In 2001, Director Sam Raimi finally brought beloved superhero Spider-man to the big screen and 3 years later would give us one of the greatest superhero films of all time with Spiderman 2. However when Spiderman 3 received fan backlash and Spider-man 4 was shelved indefinitely, the franchise seemed to be over. Then in 2012, with a brand new crew The Amazing Spiderman hit our screens, followed by its sequel 2 years later. This also did not perform overly well and Sony was at a crossroads, facing the probability that they may have to sell the Spider-man rights back to Marvel Studios. Only 2 projects remained- Venom and Into the Spiderverse.
Luckily, Into the Spiderverse turned out to not only be the best Spider-man film, but also one of the best animated films of all time. Brought to us by Lord & Miller, the men behind The Lego Movie, our story revolves around Miles Morales who has been bestowed with spider powers and must team up with 5 other Spider-folk to stop Kingpin and his Inter-dimensional Travel Machine. Th plot may sound complicated but it’s quite the opposite, explaining things so that a child can understand them and introducing a variety of characters but not spending all the films run-time on doing so.
This film serves as an excellent introduction for children and adults to the Spider-man mythos. Our rogues gallery consists of Kingpin, Tombstone, Scorpion, The Prowler an Doc Ock. In a brilliant plot twist, Doc Ock this time is a woman, Doctor Olivia Octavius, who is working with, not for, Kingpin. Each character has a design that stands out, whether it be Kingpins sheer mass or the Prowlers deep purple costume. The finest designs are given to our superheros who each have a design corresponding to their original comic appearances. Peni Parker is anime, Peter Porker is a cartoon and Spider Noir is in black and white with an ever-flowing cape. The artistry that has gone into this film is astounding and unlike anything I have ever seen. It’s CGI but every single frame has been drawn over so that each second looks like it jumped straight out of a comic book. Match that with the vibrant colour palette and what you have is not a film but a work of art.
Not only is this film beautiful to look at but it is also a historic moment, making the first time that an African-American hero has been portrayed on the big screen. I won’t pretend that I can relate, but I understand how significant it must be to see yourself publicly represented, especially in a children’s film. It’s films like this and Coco and Black Panther that are paving the way for a more accepting future.
I could not review Into the Spiderverse without mentioning the man behind it all- Stan Lee. This film was released one month after he passed away and watching it back now his loss is definitely felt. He is animated into a large number of scenes as well as his usual cameo. Here he is the owner of a collectibles store who sells Miles his first Spider Suit stating “I’m gonna miss him.” Stan let me assure you that we’ll miss you a whole lot more than you miss him. This film is the finest possible love letter of his work and I simply cannot stop gushing over it. Every single aspect of this film is an absolute masterpiece and I could not be happier that Stan got to see it come to fruition.
Until Next Time, Excelsior!