Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Movie Review – An eye popping visual feast.

August 2011 saw the arrival of Miles Morales in the comic world. A new (more culturally diverse) character to take up the mantle as Spider-Man. Ever since his introduction into the comics I have always wondered if we would one day see him on the big screen. With Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, his time to be introduced to the mass movie going audience has now come, albeit in the form of this latest Sony Pictures animation.

This story follows Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) who shortly after being bitten by a Spider, realises that he must team up with the other Spider-Men and women from the colliding dimensions, in order to save New York City and restore reality.

The first thing you’ll notice when watching this film is the incredible animation. It’s rare in the medium of film to come across something that you can confidently say you haven’t seen before, but that is absolutely the case here. I simply have not seen animation done like this before. Every single frame is packed with energy and style. It literally felt like I was reading a comic that was in motion, from the wonderfully vibrant colours to the dialogue boxes that sometimes appear, it’s mind blowing to think of all the care and attention that was placed into the creation of every frame. It’s easily one of the most unique animated films in terms of the execution of it’s art style. I can’t praise it enough. I saw it in 2D but can only imagine it being even better to look at in the 3D format, as the visuals would pop even more.

Narrative wise I was very pleased with how things were handled. This is first and foremost Miles’ story. Even when the other Spider heroes appear, Miles still remains the focus of the story and I appreciated that very much. This film showcases his origin and how he becomes Spider-Man in a rather fresh manner, that does deviate from the comics in some aspects, but the changes that were made were well implemented. The story is filled with a lot more heart than I had expected, I really found myself starting to care about Miles and his journey into becoming a hero. Also the family dynamic between Miles, his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali) and his father (Brian Tyree Henry) is explored very well and allows for some great character development, which increases your investment in the characters themselves.

I didn’t expect the script to have such effective humour, this is one of the funnier films I can think of this year. From start to finish it put a smile on my face and often had me laughing every couple of minutes, Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman’s script is ripe with comedy. Once the story really gets going and the other Spider heroes get introduced, the chemistry and dialogue exchanges between them all were a pleasure to watch. The only place the script falters is in the villains motivations. Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) is the main antagonist of the story and his motivations are very clear. It’s some of the other villains that appear who don’t really have a clear motive for why they are trying to execute Kingpin’s plan, and if it turns out they had their own agenda that was never made clear. Whilst on the topic of villains I must say there’s a couple surprises in terms of who appears and the emotional stakes that then creates for Miles, but I also want to highlight that I loved the villain designs they created for this story. They were rather unique whilst still managing to feel like they were ripped straight from the panels of a comic.

The voice work across the board is great. Shameik Moore effortlessly manages to sound like a regular kid, which helps make Miles seem more relatable as an ordinary person thrown into an extraordinary situation. Jake Johnson voices Peter B. Parker and he was a brilliant casting choice. He helped make Peter come across as a very laid back easy going person which I believe is what they were going for, but that also ends up assisting the dynamic between Miles and Peter in an interesting way. They were two regular people who share one key similarity which had brought them together, their powers. Seeing how that one thing they have in common has brought them together, and helped make Peter a mentor figure for Miles, is one of the more subtle but effective aspects of the story. The rest of the cast is rounded out by the likes of Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Brian Tyree Henry and more who all stood out with their vocal performances.

I’ve had a few days to process this film and I’ve tried to identify some negative things about it, but aside from what I’ve already mentioned about some of the villains motivations, I can’t think of anything else. That goes to show how much of an achievement this film is. Remember If you choose to watch the film do not forget to stay seated and wait for the post credit scene, as it is easily up there among the best post credit scenes ever, it’s truly hilarious.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is essential viewing for anybody who considers themselves to be a Spider-Man fan. It’s packed with heart, humour and eye popping visuals. I think it is simply impossible for any Spider-Man fan to dislike this film.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

(5 Stars out of 5)

-T. Graham.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Starring Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry and Mahershala Ali.

Directed by Rodney Rothman, Bob Persichetti & Peter Ramsey.

Now showing in cinemas.

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