Wow. I mean... wow! I had high hopes for Into the Spiderverse but being Sony, and being Spider-Man, well, let's just say those hopes were tempered. Leaving the cinema, however, I was just blown away. The animation! The original storyline! The soundtrack! Yes, this is a superhero movie, and an origin story, and both of those facets show, but it's also in a class of its own. Marvel may have moulded the superhero genre into its own image, but Into the Spiderverse proves that other studios can still hold their own and even elevate the playing field somewhat.
Because that's certainly what they've done with the animation. I'm still not sure I fully understand the process that they used; it seems to be a blend of hand animation, CGI, and compositing. However they did it, it's extremely unique, utterly beautiful to watch, and suits the tone of the film perfectly. Everything from Miles' graffiti to the Prowler's attack style to the bizarre dimension warping effects that occur across New York, this film looks stunningly good.
Match that up with one of the most interesting and diverse soundtracks I've heard in a long time (please tell me it's on Spotify 🙏) and there are moments which just send chills down your spine. The introduction to Miles chilling out to Sunflower? That leap of faith as the bass drops? Music is used so powerfully to convey his journey, it's epic.
And alongside all of the, Spiderverse also manages to throw in some excellent humour. I was very uncertain about Nic Cage being in this movie, but Spider-Man Noir steals every scene he's in 😂 The small cameo-parodies to prior Spider-Man films were great too, most notably the gag about his singing and dancing in the street: "we don't talk about that" 😁 But it also manages to use humour for more than just a cheap laugh. The bit where Miles amps himself up, climbs all the way up to the roof, looks over the edge, and it just cuts to him walking back down was perfect. And these small moments are scattered throughout the film.
The twists on the world are brilliant too. Female Doc Ock, badass Aunt May, Peter Porker, it's full of little pieces of charming innovation which help sell the world, sell the characters, and keep the plot moving forward. And they also mean that the villain's story is completely unnecessary, and yet even here they manage to make something far more personal and poignant. Not only do you have the classic Prowler twist, but you also get Kingpin attempting to bring his wife and child back from the dead. It's a neat little touch that should do just enough for the casual fan and yet has so much meaning for those of us that know the comics a little better. And, of course, it plays into the constant themes around family that Spiderverse is just dripping in.
Which is all to say this was a brilliant film. Easily one of my favourite superhero movies of all time, quite possible the favourite (we'll see). It's funny, touching, beautiful, and just expertly crafted from start to finish. I don't think any sequel will quite live up to it, but even still I'll be first in line if we get one 🕷