“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was the most unexpected, brilliant way to end 2018. The film rotates around Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino teen raised in Brooklyn, New York who suddenly develops mysterious superhero powers that transform him into Spider-Man. He soon meets other characters who also are “spider-man” but in different dimensions, hence “Into the Spider-Verse.” The group of other Spider-beings find themselves outside of their own reality and pushed into Morales’. The plot revolves around them trying to get back to their own universes.
This sharp, kinetic animated film that actually feels stylistically new and original had been in development since 2014, as revealed through the Sony hack. “Into the Spider-Verse,” produced by “Lego Movie’s” Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, borrowed that film’s stop-motion-esque frame rate, and experiments with a whole new way of bringing a comic book to life on the screen. It’s more like a 2-D drawing, but still dimensional. The animation has a faint texture of cross hatching and Ben-Day dots creep in the corners of the character’s faces.
The movie succeeds not only at intriguing story-telling, but also for the intricate details put into the animation. Most were unsure what they were going to watch, the marketing team at Sony pushed for it, but the hype wasn’t real until news broke that it held a 97 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The best films are the ones aimed for kids, but really meant for adults. Anyone can enjoy “Into the Spider-Verse,” because it has jokes that really only adults could grasp, while kids can appreciate the exquisite animation.
After so many Spider-Man reboots and remakes, the movie pays homage to all of them, with little easter eggs from Tobey Maguire’s time as Spider-Man in the early 2000’s, Andrew Garfield’s quick weird run with the character back in 2012 and same with Tom Holland’s portrayal of the character today. Morales, first introduced in 2011, drew inspiration from Barack Obama and Donald Glover (once it was announced Sony and Marvel are making a new Spider-Man film, the internet pushed majorly for Glover to portray the new Spider-Man, and he did have a role in the live action film in 2017.)
The movie assumes that the audience knows the backstory of Spider-Man already, and is able to poke fun at that. Superhero origin stories typically use the same formula, but “Into the Spider-Verse” zig-zags all over the place to tell six different origin stories, and keeps you up with the fast pace. You don’t need to even enjoy the superhero genre to enjoy this. It completely stands on its own, and I think a sequel might ruin it unless they take four years to make it as enriching and entertaining as they did with this one.
In addition to the jaw-dropping visuals, the soundtrack to the film features major artists such as Lil Wayne, Post Malone, Juice WRLD and Ty Dolla Sign. As much as I would like to point out a flaw in this seemingly perfected animated feature, nothing comes to mind. It’s a colorful, vibrant, quick adventure that reminds you that there is hope in the superhero genre.