Is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” a spider-y success or a comic book catastrophe?
Set in an alternate Universe to the one we are used to, “Into the Spider-Verse” follows Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) after he is bitten by a mysterious radioactive spider, and realises he has developed the same super-powers as the web-slinging vigilante that protects him and the rest of New York — Spider-Man! But, things soon take a turn for the worst when a plot to create a rift in the space-time continuum is discovered, which could cause multiple Universes to collapse in on each other and merge with dangerous consequences. These dimensional disturbances, however, have unforeseen consequences when Miles discovers he is not the only Spider-Man in the multiverse — in fact, every Universe seems to have one!
“Into the Spider-Verse” is an animated film, coming from a studio who’s previous works include the critically slammed “The Emoji Movie” and the very average “The Smurfs” film series — don’t let this put you off. This film is almost a piece of art, it’s so beautiful to watch; the colours are magnificent, the cinematography fantastic, and it’s all pushed forward by a powerful combination of score and soundtrack. I feel that you could take almost any of the frames from this film and hang it on a wall as a painting. Animated films have their origins in the hand-drawn cartoons and comics of old, and “Spider-Verse” taps into this by incorporating features of the classic comic-book panel into this motion-picture — giant “KABOOM”s when punches are thrown, thought and speech bubbles with each character, even the iconic caption boxes to describe time passing and character’s intentions. In a landscape of boring and simplistic 3D animations, this hark back to more traditional methods is delightfully refreshing and engaging.
The pitfall that most of these modern animations fall into, I think, is being too targeted at children — the characters lack depth, the narratives lack meaning, and the script is just a string of crude jokes loosely linked together. “Spider-Verse” bucks this trend completely; it’s less a kid’s film and more a film that is suitable for children, though frankly I think most adults would get more enjoyment from it, especially those who are fans of comic-book heroes such as Miles Morales and Spider-Man. The humour in this film was fantastic, subtle but enough to make all of the audience laugh out loud, and “Spider-Verse” is a masterful showcase of silent comedy — things only have to be shown, not told. The characters as well have real depth and are developed well enough for the narrative to progress smoothly, and there are some real emotional moments between them throughout the film. They are also voiced to perfection by the excellent cast of actors — my favourite had to be Nicholas Cage as Spider-Man Noir, though his part was relatively small his lines were delivered in a way that could be both hilarious and poignant. The story of “Spider-Verse” is also complex enough to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout, but not overly complicated to lose focus and get bored. It was paced to perfection, and though it did feel at parts some events took much less screen-time than they could have, it didn’t ever detract from the story and in fact just helped to keep the narrative going and not get bogged down in less exciting areas.
Overall there isn’t much to fault with “Into the Spider-Verse”, so I won’t! It is a superb example of original animation, and shows that filmmaking truly is an art. It is a must-Watch for hard-core comic book fans and casual viewers alike, and thus deserves a ten-out-of-ten.
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