Animation has come on a long way in the last couple of decades, with films like Iron Giant, Toy Story and Tangled pushing the technology used by filmmakers to new heights. Spiderverse takes that technology and uses it to produce what looks, even from just 10 seconds of a trailer, like nothing we have ever seen before.
Just from the stunning visual style alone, I had to see this one as soon as I could. A talented voice cast and a screenplay by one of the people behind The Lego Movie (Phil Lord) all just added to the appeal of this film. Straight away, you know you’re in for something different to the usual animated film, and also a departure from the Comic-Book movies we are all accustomed to by now.
Everyone knows Peter Parker, they know his story, and this film knows that everyone knows it. The jokes at the expense of previous movies and an abundance of easter eggs all pay their respects to Marvel’s most iconic hero. Spiderverse is not about Peter Parker though, it’s about the next most well-known spiderman, which is probably not a very well known character, Miles Morales. Essentially this is the origin story for that character, with a host of other spider-things involved. If you have watched a trailer you know there are 6 spider-characters in this film, and somehow, they all work brilliantly.
The film expertly handles its very comic-booky plot, involving multiple members of the Spiderman rogues gallery on top of introducing the multiverse with hints at there being infinite possible versions of the spiderman we know. Somehow this doesn’t get over complicated, and the film moves at a good pace constantly bringing new information to light, clever character interactions and twists on the norm that will surprise people.
The fast pace, fun characters and startling visual style really do make this film incredibly exciting to watch. Every frame could be hung on a wall and admired, and honestly I don’t think i have ever admired an animated films technical aspects as much as this film. The use of different animation techniques slammed together on one screen really does pop and your eye is drawn to every moment something new happens on-screen. This style is at its craziest in the action scenes, with colour flashing everywhere, comic book style pop up words, excellent framing for each scene so you can clearly see what each character is doing.
This is a film where the creators have chosen animation and then let their creativity go wild. There are no limits to what can be done in animation, and this film makes full use of that range. In a world of animated films becoming more and more lifelike, this goes against the grain and says why not have a (very minor spoiler) Spider-pig drop an anvil on a man-scorpion. It may possibly be a little to bombastic for some, but I found this films sense of fun is infectious and loved watching it.
In a films that is under 2 hours long and packed with so much light-hearted entertainment, there is still a lot of time spent on developing the character of Miles Morales, and his struggle coming to terms with having the burden of super powers on top of the struggle he is already dealing with as he is coming of age and the dynamic between him and his father is a really beautifully done element of the film.
I am aware I am just gushing about how great this film is, and that’s because to me this is not just the best animated film of the year, it’s up there with the best films of the year in general. The vocal performances are all excellent, bringing to life every character in a well written script. The technical skill in the editing, directing and cinematography are astounding and I am struggling to remember a film I liked this much for a long time.
I don’t have any negatives, for the casual movie goer who isn’t into nerd culture too much, this film is a very fun ride with some new characters alongside one most people know very well. For comic book fans, particularly spiderman fans, this is everything you love about comics in movie form. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse is awesome.
Good: This film. All of it.
Bad: People who don’t like superhero films won’t like it, but even then I can’t imagine you wouldn’t have a decent time.
10/10 – Homecoming, Spiderman PS4 and now this, Spidey is killing it lately.