When Sony announced its plans for a universe built around their flagship Spider-Man character in 2013, they had many fans worried. The character had been rebooted in 2012 and the 2014 sequel was a critical disaster. Plans were laid out for a Sinister Six film which never materialized. Then came Venom, which was undoubtedly saved only by Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Brock. Luckily though we got Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in the MCU which was a well thought out move. And so amongst Sony’s many decisions was the animated Spider-Verse film centered around Miles Morales, a character created by Brian Michael Bendis in 2011 to carry on the mantle of Spider-Man from Peter Parker.
Personally, not a fan of the character initially, my thoughts changed in July when I attended the panel at San Diego Comic Con for Into The Spider-Verse. The footage shown at the panel boasted the best depiction of a story translated onto the big screen from a comic book that actually retained the feel of its source material. And the final film certainly did not disappoint. Laden with a hip-hop and rap infested soundtrack that maintains the ethnic and cultural undertones of the character, Into The Spider-Verse is an amazing take on motion picture animation in the form of a superhero film.
The film launches with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a happy-go-lucky type of teenager whose artistic side does not live up to his father’s expectations. His Uncle Aaron is the only figure he looks up to – apart from the OG Spider-Man. Miles’ origin story pretty much mirrors that of Peter’s, bite from a radioactive spider but the entire will-it won’t it scene is pretty interesting to watch and once it does happen, he develops spider-esque powers. Soon after, Miles witnesses the death of Peter Parker (Chris Pine), who attempts to thwart the Kingpin’s (Liev Schreiber) plan to power up a massive supercollider. The supercollider draws in various other Spider-people from multiple dimensions; a middle-aged Peter (Jake Johnson), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage) and Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) amongst others. They soon unite and join forces to stop the Kingpin and return to their own universes before the current one kills them.
Into The Spider-Verse plays around with the established Spider-Man mythos, references previous Spider-Man films and reinforces the idea that the version killed off is Tobey Maguire’s version (upside down kiss, train rescue and that hilarious dance from the third Spider-Man movie). The humour in the film is unyielding and the best part is that it doesn’t feel out of place. The balance of the themes established the film play well from beginning to end and the pacing does not leave you with much time to think.
However what stood out the most for me is the visual characterization and depiction of New York city and all its inhabitants, the feeling of being inside the world of Spider-Man, the experience of riding high amongst all the skyscrapers and immersive sensation of reading a comic book. To be honest, I am pretty pumped up for a sequel and perhaps even an iteration of Miles Morales in the MCU.
Courtesy of Akash SK