‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and engaging animated features I have ever seen. More than being an absolute visual treat, the film has a strong narrative core that connects a teenager’s experience with that of a superhero in the most profound and emotionally satisfying way.
I’ll admit this early, I was crying in three separate moments while watching ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ and this review is going to be one straight rave about the film and how it made me feel.
‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is set in a parallel universe where Spider-Man is so loved that he has cereals and an album out as he saves the city day after day. And in this universe is Miles Morales, a young kid from Brooklyn, who has to move to an elite school on the orders of his policeman father against Miles’ wishes.
Feeling strange and alone and an outsider, Miles runs to his uncle Aaron, who encourages his artistic and rebellious nature by bringing him underground to paint graffiti where Miles’ father won’t find it and where Miles gets bitten by a radioactive spider.
As Miles begins to change, he searches for answers and discovers Spider-Man fighting super villains, who are trying to use a collider that opens a portal to other dimensions. Despite Spider-Man’s best efforts, the collider is switched on and a portal is open and the superhero is defeated but not before he hands Miles the key to stopping the collider from activating again and getting Miles to make a promise he’d do his best to stop it from turning on again.
Chased by supervillains, learning how to use his newfound abilities, and feeling more alone than ever, Miles feels burdened by the responsibility left to him by Spider-Man.
What’s a young boy to do?
But the opened portal had also brought in different Spider-men and women from other dimensions and with their help, Miles learns how to use his power and finds a way to keep his promise to the Spider-Man of his world while feeling like he belongs somewhere.
‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is a dense narrative with so much heart that it was difficult for me to completely enjoy the lush and vibrant visuals because I was engaged in the story and in the character arcs of all the characters in the movie.
The film’s pacing is fast but never confusing. It’s magnificent editing keeps your attention to the story and it never drags. Each character manages to have a moment and it all somehow manages to reinforce the main story’s theme of facing the responsibilities in front you head on and, in some ways, growing up to be the person you have always wanted to be.
The voice acting in ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is wonderfully done with excellent choices like Shameik Moore’s Miles Morales at the forefront, giving Miles a vulnerability that really punches through the screen. The film is wonderfully scored while mixed in with great urban music to keep the film fresh and contemporary.
The action is fast-paced and exciting. Visually, the film takes advantage of its animated format to deliver some breathtaking moments while playing around with the various styles of animation for each individual Spider-Man (and woman). It’s a visual treat that doesn’t overpower its touching story.
I can’t rave enough about ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.’ It brought me back to all the insecurity and estrangement that my teenage years had, and I think it resonates with many people who have ever felt like they weren’t good enough. It’s amazing how a film can capture that so well while being so strangely foreign in that it is unapologetically an animated film. It’s Golden Globe nomination is a good sign because it should also be nominated for an Oscar and it better win. Or I’m going to be really angry.
It deserves all the awards, really. It’s that good.