Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse A Garbage Tier Review
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Written By: Phil Lord & Rodney Rothman
Theaters: Dec 14, 2018
Shameik Moore: as Miles Morales
Jake Johnson: as Peter B. Parker
Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy
Mahershala Ali as Uncle Aaron
Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis
Lily Tomlin as Aunt May
Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse is easily the best Spider-Man film to date.
I'm not just saying that just because I'm black.
I'm also saying that because I've also been reading comics for over 20 years and have primarily followed Marvel. Even before I could read comics, I knew Spider-Man.
Spider-Verse has a number of positives going for it but the most striking aspect is that it's a visual marvel to look at. The animation appears to be literally ripped from a comic strip with elements encompassing thought bubbles, panel breaks and textured animation designed to simulate a 4 color comic strip.
The animation is only matched by the performances by its lead actors. Shameik Moore (Miles) and Jake Johnson (Peter). Both characters give genuinely heartfelt performances that carry the emotional heartstrings of the film. The film is about legacy as well as coming of age and its an incredible balance that many films fail to achieve. All of the Spider-Verse characters get moments in the spotlight including the villains but as the story goes on it becomes very clear that Miles is very much the star here.
The second aspect that deserves attention is that the film has created a compelling Spider-Man that is not, I repeat not, Peter Parker. This statement may trigger some traditional fans of the character. However if you're willing to open your mind and take the story on its own merits Miles encompasses all of the traits of classic Spider-Man and updates them for a modern audience.
Miles is not Peter though. He has his own set of circumstances that lead him take on the legacy of the hero. This does not diminish Peter or Spider-man. The bottom line is that Stan Lee created Spider-Man as an everyman character that kids could relate to. He could be anybody, this is the core theme of Spider-Verse.
The studio could have played up the magical negro trope to get diversity cred but the movie doesn't mention race or make identity politics an issue at all. This is great because the spider that bit Peter could have gone after anybody. It just happened to bite Peter, just like it happened to bite Miles, Gwen, etc.
The third and final aspect of the film that I feel deserves serious praise are the villains. The villains of Spider-Verse are downright nasty. They are dangerous and are taken seriously in every encounter. The movie immediately establishes stakes. As a viewer its very easy to imagine our heroes being seriously injured or possibly killed over the course of the film. In short, the villains did not mess around.
The combination of top notch animation, compelling characters and high stakes drama combine to make Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse the Best Spider-Man movie ever produced as well as one of the purest superhero experiences ever brought to cinema.
I hope that we get more movies using similar animation. I would love to see a Rocketeer or Judge Dredd in this style. This method would work with just about any comic character and would make for less expensive films.
At this point, I don't want to hear about DC killing Marvel in Animation ever again. After Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse that conversation is over.