'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Review: The Best Spider-Man Movie
Yeah I said it.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man movie. It marginally overtakes Spider-Man 2, and 100% overshadows the mediocre Spider-Man Homecoming (we got to be honest with ourselves). This is kind of shocking given Sony released Venom this year, which was one of the most hilariously bad superhero movies in a decade, and their last trip with them at the wheel of Spider-Man gave us The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (worse than Venom, but not as hilarious).
Into the Spider-Verse is both an interesting meta-text on the superhero genre, as well as just being a stellar example of it when boiled down to its basic parts. Into the Spider-Verse tells the story of Miles Morales aka the black Spider-Man, who a lot of people might not know, or at least know in depth if they're not in-tuned with the comics. The basic, non-spoiler story, is that Miles is struggling to fit in at his new, prep school, and while doing something he's not supposed to be doing with his favorite uncle (if you know the comics, you know who he is. If you don't it's kind of a neat twist) he's bitten by a radioactive spider, making him ANOTHER Spider-Man. While trying to trace where the spider that bit him came from, he's becomes tangled into a scheme involving Kingpin, the OG Spider-Man, and a atom smasher. When the atom smasher is activated, it opens a portal that makes the city flip out, while also bringing in 5 "spider people" from alternate universes into his. A jaded middle aged version of Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy but where she gets powers and Peter is the one to die, the Japanese Peni Parker and her spider-based mecha, a 1930s black and white version of Peter Parker, and Peter Porker aka Spider-Ham.
Now this a whole lot being thrown at the audience in a relatively brief by comic book movie standards runtime of just under 2 hours long but writer-producers Lord and Miller write a smart screenplay and the director team, including Rise of the Guardians director Peter Ramsey, make the film fly by. You know what you need to know quickly, and using smart meta techniques like literal visual comic book origin stories played out in the matter of 30 seconds really keeps the story moving. And while VERY funny, the movie knows where to keep it sincere and to the comic book roots. The film tells an intriguing origin story for Miles Morales, while knowing you're 100% aware who Spider-Man is, so we'll just get right to the fun bits.
The animation is top notch. Arguably the most visually appealing and innovative films in years, and the pure kinetic energy of the action beats make it a stand out in the Spider-Man film canon. For the first time with the boundaries of live action gone, Spider-Man really moves and looks like he (or she) should in the comics. Other companies might be playing catch up to Sony Imageworks in the coming years to match the pure quality of animation.
All in all, we're looking at a reason for Sony to hold onto Spider-Man in the coming years, and the start of probably a new animated Spider-Verse, and that's pretty damn cool to me.