You know the story, he’s Spider-Man he’s the everyday hero and we know everything about him, right? Wrong, welcome to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse true believers.
Starring Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Liev Schrieber, Mahershala Ali and many more Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an origin story, but not the one you expect.
So the story of Into the Spider-Verse is a fascinating one. The audience is introduced to Peter Parker. We get his usual speech about responsibility and all that and how he is a rockstar superhero. He even has a Christmas album, which I honestly can’t believe he did (he’s no Michael Bublé).
The film then moves to Brooklyn where a young African American/Hispanic teen Mile Morales (Moore) is living a regular life. He’s struggling with a recent move to an elite high school. He doesn’t feel like he belongs and misses his old friends. He clashes with his dad often but it mainly comes from a place of love. One night Miles is particularly feeling out of place and decides to hang out with his uncle Aaron (Ali). While hanging out with his uncle he gets bitten by a spider, no big whoop he flicks it away and it dies.
Next morning, however, puberty seems to have hit and hit hard. He’s a few inches taller, he seems faster and stronger, and he’s sticking to surfaces that he shouldn’t be able to. That’s right ladies and gentlemen we may have another Spider-Man on our hands, but that is just the tip of the multi-faceted spider-verse.
Right so off the bat, you will notice the stunning visual style of Into the Spider-Verse. It’s jaw-droppingly lush with colour. It has been cited as the true embodiment of a living comic book and I can’t argue with that opinion. When I sat down with the directors of the film I learned that there were over 170 animators and this astounded me.
To think how that number of creatives were brought together boggles the mind in a fantastic way. Was it worrying to think there are such an excess in directors (3) and animators (over 170) that it could become a ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ scenario? Very much so but when you sit down and watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse you are instantaneously engaged.
One of my favourite aspects of Into the Spider-Verse is its score. The characters all have their own beat that symbolises their personality and the world they come from. It’s smart, it’s heart-pumping and it meshes so well with the action scenes of Into the Spider-Verse.
Another technical flourish is the soundscape that the directors have created. Much like the themes of the various Spider-People that show up, there are also sounds that come off other characters which are fascinating. Case in point is the Prowler. This villain is a terrifying force of nature. The sounds that accompany him are genuinely frightening. This attention to detail for every character gives them all their own unique and impressive status.
All this technical wonder doesn’t mean anything if the cast can’t bring anything to their characters and I have to say every member of the cast is wonderful. A particular highlight for me was Jake Johnson. He has done another fascinating twist to the Peter Parker mythos and I loved it. Nothing can be taken away from Shameik Moore and his emotionally potent journey as Miles Morales. There may be 6+ Spider-People in this film with all their convoluted origins intact but this is Miles’ story and Shameik crushes it.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is also a beautifully warm and funny story. It’s something of a tearjerker as well. The theme of family is strong in this one much like how family is the source of Peter’s power Miles pulls strength from those around him too and its a credit to the cast and crew.
I leave this review with this simple statement – See this movie!! Oh and stay after the credits, you’ll thank me later.