Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a new animated Spider-Man film unrelated to the MCU. The protagonist is Miles Morales, an African-American teen from Brooklyn who takes up the mantle of the web-slinging hero and must save the world with the help of his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to them all. It was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Film.
Perhaps this movie’s greatest success was its ability to build its world and fully immerse audiences. In fact, the film is shockingly effective at developing all of the different worlds despite the fact that the movie is set in only one dimension. The film uses humorous cutaways frequently, and these do a great job of building the mythology. It offers plenty for fans of the comics that will enjoy the many references and homages, but it can still be understood easily by those who aren’t as familiar with the more obscure iterations of the hero.
The humor in the script is also absolutely fantastic. The film easily could have resulted to the slapstick comedy characteristic of most children’s animated movies, but instead, it predominantly relies on self-referential and quirky humor. As a result, audiences of all ages will find laughs and joy throughout. There were multiple moments that had the audience roaring in laughter, but Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage) was likely the funniest part of the film.
The style of the movie is unabashedly comic-like, and it works really well. This is perhaps the most successful a film has ever been at capturing the mood and feel of a comic book. From the animation of the backgrounds to the use of on-screen text and the transitions between scenes, the movie is designed to cater to fans of comics.
That being said, the animation isn’t without its flaws. There are a few moments in which the film goes overboard with the more surreal visuals. It isn’t bad, but it goes from being playful and colorful to trippy and confusing. Additionally, there are some scenes in which it becomes somewhat blurry. It looks almost as if you are watching a 3D print without 3D glasses.
The voice cast assembled for this movie is massive and impressive. Shameik Moore does a very good job in his leading role as Miles Morales. He nails the lovable charm of the character. However, he is almost overshadowed by the excellent supporting cast. Jake Johnson, John Mulaney, Chris Pine, and Nicolas Cage are all hilarious. Liev Schreiber, who voices the antagonist Kingpin, is perhaps the best performer of the batch, giving the character a surprising amount of depth.
The music is also great. The score is wonderful and modern, complementing the film and making it even more immersive. The movie also contains a few original songs. “Sunflower”, performed by Post Malone, was particularly impressive. Surprisingly, it actually plays a significant role in the story, and as an added bonus, it’s pretty catchy.
Overall, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a fun and well-made film. At times, it does get to be a bit much, but for the most part, its wild energy works to its advantage.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opens in theaters December 14.