Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Film Review
Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Writers: Phil Lord (screenplay by), Steve Ditko (Spider-Man created by) etc.
Stars: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
Welcome to the Spider-verse, it’s where things get complicated. This is not set in the usual Marvel universe, instead, it’s another universe, quite like the original but with a few variations! Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is your typical high school kid. He has just started at a new school and is finding his feet with his new classmates. He goes out with his Uncle one night and is bitten by a radioactive spider. Sound familiar? Miles is soon to be Spider-man, or at least a Spider-man, as there’s more than one. He’s going to meet a variety of other Spider-men and women from universes not unlike his own! If it sounds confusing, it is a bit. I’m not sure this film will suit smaller Spider-man fans but I’d imagine a lot of pre-teen boys and girls will love this inventive and fun film.
There are a variety of Spider-people or Spider-animals on display in this film. There are such characters as Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) and more besides. There’s even Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) who turns out to be a rather kick ass Spider-woman in her own universe. They all meet Miles in order to stop the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) from trying to collide and therefore destroy their respective Universes.
While the plot does sound rather convoluted, it’s easy enough to follow while you’re watching it. The real joy of this film, however, is the animation. It combines a number of styles and mixes them up into a lively and spicy stew. The animation of the Kingpin in particular owes a debt to Bill Sienkiewicz era Elektra and looks great. There’s a touch of Manga in there and it draws heavily from its comic book source. It’s probably the most imaginative mainstream animation of the year.
This film could be a huge success. It’s got all the right ingredients and comes out over a Christmas that is sadly lacking in proper kids films. Star Wars have taken a Christmas off, and there’s not much else to get excited about. Hopefully, this film will inspire a new generation of animated Super-hero films that move away from the typical structure of Marvel films. There is so much to draw from in the styles of various artists in comics today and from yesteryear! This film is a bright, entertaining and stylish addition to the comic book catalogue.