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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Review

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Poster
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Poster
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Poster


Release Date: 14 December 2018
Director: Bob Persichetti - Peter Ramsey - Rodney Rothman
Writer: Phil Lord - Rodney Rothman
Cast: Shameik Moore - Jake Johnson - Hailee Steinfeld



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Posted December 23, 2018 by

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Review

Miles Morales just wants to be a normal kid and hang out with his friends. But, now that he has enrolled at the prestigious Visions academy, the pressure is on to be the best student possible – forget making new friends, he doesn’t even have time to breathe. If he thinks school is his biggest worry, things are about to change really quickly for him in Sony’s latest animated extravaganza, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

A series of earthquakes have been rocking New York and when Miles uncovers the cause, he becomes embroiled in a multi-reality attempt to save his city and take down the villain. Thankfully, he’s got plenty of new friends to help him out.

Over the past couple of decades, fans have had Spider-Man renditions every few years. But they have all been Peter Parker – on the big screen, or small, live-action or animated, Peter’s story seemed to be the only one being told and re-told. As much as Marvel fans love Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, we couldn’t help but wonder, what about Miles Morales?

Miles Morales was introduced in Marvel’s comics-verse during its recent attempt to create a more inclusive portfolio of characters. Fans loved him; bigots didn’t, so he’s appeared sparingly on-page. That should, hopefully, change after this fantastic love letter to Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is exactly the kind of introduction many people will want for the character of Miles. I’d venture, those unfamiliar with original Spider-Man, can also use this as a stepping off point to delve deeper in the Spider-Verse. The film is a cinematic spectacle, embodying its comic book heritage with the outstanding technology at hand to create a vivid animated universe for audiences of all ages. There were more than a few shots in this film that certainly deserve to be hung up at art galleries.

As splendid as the cinematography was, there were several action scenes that were very disorientating to watch. The mixed media approach of clean 3D animation and imperfect offset printing made it hard to concentrate on what was happening on screen. The action scenes, thus, felt underwhelming if only because it looked like watching shaky cam footage. The climactic fight also felt overlong, with an eye on appealing to the children in the audience; I suppose one can hardly criticise the creators for that.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Review

Shameik Moore’s voice-acting for Miles makes him the kind, lovable character readers will be familiar with. But more than that, his performance is a passionate take on Miles, one which will make you forget you’re even watching an animated film. Moore leads a spectacular star-cast of voice actors including Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy, Mahershala Ali as Uncle Aaron and Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir, all of whom give their characters plenty of personality. I was especially floored by Ali, who can’t seem to put a foot wrong in his career recently.

One of the only flaws in the cast would be Jake Johnson. He’s made a name for himself on a number of television shows, but in the large and important voice acting role of Peter B. Parker, Johnson falls flat. His delivery is monotone and adds no gravity to the scenes. Given the vivacious voices we hear throughout the film, one wonders why the film’s creators didn’t try and imbue Johnson with a little bit more enthusiasm and pathos for his character.

Story-wise, the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sticks to the tried and tested origin story, while giving us multiple perspectives through the many Spider-people. I feel like the writers could have tried to be a little more refreshing at times – we should have seen more of Miles’ mother and her impact on his life since she’s obviously the more indulgent parent. Maybe instead of concentrating so much on Peter B. Parker, the creators could have given Gwen Stacy and Peni Parker more screen time. The latter two also require rescue during the denouement and, honestly, I’m so over watching heroic female characters becoming contrived damsels in superhero films. It’s 2018, Hollywood needs to do better.

The star of the entire film has to be its soundtrack and the score. A heady mix of rap, R&B from award-winning musicians, juxtaposed with Daniel Pemberton’s synth score, made the film come alive. You will find yourself tapping to the beats and humming the night away after watching this film.

As a vehicle for introducing Mile Morales to the wider film-watching world, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse does a superb job. He’s a truly wonderful character and I would love to see more of him and the rest of the Spider-people team up again. Does the film’s ending leave that door open? Maybe. Given the success of the film, and its Golden Globe nomination, I would hope Sony sees fit to give these characters another go on the big-screen very soon. This is a humorous, feel-good film that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.


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Lestat de Lioncourt
Random Thoughts – Lestat’s Blog
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