Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Miles of Smiles


I personally expected Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to be a way for younger viewers, whose parents would not allow them to see a PG-13 movie, to experience the Marvel craze that has been occurring for the past 11 years. There was no expectation for a movie that could possibly be the best Spider-Man movie yet: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. While not being perfect, it was a gateway for many to experience the grand multiverse of comic books for the very first time.

       Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s computer animations bring a comic book to life with the movie’s vivid colors, onomatopoeias, and stop-motion looks. As Christy Lemire from rogerebert.com says, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has a “wonderfully trippy, dreamlike quality about it.” It allows the writers to do more with the story since the film’s animation can also tell parts of it that would otherwise have to be explained in a live-action adaptation. For example, not once in the film is spider-sense ever explained, even though it’s used multiple times throughout the film and saves multiple characters’ lives. Whenever the characters’ spider-sense kicks in, the audience can tell from the squiggly lines coming from the characters’ heads, the change of color, and occasionally the slowdown of time. This could be done in live-action adaptations too, but not without looking out of place. In live-action films, it’s best to just state that the character can do it to avoid questions later. The animation can also be hilarious, such as when Wilson Fisk’s or The King Pin’s head is essentially in the middle of his body. It may sound weird reading it, but when you see him on the big screen, surrounded by the rest of the comic-style animation, it will surprisingly and uniquely fit in.

       Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s plot may not be especially complex and the characters’ goal is not even the main focal point of the movie, but it’s still captivating nonetheless. The main villains of the movie, The King Pin and Olivia Octavius, are not that compelling (and they’re not meant to be) even though the film tries to get you to sympathize with King Pin. In essence, King Pin wants to use a particle accelerator, dubbed the “Super Collider,” to bring together parallel universes, for many reasons. His first attempt ends up bringing other people to Miles Morales’s universe. What the film focuses on is Miles Morales’s struggles to get his father to understand him while at the same time trying to gain control of his abilities to show the other Spider-People that he has the capability to get them back to their own universes using the Super Collider, and then destroy the Super Collider himself. Time and time again, Miles tries to prove himself to his father and his friends, but time and time again, he fails.

       For all Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse gets right, it is not entirely perfect. One minor problem with the movie is that it introduces a bunch of characters all at the same time midway through the movie. It’s not overwhelming; however, it detracts from the amount of attention the other characters get when it comes to their character arcs. Miles still gets the most attention by far, but the little amount of attention the other characters are getting is diminished even more by the arrival of the new characters. In addition, since the new batch of characters came so late into the movie, there is not much time for them to develop much or even for the audience to get to know the characters well. If each character did not have an introduction that told the character’s origin story, then the audience would not know much about them. The fact that the audience does not know these new characters well means that when something heartbreaking happens to one of them at the movie’s climax, the audience is not emotionally attached enough to care more than a little.

       The criticisms mentioned above just prove my previous point that this movie is just about Miles. Sure, it may feature a crossover of all your favorite Spider-Men, but at the movie’s heart, it’s Miles’s story. Just like how all the other characters got a little introduction to explain their origin, this is Miles’s, just elongated. Directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman have really outdone themselves with this hysterical, yet surprisingly dark tale about a kid trying to prove he can be this world’s next superhero, Spider-Man. 8.7/10