SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE review

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is directed by Bob Persichetti & Peter Ramsey and swings into theatres December 14, 2018.

Synopsis

Enter a universe where more than one wears the mask. Watch the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse trailer now, in cinemas December 2018. 

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the creative minds behind “The Lego Movie” and “21 Jump Street,” bring their unique talents to a fresh vision of a different Spider-Man Universe, with a groundbreaking visual style that’s the first of its kind. “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the mask.

Review

I’m going to try my best to keep this review succinct. Otherwise, like the movie itself, it might become a slight assault on the senses.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is easily the best version of the Spider-Man character we have ever witnessed on the big-screen. It mixes complex elements from the comics (multi-verse) with all the spectacle of a Hollywood blockbuster.

The movie is nothing if not self aware. It plants its tongue firmly in its cheek whilst retreading the origin stories of its secondary characters, joking with the audience that we have seen and heard it all before. They know the media backlash to multiple reboots and they’re throwing it right back in our faces.

The best decision Sony Pictures made with this movie was to focus on Miles Morales. Taking a look at Spider-Man from the eyes of a new (to film) character breathes fresh life into the universe.

Though Peter Parker appears in this movie and is integral to its story, he still plays second fiddle to Morales. It gives  younger audience a perfect mix of the familiar and new so as not to alienate the uninitiated.

The ensemble cast works well. The trailers have perhaps pushed several of the Spider-Verse characters a little more than they appear in the final movie. For instance Spider-Ham/Peter Porker could be considered more of a cameo, easily having the least screen time of all the Spidey’s. His impact on the film is still felt but is in line with the overall narrative of the movie.

Similarly Penni Parker and Spider-Man Noir both appear only to enhance the story. Neither character takes attention from the films leads striking a perfect balance between the ensemble that a live action movie would struggle to find. 

The voice cast is excellent. We get an opening cameo from Chris Pine as Parker-Prime before Jake Johnson takes over as the second Parker for the remainder of the film. Both present similar voices for the character without ever becoming caricature.

Shameik Moore breathes new life in to Miles Morales. He plays the character with such nuance that at times I forgot I was watching a cartoon. The mix of impassioned voice acting with the animation really takes this movie closer to live action than animation.

The villains of the movie are a little more convoluted. There are several who appear throughout the movie but none who really take centre stage as the ‘main’ villain. 

Liev Schreiber as Kingpin takes on the closest role to main villain although his appearance (not physically!) is eclipsed by Doc Oct (Kathryn Hahn). In comparison, Ock has a huge amount of screen time leading up to the final, third act battle. Bringing in an alternative origin for her also helps refresh the story.

Overall the film is a little overstuffed with characters. But then the film is absolutely overstuffed overall and that is the point. As the various dimensions come crashing together the film escalates its crazy-factor all the way up to full. There’s absolutely no way a live action version of this story could ever work, it’s a movie that was always destined to be a cartoon.

The visuals of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse are absolutely insane. It pops off the screen even during the production company logos at the start. There isn’t a single frame of the movie which isn’t augmented in some way. It’s utterly unique. I have never seen a movie like this before and probably never will again.

It’s like discovering a whole new medium. The pains that have gone in to making this movie the most exciting that it can be are obvious. From sketch lines to amp up the comic book art, to the glitches in the universes and right down to the comic book dialogue boxes. It’s all meticulously placed for the greatest impact.

It’s so tough trying to pick key visual moments as they are peppered throughout the movie. The use of the impact text such as “thwip” when Spidey is webslinging was particularly fun. The third act has to take the crown as the most visually bonkers sequence ever committed to film. I won’t spoil it too much but there’s no way we’ll ever be able to analyse every reference in this sequence because there is just so much of it.

As with the visuals the music also jumps right off the screen also. There’s a great mix of popular music as well as classic score provided by Daniel Pemberton. Both work well together and with the movie as a whole. There are of course snippets of the classic Spider-Man cartoon theme. It all adds up to the perfect pop culture mix of Spidey action.

If I had to call a drawback on Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse? If you really had to push me for one then I would say at times the visual are a little headache inducing. There were times I wasn’t sure if it was my eyes, the screen or on purpose that parts of the image appeared out of focus. But that is literally the only negative I can give for this movie.

Verdict

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is a huge cinematic triumph. Sony Picture has utterly outdone all other big-screen Spidey outings and they done so without the Marvel Studios banner backing them up.

Compelling, exhilarating whilst at times a little nauseating this movie may be the greatest superhero release of 2018!

8.5/10


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About Neil Vagg 2143 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG