A Review of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse

Please go see this movie in theaters- it deserves the revenue and viewership love!

On December 14, 2018, the “Spider-Gang” swung into theaters, ready for action. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse has earned its 97% Rotten Tomato rating, 8.7/10 on imDb 10-fold in many people’s opinions, as well as the $303.1 million in the box office thus far.

As an animation, its creators definitely knew that there was a risk as they began work on the project. The stigma surrounding “low art” such as cartoons and comics set Miles Morales on a teetering path to success. With such a difficult to work with medium such as animation, people expect a lower form of art as they walk in the theater.

Miles Morales and Peter Parker had quite a lot to say about that in my opinion.

The concept behind the movie could have been disastrously executed- making those key moments of “glitches” (de-atomization as a result of interdimensional transport) were beautiful moments of chaos instead of cheesy graphics haphazardly thrown on screen. The medium lent itself entirely to the authors’ creative visions and gave it the life it deserved for a movie with so much potential. A key visual feature of Miles’s journey was the number 42 (Earth-42 is Miles’s universe in the multiverse), which popped up in the most unexpected places.

Miles’s height was played with in a beautifully exploratory way and symbolized his journey subtly, but beautifully. Miles, upon first seeing the original Peter’s suit, only stands as tall as Peter’s shoulders. He doesn’t quite fit into the “suit” that he buys for Peter’s funeral just yet either-it’s too small, limiting even. It is only when he finally discovers his powers that he finally fits into Peter’s suit- looking it dead in the eyes with fierce determination.

It was the smallest bit of attention to detail- the flicker of lightning in Miles’s eyes in his coming of age scene, 

King-pin’s heavy breathing before fits of rage,

 the perpetual use of shadow to create more intense action sequences,

and the absolutely beautiful portrayal of the multiverses merging.

Additionally, every single character, even those from other universes who only got 5-6 minutes of screen time total, had intimate moments of character development that made you as a viewer understand exactly how they were feeling and more.

Penni Parker was the least developed of all the alternate Spider-people in my opinion and still had a heart-wrenching moment before leaping back into her own dimension.

Miles, of course, was in a complete league of his own- his characterizations were perfectly childlike, yet completely relatable. The creators of Into the Spiderverse took a risk in choosing Miles as the main character of their vision, due to the backlash that the original comic creators experienced as Miles’s original solo comics hit the shelves of comic book stores. There was also a risk in killing the “perfect” Peter Parker that the world has come to know and love since his arrival in 1962. However, Miles had a bit more to say to those who doubted him.

Sony also played off comic book tropes in an intensely stylistic and original way. This, again, was a huge risk to the traditional sense of a “superhero movie” and what it has become in the span of the original Iron Man in 2008 and Infinity War in 2018. Into the Spiderverse has a personality in the little references to the roots of Miles’s and Peter’s stories on paper- the animation style closely resembles tropic “comic book” fonts and colors in ways recognizable to even the most inexperienced viewer.

In the first few minutes of his superhero life, Miles uses the comic books of the original Peter Parker as a guide to his training- much like how the producers at Sony blazed a trail across the history of what Stan Lee wanted when he created Peter Parker in the first place. The use of the “spidey sense” visuals also helped in literally linking the group together and alerting each other that “You’re like me” also payed homage to a typical comic book page.

The dialogue was, by far, the best part of this movie. The cranky, irritable conversations between Peter B. Parker and Miles embodies this beautifully in the way it played with the stereotypical “With great power, comes great responsibility” mantra that Peter usually abides by, letting the viewer know just how NOT Peter Parker this version of Peter is. There are other moments of playful dialogue (“Why is the voice in my head so loud?!” and “Who am I kidding? I should NOT do that!” are my personal favorites) that lend themselves to establishing Miles’s character. The movie also has one of the most poignant Stan Lee cameos in Marvel franchise history. “I’m gonna miss him.” And “[The mask] always fits, eventually” being solemnly whispered to Miles by a mischievous looking sales clerk at Peter’s funeral hits especially hard in the wake of such a powerful man’s death (in the real world and on Earth-42).

Finally, of course something needs to be said about the killer soundtrack to the movie. I personally have “What’s up, Danger?” by Blackway and Black Caviar and Sunflower” by Post Malone on my daily, walk to school playlist. Even just listening to “What’s up, Danger?” has become a song that makes me physically smile and walk a little faster when I hear its opening beats. There is a power to the scene in Miles’s Leap of Faith that would not be there without the help of such an amazing soundtrack. Each song has an incredibly powerful sound and structure to it- which is rarely not distracting to the scene at hand when they’re as quotable as they are. However, the soundtrack is anything but distracting- the beat becomes a part of Miles, creating a unique and powerful image about the connection between him and the lyrics.

Into the Spiderverse is perfectly balanced between the traditionalists love for the original comedy that Peter Parker brought from the 1960s comics and the new viewer’s love for Miles’s quirky relatability and lovable childishness. The irrevocably unique and creative vision showcases the love and care that every animator, producer, voice actor, and crew member felt for the Spiderverse mythos and Stan Lee’s legacy. It’s beautiful, vibrant and full of love for the characters it builds and the genre it sprouted from.

Here’s to more of Miles.