"Inventive And Super Fresh" - A Review Of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
When you think about it, it could have been so easy to turn a new animated feature of Spider-Man into turgid, redundant filmmaking. After all, in live action format there have already been three cinematic versions of the superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Tobey, Andrew and Tom. So one could be forgiven for wondering if there was a need to create a new iteration at all. But thankfully, with the team behind The LEGO Movie at the helm of Spider-Verse, we have something that’s actually inventive, a whole lot of fun, and feels super fresh. It might even be the best Spider-Man film to arrive on our screens.
And it’s fortunate for us that the animation employed is ready to complement this other-worldly theme. At times hyper-real, at other moments recalling the classic renderings of the original comics, and even aping ‘anime’ tropes when appropriate; there is so much happening from an artistic perspective that this dizzying extravaganza is part of the sublime pleasure we get for taking this ride.
Shameik Moore is a great choice to voice Morales, and among the six alternate Spideys, my favorites would be Nicolas Cage voicing Spider-Man Noir, and Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman. And for concept, you just have to love how there’s a Peter Porker, a.k.a. Spider-Ham. Plus Jake Johnson playing an over-the-hill, paunchy, disheveled Spider-Man. It’s this very self-aware humor that drives this film in enjoyable, unique directions. And rather than claiming to stake their own territory, the film-makers here embrace all the Spider-Man executions of the past, whether comic book or movie, and this helps make the film both homage and different.
There’s even a soundtrack that doesn’t merely rely on songs from the past; and sounds very today - exactly what would have been on Miles Morales’ playlist if he was a real person. Post Malone and Nicky Minaj are among the artists recruited to create new tunes for the film.
Thanks to the manner in which this film has come to cinematic life, Spider-Verse may be the closest we can get to replicating the vibe and look of the comic books to the big screen. Even if for that reason alone, I’ll grant this film my unreserved standing ovation. Here is the Spider-Man that captures what was so magical about reading the comics, deftly mixing the existential teenage angst with superhero powers and moves - and multiplied times six!