Into the Spider-Verse is an animation marvel

The film undoubtedly stands as the best superhero film of 2018

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation

By: Winona Young, Arts Editor

Even though this franchise has created three Spider-Men (and even more films) and counting, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is hands-down the best Spider-Man movie of all. The story is heartfelt and hilarious, and the animation is so marvellous you can’t help but wonder why more superhero films aren’t animated. Exhilarating and evolutionary, Into the Spider-verse is sure to be anyone’s favourite film.

Set in modern-day Queens, we’re introduced to your friendly neighbourhood Miles Morales. He is a (somewhat struggling) middle-schooler, a son to (almost too) loving parents, a secret spray-paint artist, and recently, a victim to a spider bite. Cue, of course, interdimensional shenanigans and villains, which all culminates in multiple Spider-people arriving in his universe.

Among animation, great voice acting, script writing, et cetera, the most compelling thing about this film is the diversity of the Spider-people. Not only do we have the first Spider-Man of colour (on the big screen at least), but we have a Peter (B.) Parker that for once isn’t such a golden boy, and even a Spider-woman, Gwen Stacy.

Miles’ evolution into his own Spider-Man, through the guidance of his fellow Spider-People, friends, and family, is the true heart of the movie, marking Into the Spider-verse as a one-of-a-kind, genuine, and heartfelt film.

This strong script is supported by even stronger visuals. The animation is vivid, bright, and breathtaking. Comic genres (and animated films for that matter) are infamous for only including white faces and characters — but Sony created a film that seamlessly did justice to the Afro-Latinx protagonist, and they also populated the screen with a crowd as diverse as real-life Queens. Even just the attention to detail when it came to distinguishing universes is fantastic; small references like a poster of Chance the Rapper with a #4 hat breathe even more life into the film.

This film, however, is not without its flaws — even if they may be minor. For example, while Uncle Aaron is a great foil to Miles’ parents in the first 20 or so minutes, his later re-appearance felt more like an afterthought than an organic buildup.

For instance, while I did love seeing an Asian Spider-Girl, Peni Parker, it is exhausting to see the filmmakers went for the too-tired “Japanese anime school girl” trope. (And expanding on that, the filmmakers specifically went for another Asian kid with a giant robot friend trope, but that’s a discussion for another day). More interaction between the two Spider-Girls, aside from a throwaway line about a plan, would’ve also been nice. But while it’s very worthwhile to bring up these flaws, they do not detract whatsoever from how wonderful and how necessary this film is with its young POC superhero protagonist.

Overall, while the superhero genre has been oversaturated for a while now, Into the Spider-verse stands as a unique story that wonderfully inverts the lone superhero trope. With a fresh protagonist, gorgeous animation, and wonderful worldbuilding, it’s clear that this film is now the Spider-Man film all of us will remember.

STRAY OBSERVATIONS:

  • Do you think after saving New York City, that Nike would’ve noticed the new Spider-Man is wearing their merch? Would Spider-Man be brand loyal? Perhaps offer him a Spider-sponsorship? Only time will tell.
  • All of Peter Porker’s lines are killer. Especially the uncensored ones.
  • The after-credits scene was the pièce de resistance of the film. I’d wager even funnier than Deadpool’s.