WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker, he soon realises that there are many others who share his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin, a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Honestly, I was extremely sceptical about a Marvel Spider-Man animation made by Sony - it had all the elements of being terrible. Our friendly neighbourhood superhero has had so many cinematic versions it’s become a running joke, and Marvel’s Tom Holland managed to finally get the perfect version that few people can complain out (I myself did love Andrew Garfield though). Why would we need an animated version?
Turns out, it’s probably not only the best movie to come out of Sony in a while, but also one of the best movies of the year - animated and non-animated. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as an animation gave the studio a chance to really go wild with the character and do a completely unique Spidey story that doesn’t have to tie in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It resulted in a heartfelt, hilarious and poignant film about family, finding your confidence and the power that heartbreak can hold over someone - good and bad. While I didn’t know much about Miles Morales - the relatable and endearing new Spider-Man (people shouting ‘it’s just being PC’ can shove right off, he’s delightful) - I can see why the writers became enamoured with him in their retelling.
A teenager becomes the new Spider-Man after an experiment goes wrong and brings Spideys from other universes to his city, all trying to find their way home.
The film could have easily become overwhelmed with so many characters, but they handled it brilliantly with funny intros that seamlessly folded into the story’s heavy comic book visuals. The animation style may not have been my favourite thing of the film, but I can appreciate the work and skill that went into it - it’s a mix of computer animated graphics and hand-drawn animation, the biggest Sony animation crew ever. It even breaks that fourth wall by making its main character aware of the comic style that’s suddenly taken over his life, and takes on an almost Deadpool-esque vibe that’s a little more friendly to the kiddies without feeling like a copycat. Combine this with some fantastic characters each broken in their own way, the dopest soundtrack (thank you Post Malone) to accompany an animation since Shrek, hilarious throwbacks to Sony’s other Spideys and a self-contained Marvel story that you can watch without having to link it to the franchise.
And that’s part of the reason this movie is so amazing. The filmmakers straight of the bat wanted something separate from the MCU, and it gave them the chance to start from scratch (almost) with a new character and the alternate universe angle means they could go wild… AND THEY DID. If you’ve seen Spider-Ham in the trailers, you’ll know what I mean. But despite having three directors and a writer (from The Lego Movie and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) the story remains grounded within the trials and tribulations of a teenager dealing with change and balancing his dreams with the hopes of his family. It’s a more relatable movie for the younger digital-savvy Gen Z kids, many who grow up in urban neighbourhoods, and a great update for the wall-crawler that gels well with the MCU version.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a well-thought-out and surprisingly fantastic addition to the superhero genre, with a thriving, beating heart at its core that will melt anyone’s scepticism coming to watch it. This animation has completely changed my perception of Sony, and can’t wait for Morales to swing into our theatres again.
PS - Stick around for the post-credit scene, even if it’s just to listen to the Spidey Christmas jingle playing during the credits. It’s pure gold.