this film as a game-changer and history maker of our time.
This electric, atmospheric festival of colour is simply fantastic; a memorable and hearty superhero film with a revolutionary take on its own medium, a treasure of this year in cinema and absolutely the very best in Sony Pictures Animation’s studio history. This may even be the best superhero film of 2018.