I keep hearing about this condition called 'superhero fatigue'. If you haven't heard of it, it is something you have when you get tired of seeing superhero movies coming nearly every other month. Now I am a self-proclaimed superhero geek and I am not tired of getting to watch these flicks even when there is a barrage of them thrown at me. Sure, there are bad eggs that nearly turn you off, but you also have films like Captain America: Winter Soldier and Avengers: Infinity War to cheer you up. And then comes a film like Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, that blows some refreshing breeze into the genre and revitalizing it for another round. Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse To Have a Sequel, and an All-Female Spin-Off - Read Deets
Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) is a young boy living in Brooklyn, just the same time when Peter Parker's Spider-Man (Jake Johnson) continues to protect the city from its many villains. Facing regular teen problems like shifting to a new posh school and living upto the expectations of his cop father (Brian Tyree Henry), Morales would rather spend his time with his sneaky uncle Aaron Davis (Mahershala Ali). During one such excursion, he gets bitten by a radioactive spider, and gets nearly the same powers as Peter Parker. Miles has difficulty adjusting with his powers (which at first, he tries to explain to himself as puberty) and in a quest to find out what exactly happened to him, he comes across Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber) and his dastardly plan to break space-time continuum.
In the process, Miles witnesses Peter Parker being killed, but not before the latter passes the baton of saving the city to the former. Fisk manages to breach the dimension, though not entirely successful for his secret purpose. This results in Peter Parker from another dimension to land in Miles'. And he is not alone!
There is a saying that too many cooks spoil the broth. And there are exceptional cases when the combined effort makes the broth so delectable that we beg for more. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is such a wonderful exception. There are three directors involved in the making of the film, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, with The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Normally such team-ups makes for a recipe for a disaster. However, this team not only managed to give us an exemplary origin movie that also works as a team-up saga a la Guardians of the Galaxy, but also creates one of the most beautiful looking films in recent times. At times, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse looks to be a 3D spectacle with every frame managing to create a special visual magic (check out that scene when Morales takes the Leap of Faith) and at times, it feels like a comic book come alive. You have to see the movie to understand what I am trying to say here! From the use of textboxes to actual comic panels, the movie feels like a tribute to not just Spider-Man but any comic book! Dear Oscars, you just cannot ignore the animation in this movie for the Best Visual Effects category. Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse: Better Than Spider-Man 2? Early Reactions Are Pouring High Praise For Sony's Animated Superhero Film!
Like I have said in my previous reviews, visual aesthetics are not enough to make an excellent film; it needs to be backed by an impeccable narrative. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse has more reasons to cheer you up in that aspect too! The movie impossibly manages to find that balance between humour and emotions, while also winking at the fallacies of its own lore, something even Deadpool couldn't get right. The writers have paid homages to all the comic-book iterations of the Spider-man characters we have read or seen, with the looks and behavioural patterns. At the same time, they also revere and pay tribute to the stories we saw in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield's less-adored The Amazing Spider-Man series and even the MCU version. And they didn't forget to troll the emo scene of Spider-Man 3, considered the lowest point in any Spider-Man movie!
Despite the number of major characters it has to handle, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse manages to make each of them feel relatable. Every time we meet a new Spider-Man, we have a backstory told through a fast-paced montage to get to know them. And when the movie knows that this idea is becoming a trite trope, it pauses to laugh at it.
So while Peni Parker, Spider-Man Noir (Nicholas Cage in a brilliant piece of voice-casting) and Spider-Ham may feel alien to those who rely on movies to get their geeky stuff, by the end of the film, we feel like we have known them for years (that said, I am really looking forward to a Spider-Man Noir-Spider-Ham spinoff). Even the big baddie, Wilson Fisk, who despite his world-crushing plans and limited screentime, feels humane in his dastardliness.
The thing that Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse manages to successfully do best was to introduce Miles Morales as the next Spider-Man. Whiles Miles is a very popular iteration in his comic book stories, he is not very familiar to the movie geeks who are so habituated with Peter Parker. The character is written in a very approachable manner, and it is easy to relate to everything he feels pre and post-bite. His gradual control over his powers feels natural, with the writers smartly linking it to his own reluctance to meet his father's expectations. Even Miles' sort of romance with Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) has its moments.
Watch the Trailer of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse here -
The voice-cast is top-notch, especially Shameik Moore and Jake Johnson. The choice of music also works, perhaps the best use since GOTG and Black Panther.
- Almost everything!
- Those who have not read the comics or are aware of how the characters really look may have some difficulty following some stuff.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse can swing itself into not only being one the best-animated movies in recent times, but also one of the best superhero movies too! Is it better than Spider-Man 2? It may take another viewing or two to decide that, but the movie has high stakes in being the best Spider-Man movie made. Like Peter Parker says, 'Take That Leap of Faith' into this Spider-verse and you will have a jolly good time!
PS - The movie has a hilarious post-credit scene, so don't miss out on that! Also, the mid-credit scene pays a touching tribute to the late Marvel comics creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Lee also has a posthumous cameo in the film, God bless his soul!