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Why Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Worth Celebrating!

First time watching this since the cinema just over a year ago now, and was happy to see it still lives up to its immense hype. I've given up on any sort of live-action comic book film ever offering me much more than surface level blockbuster thrills, so it's a joy to watch something that fully embraces comic book aesthetics, characters and tropes in such a joyful, spirited manner as Into the Spider-Verse does.

What really makes this film for me above all is the visuals. Mainstream computer animated films these days don't often really have a distinct style. Like Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks and so on feel visually similar on a core level (similar character designs and borrowed technologies obviously lend towards this). Unless a film has a particularly grand setting (I think back to Big Hero 6's San Fransokyo as one of the more memorable, despite the film itself being middle of the road) then there's not really much beyond subtleties that stick with me for this sort of film.

So where Spider-Verse succeeds in becoming one of the most visually engaging animations of recent years is that it blends so many styles together. Its 3D animation is smoothed over with comic book filters and cel-shaded style, making it stand out immediately from the legions of other animated films. The way characters move in this film feels more inspired by 2D animation and it's impressively kinetic, which obviously pairs well with the nature of Spider-Man as a character. The deluge of colourful effects and clashing animation styles as the film progresses makes it an absolute visual joy, from the incredible sensory overload of the action sequences to the more serene moments of character building, it's absolutely stunning.

I could rep for the movie on its refreshing animation alone, but there's also a good amount of thought put into the plot. It's definitely a bit overstuffed, knowingly so with seven different Spider-men and woman and pig making up the cast. There's a lot of self-referential humour playing up that this is the umpteenth Spider-Man film and keeping backstory brief. The core character of Miles Morales has a decent character journey, even if his growth echoes the standard Spider-Man origin we all know. A lot of charisma is given to the character that keeps him distinct from the portrayals we've seen in the live-action films. Miles is refreshing to center in on compared to the Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland approach simply because he's a more modern interpretation of that character and a fun underdog to root for. His relationship with the washed up alternate Peter Parker is key to the film as well, with charming banter between the two ending up giving way to a memorable partnership that shows newbie and veteran superhero's and just dudes in general can each learn a thing from another 😎. The plot's not quite perfect because there's just so much going on with so many characters that it ends up hard to get a proper large emotional attachment to any particular story beat. However, it's commendable how none of it particularly feels throwaway.

I've rambled on far too long here, but the film's great (as I'm sure you know, dear kind person who has maybe read this). One of the best comic book films, by far the best Spider-Man film and a visual treat frame by frame. Its plot feels a little restrained by its breakneck pace and over-crowded nature, but the fact it manages to reach multiple emotional strong points is fantastic on top of its sugar high action and colour explosion visuals, makes for a delightful film. Props also for introducing a classic pop song with a killer hook through Sunflower. Call Post Malone corny all you want but that man can write a good pop song. Swae Lee kills it on that too ignoring the lame "Someone took a big L, don't know how that felt" line.

Originally written on my letterboxd account on 11/01/2020


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