In light of Spider-Man’s excellent run in the MCU, it’s fair to ask if Sony itself is capable of making a Spidey film of similar quality. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Sony’s second reboot of the web-slinger, and this time they’re taking a different approach. It’s an animated film, starring a Spider-Man who isn’t Peter Parker. There’s also a twist: multiple Spideys from other dimensions are joining in on the action.
And no, this movie is not connected to the MCU—they’re starting over for this one.
Making yet another Spidey reboot is kind of bold move on Sony’s part.
There have been a lot of Spidey origin stories this decade alone, so the risk of Spider-fatigue is real. If this movie is going to convince moviegoers, it’ll have to bring something unique to the table.
With that said, the trailer did at least show promise. It had a visually unique look, an interesting premise, and the jokes weren’t too cringey. I was at least willing to give the movie a chance, so I bought a ticket and sat myself down in the theatre. To my shocking surprise, Into the Spider-Verse isn’t decent at all. It’s one of the best Spider-Man films ever made.
Warning, this review contains minor spoilers.
What makes Into the Spider-Verse so unique is that it cleverly uses its crossover premise to tell the most original superhero origin story in years.
The film centers on Miles Morales, a regular teenager from New York who is about to become the second Spider-Man of his universe.
After getting bitten by a radioactive spider, he soon gains spider-like powers that he struggles to control. It also doesn’t help that his straight-up cop of a father is dismissive of Spider-Man, New York’s local vigilante.
Miles gets into a lot of mishaps while trying to control his new powers, including an embarrassing encounter with his high school crush. However, things take a turn for the worse.
Miles soon discovers that Kingpin is building a supercollider meant to cross dimensions. He sees Spider-Man trying to stop the machine, but things go haywire. A major mishap causes multiple dimensions to converge on New York. Realizing that his own time is almost up, an injured Peter Parker entrusts Miles with the mission to stop the collider from destroying the city. Miles makes it out alive, but Parker ultimately perishes at the hands of Kingpin.
While Miles is initially alone to stop the villainous magnate, other Spideys from other dimensions soon appear. Realizing that the supercollider is their only way home, our ragtag group of web-slingers must work together to stop Kingpin from destroying the fabric of reality. At the same time, Miles must quickly learn to become the superhero he was destined to be.
Into the Spider-Verse is very much self-aware of the tropes that are at the heart of every Spider-Man movie.
In fact, the film thoroughly deconstructs its own genre, reflecting on the highs and lows of being a web slinger.
It doesn’t matter if Spider-Man is a role-swapped character like Gwen Stacy, an anime girl from the future like Peni Parker; or a literal cartoon character like Peter Porker—all of them share in their responsibilities to use their powers for good and their personal losses motivate them to protect the ones they care for.
Every triumph or defeat is a stepping stone to becoming a better Spider-Man. Just as the film itself predicted, Miles Morales must make this journey himself.
And what a journey it is.
This is best-looking film to ever come out of Sony Animation.
Just like The Lego Movie embraced its blocky stop-motion aesthetic, Into the Spider-Verse does the same with comic books. Speech bubbles, explosive color contrast, and unique camera angles contribute to make this film look like a comic book come alive. And speaking of The Lego Movie, that movie’s director duo—Phil Lord and Christopher Miller—are producers for Into the Spider-Verse. Lord, in particular, contributed to the story and screenplay of this movie. So if you loved The Lego Movie for its unique sense of humor and beating heart, you’re right at home with Into the Spider-Verse.
I really can’t say enough good things about Into the Spider-Verse. It’s a visually stunning animated film, with great action, clever writing, and a wonderful cast. Every Spidey stands out in their own special way, but Miles Morales is captivating as the film’s emotional center.
As I mentioned earlier, this film is actually his origin story. And it’s wonderful to see him grow as a superhero. The end of the movie definitely sets up big things for Miles, and I’m really excited for what’s next for him.
Between the MCU’s Peter Parker and Into the Spider-Verse’s Miles Morales, there’s admittedly plenty of Spider-Man to go around. However, I don’t think I’ll be experiencing Spider-fatigue anytime soon.