Okay, so I’m a bit late to this particular party. My viewing of films is dictated by my local cinemas showing times, and they often don’t match my usual schedule, in this situation I miss certain big releases, or am late in reviewing them, and the review seems pointless as everybody already knows whether the film is good/bad.
Either way, I’ve watched it now, and not reviewing it would be foolish in my position, whether everyone else has made their mind up or not.
Miles Morales is an ordinary high school kid, his father is an over-bearing police officer, and he’s just been transferred to a private school for geniuses. Then he’s bitten by a radioactive spider, and you all know the rest…
When I first heard of this, my expectations were set on the basement of Satan’s wine-cellar. ANOTHER bloody Spider-Man? Before long I’m going to need a flow-chart to keep track of all these universes. Then, the trailer came out and I was even less impressed, I didn’t like the animation style at first glance, it felt like staring into the uncanny valley, caught mid-way between comic and realistic style and as a result looked odd.
But, as is usually the case, I was wrong. Into the Spider-Verse is a wonderful film, and one of its strongest aspects is its animation, which surprises me, given my original aversion to it.
I think the thing I liked most about it, was it’s change away from the Peter Parker story we’ve seen too many times (and we didn’t need to see Uncle Ben die, which is always a plus) it explores different aspects of Spider-Man, even beyond Spider-Man as there’s also a Spider-Woman a Spider-Mech and a Spider-erm-Pig (not the same one from The Simpsons Movie)
I also found Miles to be an extremely likeable protagonist. He’s a nice change of pace from Peter Parker, who does appear in this film, but instead of a sprightly young teenager, the Peter Parker of this universe is an older-slightly overweight man in his thirties, therefore making him more relateable to his main fan base.
The expanse of Spider-People (is there a collective noun for a group of Spider-related heroes? Lets go with Spider-People for now) was another thing that put me off from the trailer, that and the Sony Animations logo, because that certainly did the trick too, but the mix of styles from Miles to the Anime styles of Peni and the Looney Tunes-like Spider-Ham (yes that really is his name) maybe it’s because I’ve been so engaged in live-action Superhero films, but it was a red flag to me.
In reality, however, the film is very well-balanced, there is the goofy comedy aspects, but there’s also some fairly-touching moments, unexpectedly, and it all balances quite nicely alongside each other.
I think what makes me like this film is the characters though, not only do we get the ever-lovable Miles, but there’s older Peter Parker, Spider-Gwen and even Spider-Ham turn in some nice moments, not only that but the growing character dynamics between certain Spider-People (and ordinary people) I like the relationship between Miles and Peter, and the relationship between Miles and his Dad, which just brushes the border of cliche-town without ever building a camp there.
There aren’t really any massive criticisms I can levy at the film, it isn’t a film that sticks in my mind like, say, Infinity War, but then again it’s working with one-tenth of the scale and budget, maybe it’s a little forgettable and I’m not sure I’d rush to watch it again, but that’s about the worst I can say. Oh, and some of the twists are very predictable, but at a film that is essentially aimed at kids, I wasn’t expecting Inception.
In conclusion then, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a lovely-looking, well-written film that will entertain you with likeable characters and interesting story points. But it probably won’t stick in your mind for the long-run, and that’s not a bad thing, I’d certainly watch a sequel should one be made. It may even surprise you from time to time as well, a well-made film for the whole family.