When Miles Morales gets bitten by a radioactive spider, his life changes forever, and in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a chance meeting with Peter Parker (Chris Pine) and the Kingpin throws Miles into a world of Spider-People from all across the multiverse.
Those of you in the front three rows might want to put on the poncho that’s been provided under your chairs because this review of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is going to be a bit of a gusher.
In case you have any doubts, I absolutely loved this film. It’s an Amazing, Spectacular, Sensational, Tangled Web of a film. It manages to combine fantastic set-pieces with laugh-out-loud moments and still finds the time to develop characters that are more than just the comic book archetypes we’ve gotten used to.
The most striking thing about Into the Spider-Verse is the visual style – it’s something unique that ties together so many different styles in such a brilliant way. At times there’s almost too much to look at, with its chaotic, Technicolor style, but it just all fits together so beautifully. I think this is a film that will reward repeat viewings, as I’m sure I missed so much the first time around. The visuals manage to fuse together a range of aesthetics from traditional hand-drawn cartoon goofiness right through to hyper-realistic vistas.
A lot of films in recent years have been credited with looking like “a comic book brought to life”, but it seems like they were all just treading water. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a comic book brought to life. There’s a nearly imperceptible pointillistic charm to the visuals that evoke memories of me reading old comics. I can’t stress enough how gorgeous this film is to look at; you need to see it on the big screen and probably more than once to take everything in. It’s a beautiful, overawing, explosion of styles that will swing from realism to tripped-out colourscapes in an instant, and it is a sight to behold.
This is ostensibly an origin story, and we have seen the Spider-Man origin story a lot; we see it at least seven times in this film alone. But this is the first time that we’ve seen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) appear on the big screen and it’s a refreshing, exciting change of pace. Miles is a very different kind of Spider-Man and one who fits perfectly into a very different age. There are a lot of familiar aspects to his beginnings, but they manage to feel fresh.
While this is very much the origin story of Miles Morales, it’s not all about him, as we get introduced to Spider-People from all over the multiverse. I won’t give too much away, as I think it’s best to go in cold, but it’s fair to say I loved each and every one of them. Each of them brings something different to the table, both visually and in terms of their characters. Superhero team-up films can very easily become a disjointed mess, but Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse manages to give everyone a chance to shine without becoming overblown.
Into the Spider-Verse is not “just a kids’ film”. The outlandish visuals may trick you into thinking it’s aimed at a younger audience but this is a film with real grit, and at times devastating consequences. I’m prepared to admit the story does do a lot of things we’ve seen before, but in reality the main plot of foiling the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) is, in reality, secondary to Miles’ own awakening. The interplay between the newly-assembled Spider-Team is very much the heart of this film and I loved what it was trying to do.
I had this on my list of “Most Anticipated Films of 2018” and I’m pleased to say that it didn’t disappoint. Usually when it comes to movies with great expectations comes great disappointment, but Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse absolutely hammers my expectations into the ground. It’s all I could have hoped for and far, far more (mainly because I am in no way a creative mastermind). Definitely go and see this as many times as you can at the cinema and then fervently wait for it to come out on Blu-Ray and do it all again. I’m pretty certain that this has crawled to the top of my list as my favorite Spider-Man movie, as well as swinging into my top 10 of the year.
Oli has been writing for Ready Steady Cut since November 2017. He has a PhD in Computer Science and he writes articles about TV, film and, very occasionally, science.