Telling the story of Miles Morales, a teenager in New York who gets superhero powers, Into the Spider-Verse is not only a fresh, new and original take for Spider-Man in film, but also one of, if not the best Spider-Man films ever.
While the film features more renowned and familiar Spider-Man characters like Peter Parker and Aunt May, Miles is in the spotlight. He is instantly likeable and relatable as a teenager starting out in a new school, awkwardly trying to make friends and fit in. Hilarity ensues when he then has to do this while also starting to display and discover his powers. It’s a clever, but not entirely subtle analogy for puberty and aging.
Miles is a funny and somewhat confident teen. In many ways, he’s a ‘cool kid.’ The exact opposite of the usual depictions of Peter Parker. This allows the film to feel fresh and original and Miles becomes far more compelling and interesting as a result.
Other characters are also well envisioned and they too feel different enough to be original. Without going into spoilers, there are familiar Marvel and Spider-Man characters in the film and the majority of them are unique, interesting takes on them. There’s a well known Spider-Man villain in the film who has been almost completely reimagined, allowing for a surprising and shocking reveal of who they are.
By exploring the multi-verse, the film pulls out slightly different versions of familiar characters. Peter Parker, for example is older and having fallen on hard times, he’s lost definition and put on weight. This means that even the more familiar characters come across as different enough, allowing for the subversion of expectations.
Sadly, there are a lot of characters in the film. They all have unique looks and they’re all likeable enough but there’s only so much time to explore them in detail. This means that the likes of Spider-Ham and Peni Parker are a tad stereotypical and underdeveloped. Kingpin, the main villain of the film is also a little one note, being determined to get his family back and little else. The likes of Gwen Stacy and Spider-Man Noir fair a little better thanks to more screen time.
On the animation front, the film is incredible. There’s never been an animated film that looks quite like this. The film is very stylish with comic book aesthetics, speech bubbles and transitions, there’s gorgeous cinematography and a vast amount of detail rarely seen in animation. Characters such as Spider-Ham and Peni Parker also boast different looks to others in the film. Peni looks like a Japanese anime character, while Spider-Ham looks like classic 2D animation. It’s odd but it isn’t distracting and it somehow works well.
The film also flows in an unusual manner. It’s almost as if a single frame has been edited out every now and then, making some of the animation feel a little jumpy. This isn’t a bad thing though, it takes some getting used to but it adds an element of originality to the look of the film.
In addition, the film has a great, catchy and fun soundtrack, some great jokes, action scenes and fabulous voice acting.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best Spider-Man films to date, one of the best superhero films to date and perhaps even one of the best animated films ever made. By taking the Spider-Man franchise and putting new twists on familiar characters and stories and by focusing on Miles Morales, the film is a breath of fresh air for the genre and franchise.