Thoughts on Into the Spider-Verse from someone that has lost interest in Super Hero movies.

Before you stone me to death, hear me out, most of the Marvel movies coming out these days, along with the Marvel small screen, has been unimpressive and lackluster so far. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some movies that have wowed me, such as, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok.

Until now, Spider-Man Homecoming was in my opinion, the best version of Spider-Man to hit the big screens, a comic accurate Spider-Man that truly represents the loveable high school student. And then I watched Into the Spider-Verse.

What the MCU has done so far while going into Phase Three is give us three movies a year for 2017 and 2018. Out of the three planned movies for 2019, the only one I’m hyped for, is Spider-Man: Far From Home. Avengers: Endgame? Not so much.

The MCU has a large ensemble cast at this point, and a few characters have become very unrelateable in the current lineup of the MCU. Some have me questioning their very existence in the movie, such as Falcon and Scarlet Witch, and some feel like fillers at this point that exist merely because Marvel introduced them in previous movies, such as War Machine.

A cast so large even the poster is cluttered.

Apart from this, moves such as firing James Gunn for tweets from as far back as 2008 and not giving the audience what we’ve been asking for such as a Black Widow and Hawkeye movie, (which might finally be happening!) and cancelling Luke Cage and Iron Fist(no one’s going to miss this one) has a lot of the Marvel fans upset.

There was a point in time where a person with super powers saving the world was a rare sight, but with 3 movies a year from Marvel Studios, and Sony and Fox releasing their own takes on Marvel properties, and the DC universe, that’s a lot of movies. If you then look at amount of shows that are based on Marvel properties too (Defenders, Inhumans, Runaways, Legion… there’s actually 13 of them) and then the DC shows, the scene from The Incredibles comes to mind. You probably know the one, when Syndrome says “when everyone’s super, nobody is.”

Into the Spider-Verse handles characters differently from Marvel, and Miles Morales might just be the best possible version of Spider-Man yet. Thankfully, this version of Spider-Man does not have a huge tragedy right off the bat in the form of “Uncle Ben dying”. After seeing him die twice, in 2002 and then 2012, I’m bored and demand something new from Spider-Man.

Sure, this movie does have a tragic death like all Spider-Man origins do (according to Gwen, at least) but the death does not impact the movie and story as much as it has done in the past, and that makes it bearable. The focal point in terms of a turning point for Miles in this movie is understanding and acceptance from his father that shapes a more positive experience for him in taking his leap of faith.

While Miles takes on the role of Spider-Man, he’s well rooted in being his own character, a boy from Brooklyn the relatable personality of an artist before he became Spider-Man. Which continues, right down to his Spider-Suit, possibly the coolest one so far because of how personal it feels to Miles. Watching him develop into his own Spider-Man is refreshing, and again, Meta while flirting with the fourth wall when he reads Spider-Man comics to try and figure out being Spider-Man.

The older Peter Parker that shows up and mentors Miles semi-reluctantly is also a very relatable character. The mentor and mentee relationship is one that develops while influenced by the experiences that the older Peter went through. Older, separated from MJ and full of his own conflicts and fears, he showed us that Spider-Man doesn’t have to be perfect, and just like Stan Lee originally intended.

You can see the spray painted suit here. Miles is a graffiti artist.

He wanted his characters to be super heroes that also lead everyday lives, and have everyday flaws, and to fit what he says in his cameo “anyone can wear the mask.” The cameo played on our heartstrings, and was a fitting tribute to the creator of the original Spider-Man, while it also felt like he handed the role over to Miles, as he was the first person that told Miles that he could be Spider-Man.

Gwen plays her part wonderfully, and perhaps the best part of this movie is the studio not approaching Miles and Gwen from a romantic angle. Sure it’s hinted at almost like a child having a first crush that turns into a deep friendship. Thank you Sony, for understanding that when they world is ending people don’t really have the time to kiss when all they should be doing is focusing on saving it.

Spider-Noir was wonderful to watch with his rubix cube and a Bogart-esque character, with a dark enough personality that balanced out the presence of peppy little Peni Parker and Spider-Ham. Aunt May even though portrayed as old, for the first time does not feel like she’s helpless.

Watching Miles discover who the bad guys are was subtly done so as not to make the tone of the movie too dark or depressing. Doc Octopus was an interesting character to watch to say the least, and again in my opinion, a better portrayal than the previous version we’ve seen, with a serious case of the crazy eyes.. And as for the main villain Tombstone? You can almost feel sorry for the guy.

Left to right, Peni, Gwen, Spider-Ham, Miles, Peter Parker, Spider-Noir

Into the Spider-Verse doesn’t forget that it’s a movie born from a comic book. Small details in the background remind us of this, woven into the unique animation style. Little touches such as the introduction sequence to every Spider-Person with a look at their comics, almost makes fun of the number of editions of a comic that are released. Breaking the fourth wall in an almost Deadpool-esque way, Miles even asks how many more Spider-People there are, and Peter tells him to save it for Comic Con. The last thing the movie really uses well is onomatopoeia, which is adding words to depict sounds in the middle of fight sequences like in comics, a simple “bump” added to a silent fist bump in a sequence where Miles walks down the road adds to building the in your face comic book vibe.

The soundtrack just bursts through and builds up the Brooklyn vibe with all the fast beats and well composed music, a lot of it original music with heavyweights like Post Malone and Jaden Smith recording tracks specifically for this movie. The background score works in hand with the movie to keep you interested and engaged with the movie and keeps building towards the fun experience that the animations are.

And I have saved the best for last, because if for nothing else, you need to watch this movie just for the animation and unique style of it alone. The animation makes the movie look like a comic book no matter what the scene is, and that’s the best part. The movie shifts from bright to dark colors seamlessly and can never be held down by one specific color palette or theme, the scene where Miles finally understands his powers and gets his own SpiderSuit transitions seamlessly into a climax full of colors that explode off the screen. The movie also goes from fluid scenes into flat 2d comic book illustrations just for a moment to really emphasize what’s going on during fights or chases, and then flicks back into its regular animation style.

Here’s one of the hard panels the movie transitions to.

Characters are modeled with the perfect mix of hard lines for details and soft colors that have managed to maintain a comic book style throughout the movie, with brilliant little additions like the lines and dots you often see in old comics that were used to add shading and effects to the characters. The animators also did a fantastic job of putting in the monochrome styled Spider-Noir, an anime like Peni Parker and the Warner Bros like Spider-Ham into the movie and meshing all their unique styles together with the rest of the movie.

And the post credit scene? Literally this.

9/10 movie, will watch again.


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