• Daniel Rae

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse", Marvel Entertainment, 2018

A celebratory victory-lap of the Spiderman brand; A technical marvel that has already cemented itself as a benchmark for blockbuster animation. From its brilliantly orchestrated animation style to its self-aware plot that highlights the hero's timelessness, this entry into the Spiderman series warrants a greater look beyond its basic 'quirks' with its updated take on familiar themes that is laced within its absorbing spectacle.

The film is deserving of all the praise that not only comes from the technical boundaries that it has pushed, but also in the ways in which it utilizes this newfound style in order to ground the wackiness of the aesthetic that makes Manhattan feel equal-parts relatably tangible and brilliantly fanciful. The spectrum of colour that is meticulously plastered across the mise en scene manages to crawl out of something other worldly - the retrospective sun-kissed feeling it brings, crafted by beautifully blending together new rendering styles and hand-drawn frames, draws audiences into an expansive collage of familiarity which achieves a level of humanity that could not have been achieved by the artificial limitations of CGI. Accompanied by the fittingly syrupy contemporary radio-friendly blend of pop and rap brought by the soundtrack, although perhaps taking away from its sense of timelessness through the immediate iconography of its bubbly style, the backdrop to the new retrospective change of pace to the story is appropriately smothered by a youthful sense of wonder that understands the commercial sensibilities it is appealing to. The end-of-the-world cliche that defines the saturated market of the superhero genre is instead used as a challenge for the writers to explore familiar narrative beats in refreshing ways and introduce new angles to the diegesis, both of which are successfully achieved. The narrative structure is appropriately loose in order to not only guide the bounciness of its lovably quirky personality, but to also enable the room to examine the main multi-dimension strand in equally bouncy ways. Whilst the film isn't concerned with logistical consistency, as proven by the rushed nature of the exposition that breaks away from the seamlessness of the pacing, the charming humour that holds together the audience highlights the attention instead being placed on the surprisingly fragile dynamic between its characters. Although the reliance on plot-convenience occasionally pierces through the mature tone when exploring the themes of resilience and self-worth, the way in which convention is slightly twisted that brings light to the reality of family and identity helps sharpen the change of flow to the typical origin story that Moore's Miles often references.

Above all else, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse provides a consistently thrilling and wholesomely cinematic experience that plays to the genre's binary established strengths that upholds a beacon to a brighter future of more emotionally engaging and thematically complex superhero stories through the sharp presentation of its humanity that is stitched between its archetypal groundworks.

4/5 Stars

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