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Film Review: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Sony Pictures

Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman
Written by: Phil Lord
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber & Chris Pine

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the latest offering from the Spidey franchise at Sony Pictures following the success of Venom earlier this year, featuring the long awaited big screen debut of Miles Morales, the Spider-Man of Earth-1610. Yes I know what you’re thinking – another Spider-Man film?! But hear me out, this is unlike any Spidey outing we’ve seen yet as we delve into alternate dimensions, exploring six iterations of the iconic character from the Spider-Verse! Into the Spider-Verse is a welcomingly fresh take on the genre, featuring a visually stunning animation style that has brought comics to life on the big screen in the most inventive way I’ve ever seen. On top of this, the story is full of heart and packed to the brim with Easter eggs and pop culture references that will surely delight any Spidey fan!

The film, produced by 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, centres on an Air Jordan wearing and hip hop loving Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) rather than Peter Parker. The gifted kid is struggling to fit in at his stuffy, elitist boarding school and often sneaks out at night with his Uncle to practice his street art. That’s until he gets bitten by a radioactive spider (you know the drill!) and stumbles upon Kingpin’s atom collider which tears a hole in the space-time continuum – connecting him with multiple Spider-People including Spider-Gwen (finally!) and an older, slightly overweight Peter Parker. It’s up to Miles to learn the ropes and become Spider-Man in order to help return the rest of his Spidey team back to their universe and destroy the machine to save New York from becoming a giant glitch. On the surface, the story sounds pretty much like your typical ‘kid becomes a superhero’ comic book origin, but thankfully there’s so much more to it. The film explores what it truly means to be Spider-Man – focusing on not just the amazing powers, but also the loss and the hurt too. There’s a really tender story at the heart of the film, featuring Mile’s relationship with his father and uncle, but don’t worry – it’s also hilarious and so self-deprecating of the genre!

The voice cast are also absolutely brilliant; The Get Down’s Shameik Moore is perfect as the young Miles Morales, who is supported by his family (Brian Tyree Henry and Luna Lauren Velez) and uncle (Mahershala Ali). Jake Johnson channels New Girl‘s Nick with his older, slightly chubbier and more cynical Peter Parker while Hailee Steinfeld brings a sassy and likeable Spider-Gwen to life. John Mulaney is hilarious and cartoony as Peter Porker/Spider-Ham, but my favourite definitely had to be the genius Nic Cage as Spider-Noir, a hilariously dark and brooding detective Peter Parker from the ’30s. If you haven’t watched the footage of Cage recording his lines yet – go and YouTube it now!

But what really sets Into the Spider-Verse apart is the ambitious, unique and vibrant visual style that completely blew me away – it’s literally the closest adaptation to a Spider-Man comic I’ve ever seen! The production team at Sony Pictures Animation have poured so much time into crafting a technique we’ve never really seen before on the big screen to allow us this experience, merging the 2D-printed graphic style of comic books with beautiful 3D animation. The film successfully incorporates so many comic book elements such as burst cards, ben day dots, speech bubbles and multiple panelling, as well as weaving in the various styles of each Spidey character such as punk elements for Spider-Gwen and anime for Peni Parker. No wonder this film has just been nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Animated Motion Picture category! The animation also lends itself to some absolutely fantastic action sequences and fight scenes – look out for the part in Doc Ock’s office in particular. Oh and yep, there’s a hilarious end credits scene that’s definitely worth sticking around for!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is definitely one of the best Spider-Man films to date; it’s fresh, full of heart and just so much fun. I’m so glad that a sequel has been announced as well as a female-led spinoff, as there’s just so many rich characters from the multiverse to explore! This is a film that’s definitely made for the family as well as fans of the comic books – I would highly recommend it. Move over Venom and Morbius!