Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, and Lief Schreiber
Writers: Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
Producers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Christina Steinberg, Amy Pascal, and Avi Arad
Executive Producers: Stan Lee, Brian Michael Bendis, and Will Alegra
Composer: Daniel Pemberton
Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsay, and Rodney Rothman
When Miles Morales, a young teenager from Brooklyn, gets bitten by a radioactive spider, he finds himself attempting to pick up the pieces that the Spider-Man of his universe left behind. In doing so, he comes across several other Spider-People drawn into his world from the multiverse, including Peter Parker. With no other options, they all must work together to get back home, all while Miles tries to find his place in his own world as the new Spider-Man. Can they all succeed before they get trapped away from home forever? And can Miles find out what it means to be Spider-Man?
I remember back around 2014/2015 when this movie was announced, I was both excited, yet terrified. To me, Sony’s track record with the character of Spider-Man has only gone hill after Spider-Man 2 in 2004, and I was incredibly worried about their handling of an exciting concept. Even as more news was released, with the film focusing on Miles, the actual content of the film itself, and the trailers that have come out over the past year, I was still cautiously optimistic, and concerned that something that looked so good would end up being a blunder. However, I am incredibly happy to say that after two viewings of it, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is now in one of my top spots for favorite superhero film ever.
To start off, I absolutely loved Miles in this film, and along with the version of him in Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4, this might just be my favorite iteration of the character. He’s incredibly likable, energetic, spunky, and brings a unique freshness to Spider-Man films that have very much been needed as of late. His love of music and the arts is something I enjoyed watching very much, and I adore that it bleeds through not only his character but the film as a whole, especially with the music used. Shameik Moore was the absolute perfect choice to voice him, and I sincerely hope he returns to play Miles in the future, as he gave a phenomenal performance that will no doubt be remembered throughout his career.
Jake Johnson’s Peter Parker is also brilliant, and he fits very well as a crude, almost hermit-like mentor to Miles. I don’t want to say too much about his arc in this film, but without spoiling, it’s both an incredibly funny, and also incredibly heartbreaking one, and brought tears to my eyes the more I thought about it. Johnson plays this older, more disheveled Peter brilliantly, and while it isn’t entirely necessary for him to make a return in the future, I truly hope he does, as he is without a doubt one of my favorite iterations of the character.
All of the other Spider-People were phenomenal as well, and it’s a testament to good acting and writing when I can’t decide which one was my favorite. They were all incredibly likable, hilarious, and had very distinct designs and personalities, which only makes it harder to choose from them. Jumping off of that, one of my favorite things about this film is the gorgeous and stylish animation, and how different it can be for each character and their universe. While the overall film has a huge comic book aesthetic, each Spider-Person has somewhat of a different art style, as well as animation. Peni Parker and Spider-Ham especially have a much more cartoonish look, while Peter, Miles, and Gwen all have a similar 3D animated aesthetic. It helps make the film feel more alive, diverse, and creative, which all add to it being iconic.
The film does have a couple minor problems, however, but they don’t compromise the experience overall. The pacing is pretty slow, as the movie is relatively short, but felt pretty long, all things considered. Also, without spoiling, I wasn’t too happy with a certain character being left out for the most part, as their inclusion could’ve raised the stakes more. But in the end, no matter which characters did or didn’t get their time to shine, this movie belongs to Miles, and it’s his story one-hundred percent. He feels the weight of the entire world collapse on his shoulders, but rather than crumbling from it, he progressively wants to bear that responsibility more and more, and the end result is one of the best origin story superhero films we’ve ever gotten.
Overall, Into the Spider-Verse was phenomenal through and through, regardless of the small issues it had. Miles has made an excellent film debut from the pages, the supporting cast were amazing, the animation was superb, and just as an extra tidbit, the film not only has a fantastic score, but also a brilliant soundtrack which I highly recommend listening to. Seeing the praise this film is getting makes me desperately hope that if Sony are gonna keep the film rights to Spider-Man, they focus on making a universe centered around this, while Marvel Studios makes the live action films with Tom Holland. It’s is a testament to great filmmaking, and it’s my personal favorite animated film of the year. I can’t wait to see what spin-offs, sequels, and so forth will branch off from this movie, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Miles Morales / Spider-Man in the future.