Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and crosses paths with his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.
A new ‘Spider-Man’ film was frankly needed as much as a hole in the head, such has been the frequency of recent efforts, with constant reboots and new takes on the origin story. ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ successfully counters that fatigue however with a smart, intelligent plot and a tongue in cheek approach that references the recent cinematic history without repeating what we all know. The filmmakers assume the audience are familiar with Spider-Man and his backstory so we move straight past that, largely with a good decision to centre the plot on a new Spider-Man in Miles Morales, as opposed to Peter Parker who we all know incredibly well by now (don’t worry folks, he still appears!).
This is an animated effort and its as close as any film has come to replicating the look and feel of the comic books, and it really feels like the pages have came to life here. It’s brilliantly edited and very funny, and its clearly been made by people who know and love the comic books, which comes through superbly with its own unique style. The film doesn’t just introduce Miles Morales as Spider-Man, as we also get around 4 or 5 more iterations, possible as a result of a particle accelerator that crime lord Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin, who most will know from Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ series recently) has built to access parallel universes. The plot then follows Miles as he attempts to get up to speed with his new skillset, whilst working with the other ‘Spider-people’ to return them to their own universes and close down the portal. Despite packing so many characters in, the narrative never buckles under the pressure and its seamlessly handled, aided by strong voice casting and an emotional core to the story through Miles journey as true to any other ‘Spider-Man’ origin story.
I did feel that the film lost a bit of momentum in the final third as we approached what I’d term the ‘standard comic book film ending’, but to be honest, ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ kind of earns that right and I’ve no doubt Miles Morales and co will be back for future entries, and I’m actually kind of excited about that!
* One minor complaint is that the 2D version (which I saw) isn’t rendered as well as it perhaps should be, with several background elements appearing as if they could only be viewed properly through 3D glasses. Be keen to know if anyone else was put off a little by that?
Directed By: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Bryan Tyree Henry, Chris Pine, Nicolas Cage, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Liev Schreiber, Oscar Isaac, Kathryn Hahn, Lake Bell, Zoe Kravitz and Jorma Taccone