Teen Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man of his reality, crossing his path with five counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat for all realities.
Another film that made my watch list due to being sufficiently hyped-up beforehand that managed to mostly live up to that hype. It has emerged as the clear front-runner to the Oscar for Best Animated Film and I think with clear merit. It is without doubt one of the most ambitious and stylistically-unique animated films of recent memory while also being just a masterfully well-told story.
The story I’ll leave alone, partly because it is spoilery and partly because writers more talented than me can better cover the importance of these characters and their place in cinema and society. The minor part I’ll choose to focus this review on is also where my only issues with the film lie, and that is the aforementioned animation style.
One of the biggest things I heard about Into the Spider-Verse before seeing it was about how different in style the movie was. Discussions about “animating on the two’s” and other in-depth interviews cover the details quite well. For the most part, I think the artists deserve a big round-of-applause. They most certainly nailed the look they were going for and I enjoyed and appreciated what I saw. The biggest bee in my bonnet was the comic-book shading being overly distracting. By comic-book shading I mean the dots and lines (apparently called Ben Day dots). It could’ve been just that, just the 3D showing, or perhaps some combination of the two, but the end result was weird focus and blurry issues. This could well have been the desired effect, as I know other films drastically play with depth of field to shoehorn the audience to paying attention to certain parts of the frame. As implemented in Into the Spider-Verse however, I think it was too much.
That nitpick technical detail aside, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a well-executed, ambitious, far-reaching movie that easily lands among the most memorable and standout superhero movies. It might not be better than the best of the live-action Marvel films, but it definitely transcends the “genre” (see also: animation is not a genre) and deserves recognition.
4 out of 5