Miles Morales is a teenager starting at an exclusive boarding school. Feeling out of place and under pressure, his situation is complicated when he is bitten by a radioactive spider from another dimension. It is further complicated when he starts to encounter alternate versions of Spider-Man. Miles must get everybody home, save the multiverse and become Spider-man.
There is so much of Into the Spiderverse that makes it utterly unique. Most obviously it’s singular art style which is fabulously expressive. The style accommodates relatable and believable human expression as well as such surreal elements as a hulking kingpin who fills the entire screen with his pitch black form. There are comic book touches such as speech bubbles, split screens and sound effects. It’s charming and used to marvelous effect.
The film deserves to be recognized as a significant comic book movie for capitalising that most unique of comic book traits; the flexibility of lore and aesthetic. Comic book fans have readily accepted bizarre experiments such as a steam punk Victorian batman or a dystopian wolverine as being non-canonical flights of fantasy. Into the Spiderverse makes wonderful use of the familiar spider mythos and reinvents it again and again. Introducing a looney tunes style spider-pig named Peter Porker and yet maintaining the dramatic tension of the film is a miraculous feat.
But the film is not only a playful deconstruction of the Spider-man story but a powerful origin story for Miles Morales’ Spider-man. It’s still a story of death and responsibility and failure and most of all resilience. It’s unsurprising to see Phil Lord’s name attached to this film as it is just as subversive yet authentic as 21 Jump Street or The Lego Movie.
Miles is a charming and charismatic lead, voiced perfectly by Sharmeik. It’s a very promising story of which I hope to see more. Voice performances are strong throughout. There’s just the right balance of authenticity and comic exaggeration. In particular Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld and Mahershala Ali. It’s a diverse cast befitting a story celebrating difference.
The music must also be mentioned. Effortlessly blending an exciting, modern original score with a pulsating soundtrack of fabulously evocative songs, the music is as wild and inventive as the film.
Into The Spiderverse is an exciting and truly inventive superhero film. It’s gorgeous animation style, deft handling of character, natural humour and fascinating premise ensure that it is as deeply entertaining as it is surprisingly meaningful. It’s a sweet-natured story of growing up and finding yourself. Anyone can wear the mask, but very few pull it off as well as this film does.