11th Dec2018

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Features the voices of: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine | Written by Phil Lord | Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman


Sony’s semi-reinvention of their staple franchise superhero Spider-Man has had more rebooted and retooled cinematic incarnations in the last decade than Peter Parker has had warm meals. Announced/leaked during the infamous Sony hacks of 2014 and coming off a reboot of the tragically inept and doomed Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man series and the Marvel re-introduced MCU participant Tom Holland, as well as the critically and financially successful video game of the same name.

Not only does it look and sound like there’s a form of overabundance and oversaturation for audiences, but does Sony really want to risk it all again for critical and possible financial ruin over such an abstract incarnation over what is essentially a simple heroic narrative? Bizarrely this utterly bonkers entry into the Spider-Man canon is a visually stunning and fiercely entertaining blast and definitive incarnation of the beloved lore of a character who has successfully been subverted in terrific fashion.

Forget the remnant of Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland. Welcome the voice talent of Shameik Moore, who puts forth a fabulously entertaining and endearing performance as wonderfully naive and charismatic teen Miles Morales. The centrefold and long-mooted Peter Parker protege to the eventful scenario of passing the mantle, which never came to pass in either Raimi’s trilogy or Marc Webb’s series. Here such a long-awaited moment occurs in fabulous, outrageously poetic terms and we should never look back or have to wait for a majestic comic book moment ever again. Morales, a shy, a talented and profoundly humanised teenager is developed with wonderful promise and care. A key monarchy for African American teenagers to see develop on the big screen is a breathtaking sight to behold after the enormous success of comic book contemporary Black Panther. Of which Into the Spider-Verse encapsulates and explores within its own walls of context and celebration, touching upon social dynamics and politics in American slightly in a natural and effulgent fashion.

Directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman perfectly balance a deeply misaligned franchise (with numerous out of sorts narratives) in a series of spectacularly hilarious and entertaining callbacks to the said series with an insatiable and desire of energy to evolve – specifically through its aesthetic and production. Crafted in an animation format that combines both a 2D and 3D animation technique with a result that is so detailed and articulated to a degree that hasn’t been seen before is truly breathtaking to behold. Visually stunning with an abstract and vivid palette, each individual scene featured is filled to the brim with sumptuous colour and flare. Partnered with a bombarding thunderous electronic score from composer Daniel Pemberton that mesmerises in its conviction of zealous tone and outlandish jest.

It does simplify itself at times regarding clear and predictable story beats. A small price to pay in terms fortifying and encouraging a possible franchise in the making while still putting forth entertaining set pieces and conventions that feel fresh. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a constant refreshing blast from start to finish. A reminder if anything, that given the time and effort the most saturated of characters can have a new lease of life in a subverted, well-written property. Perfectly topped off with a poignant cameo from the late great Stan Lee that will undoubtedly cement this entry as a classic in the forthcoming onslaught of superhero capers.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes to UK cinemas on December 12th.


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