Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
There have been so many adaptations of the Marvel superhero Spider-Man that it’s hard to know how many different iterations we’ve seen in simply this decade. The latest adaptation is a refreshing one from producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, which is a very self-aware film with a fascinating animation.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a curious animated movie about the famous wall-crawler. But in this film Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) isn’t the main character, it’s Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) an Afro-Latino teenager from Brooklyn. It’s only after a split in the space-time continuum occurs that a fusion of multiple “universes” and alternate realities comes into fruition, bringing different Spider-Mans ranging from a black-and-white Spider-noir (Nicolas Cage), to an anime one (Kimiko Glenn), and even Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld).
The most striking aspect of this film is its animation. Instead of choosing between the classic 2-D animation and the more modern 3-D, the film fuses the two. There is also the choice to make the animation seem to be taken from the comic books so that you have speech and thought bubbles, and even exclamations during action sequences like “POW!” The result is a refreshing and incredibly immersive experience that adds to the new take that the filmmakers wanted to have with this over-done character.
Instead of going about a more typical superhero origin story, the film brings the concept of alternate realities and of even death of important characters, so that any sense of predictability is thrown into the wind. Thus the story is full of twists and surprises that elicit audible gasps from the audience members. The characters themselves, from a more aged Peter Parker to the youthful Miles Morales are so endearing, complex, and human that you want to spend much more time with them.
And here is where the movie might falter a little. Given that the animation is incredibly complex, and that the story is one that probably took years to hash out, it should be commended that the product that the filmmakers made is impressive. However, you can’t help but feel like the film is too short. The journey of Miles and of his supporting characters feels too brief, so that not only is the film done sooner than you would like it to, but a lot of the rich world that is presented is not fully fleshed out. This results into some sentimental moments fading a bit since we didn’t have enough time to grasp onto certain supporting characters.
That’s not to take away too much from this film. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse brings about a fresh spin to a story and character that seemed to have been dried up. Certainly the new casting of Miles Morales as the protagonist is an important one to note; the image of a young and black Spider-Man in a hoodie saving the day and setting in an example is one that is more powerful than any words or political action could have on many kids today.