Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse ★★★★★

The superhero genre is so crowded, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out. With over 20 films in the MCU alone, it seems like every year we get another handful chucked at us whether we like it or not. Some are good, and some are Aquaman. But every once in a while, one comes along that just blows our collective minds. Whether it was the shock ending of the epic Infinity War or the quirky humour of Ragnarok, we occasionally get something so fresh that it skyrockets the superhero genre to the top of cinematic quality. Well, I’d argue that we have just had the best one yet.

Teenager Miles Morales struggles to live up to the expectations of his father, police officer Jefferson Davis, who sees Spider-Man as a menace. When Miles's uncle Aaron Davis takes him to an abandoned subway station to paint graffiti, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like abilities. But as he crosses paths with five counterparts from other dimensions in the Spider-verse, Miles must team up and stop a threat for all realities and the Spider-verse itself.

The first thing that jumps out when watching Spider-verse is the breathtakingly gorgeous visuals. Combining Sony Pictures Imageworks’ computer animation pipeline with traditional hand-drawn comic book techniques inspired by the work of Miles Morales co-creator Sara Pichelli, the film is a visual feast that makes the film stand out as one of the most original and innovative animated films…ever. While I’m sure we will see plentiful imitators from now on, these visuals are an absolute work of art and deserving of the film’s Academy Award win for Best Animated Feature alone. But where some films of this nature may suffer from a ‘style over substance’ argument, the film’s style is actually secondary to the content.

Written by Phil Lord (The Lego Movie) and Rodney Rothman, the screenplay is absolutely bursting at the seams with in-jokes and references that even a casual fan can enjoy – a very early dig at Spider-man 3’s dance sequence is a particular highlight. The film’s meta and self-aware humour throughout is something we so rarely see in films of this genre and make for hilarious viewing. This is aided brilliantly by the superb voice acting across the board. Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld and many more (including Nicolas Cage, because why not) all lend real quality to the film and create such an enjoyable vibe. Everybody seems to be having fun, and it’s contagious. 

I’m not a huge superhero buff so a lot of the references in the film probably went way over my head, but even I can acknowledge that this is one of the most innovative films in the superhero genre thus far. I cannot recommend it enough; whether you’re a casual or die-hard fan, this is a passionate and endlessly entertaining romp with a visual flair to die for. I was utterly in awe of the film from the first to the last second (the post-credits zinger is a delight), and I know you will be too. My film critic sense is tingling hard for this one. 

Sam Love

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