“My Name is Miles Morales”
With the abundance of Spider-Man movies in the past decade, it can be hard to feel excited about one when they all essentially follow the same story. Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider, uncle dies, yada yada yada and boom lots of action and done. Into the Spider-Verse, however, subverts this trap and succeeds exceptionally at telling a compelling story that is able to follow a different protagonist than the traditional web-head. More than that, Into the Spider-Verse has everything that not only a great Spider-Man movie should have, but a great movie should have in general making this my absolute favorite Spider-Man movie ever and one of my favorite movies of 2018.
After Miles Morales is bitten by a radioactive spider, he comes across a machine that causes parallel universes to open up into his own world. With it comes different versions of Spider-Man from different universes each with their own personalities and skill sets. Miles must learn what it means to be Spider-Man and team up with the rest of the Spider-Verse to take down the Kingpin and stop his evil plans.
The movie already starts off strong just due to the fact that we are following someone other than Peter Parker as the protagonist and Miles Morales gives a more compelling and intriguing origin story than any of the other films did. Miles is a fascinating character who truly feels relatable in every sense and is rich with complexities and depth. He doesn’t fit in with school, he has a weird dynamic with his father and uncle, and is still a kid trying to find his place in the world. By the end of the movie, I really cared about Miles and his arc felt complete and fulfilling.
Once he is bitten by the spider, he does not instantly jump into the role of being Spider-Man with ease. It takes him almost the entire movie for him to learn how to use his powers, struggle properly through the changes he is experiencing, and earn himself to don the Spider-Man costume. This offered a nice change from previous movies allowing us to the see the working pains of becoming a fully realized hero in both strength and mind. The way we see him struggle makes the moments when he is truly dishing out the action feel earned and all the more satisfying and thrilling to watch on screen.
Equally compelling is the relationship Miles shares with the other Spider-Verse people especially this movie’s version of Peter Parker. The film makes him be an older, worn out Spider-Man who just wants to eat and sit around. It’s a hilarious change of pace that allows for wonderful humorous moments between Miles and Peters. Yet, the mentorship that takes place between them is also a genuinely interesting relationship. On one end, Miles is yearning to be Spider-Man and do justice to the name while on the other end Peter just wants to be done and not have to constantly save the day. Where the story took these characters and their relationship was humorous yet heartwarming and is one of the many reasons this movie works so well.
The other Spider-Verse people are also given enough material for me to feel invested in them. I was surprised by how attached I become to characters like Spider-Gwen and even Spider-Ham! Even though most of their screen-time and lines were played for humor, the one or two minutes I got that delved a bit deeper into them made me care for them even more. Even the villain Kingpin is given a short quick backstory that makes him feel more fleshed out then other Spider-Man movie villains and allows there to be more intensity to the action when it goes down.
The animation makes you feel like you’re watching an actual comic book come to life filled with all the subtleties of textures when someone hits something to the big pronounced text boxes when someone is thinking. This may in theory have been distracting but it enhances the experience to make the movie feel more unique and even alive. The action sequences are indeed thrilling and they are graciously bolstered with the new animation style the movie employs. The animation allows for some jaw-dropping sequences both in terms of action and humor. This is the most unique animation I have seen in a while and it helps the movie stand out even more amongst the crowd.
Even without the stellar animation or hilarious comedy the movie has an abundance of, it is the captivating story and characters that keep the movie going and make it superb. This has the same writers as The Lego Movie franchise which have great humor throughout and save their heart closer to the end. Into the Spider-Verse, however, maintains its heart and humor through the duration of the movie and is never simply going for the gag just for the sake of it. It is methodically paced allowing for proper development of the characters that when the third act comes around, it feels completely earned for each moment someone experiences that had me tearing up in the end. It is telling a unique story, one that is fresh to the superhero genre and opens doorways to many possibilities in the future.
I could not find a single flaw with this movie, not one. The characters are all fully realized and those that aren’t are given enough for us to feel invested in. The action is exciting, elevating itself to new heights with the stunning animation. The humor had me dying in the theater from the commentary on other Spider-Man films to the meta humor of Spider-Ham. All of the twists were genuinely surprising even for a hard core Spider-Man fan like myself. Every aspect of this just works so well that I don’t know how much more highly I can speak of this film.
Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man movie ever and possibly one of my favorite superhero movies of all time. It has everything from compelling characters, knockout humor, and an investing story that should be the focus of every movie. The new animation style only heightens the experience and paves new paths to be explored in where storytelling can go. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I felt enthralled with this movie and have never wanted a sequel to a film so badly then right now. It is the perfect movie for any audience be it if you just want to take your family or if your an avid comic book fan, Into the Spider-Verse welcomes all and will take your breath away. Go see this movie now and experience what is quite possibly the best movie of 2018!