Classic, Film, Other, Sony, Superhero

Let’s Get Hyped for “Spider-Man: Across the SpiderVerse Part 1.”

The teaser trailer for the SpiderVerse sequel just premiered – and let me tell you, I am super psyched.

Not only are we going to get to see more dimensions – but even better: Spider-Man: Across the SpiderVerse is going to be a two-parter. I can only imagine the story they have planned. It’s going to be the most ambitious movie of 2022.

I guarantee it. 

So, in honor of the movie’s teaser premiere: I figured I’d repost my original SpiderVerse review (and not all because this week’s been crazy and I didn’t have time to finish a review) – which was easily my favorite film of 2018 and one of the few pieces of media I’ve given a perfect score. I’ve updated some of the grammar and shortened it.

Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse. is a brilliant film, with great visuals, an awesome soundtrack, a well-paced and fast-moving plot, emotional resonance. It’s easily one of the best movies, I’ve seen this year. It did not disappoint at all. If you haven’t, go…Now. 

It’s also an incredibly ambitious film;  it could have easily gone wrong. This could have been a truly terrible film, and not even in a so-good-it’s bad way. But this film? It’s going to change everything.

The movie manages to hit every point and do everything it wanted to do and knocks it straight out of the ballpark. And it’s a nice change from the superhero movies we’ve been getting (even though I haven’t seen a Marvel movie since like 2013 but I get the gist). This movie, understand the concept of Spider-Man better than any other media. Into the SpiderVerse is a brilliant deviance, parody, and subversion of what we expect from a Spider-Man film.

The film is focused on Mile Morales, an Afro-Latino kid from Brooklyn. He’s going to a new school for gifted kids (not that one) and really isn’t happy about it. He doesn’t have a lot of friends and his main outlet is music, and graffiti, the latter of which his cop dad doesn’t approve of.

However, his uncle, who his dad doesn’t like is happy to indulge his nephew’s creative endeavors. One night, while out with his uncle in the subway, Miles is bitten by a strangely familiar (to the audience) but obviously very odd spider.

You know where this goes, right?

Or maybe not. You see, there’s already a Spider-Man in his universe, one Peter Parker. So when Miles starts going through some odd changes that he wants to attribute to puberty-but is pretty clearly him going through Spider-ubity….

That’s when things take a turn for the crazy.

Miles must team up with several other Spider-People from other dimensions to defeat the evil Kingpin and ensure they don’t get wiped out of existence.

If know anything about Spider-Man lore you’d know that it’s not a Spider-Man origin story without a tragic loss that the hero blames themself for.  After all, you can’t save everyone.

What I love about this movie is how it plays with the typical origin story and how each character got their start. It’s not quite a parody, much more of a loving homage to the hero.

Miles goes through all the right beats. What’s interesting is Miles’ advantage: he has the Spider-Fam to guide him. He doesn’t have to figure things out on his own.Sure, he has some unique powers, but he still has a whole team of mentors who understands exactly what he’s going through.

 And I love it. 

The Spider-Fam has a great dynamic. 

Even Peter Porker, AKA Spider-Ham, (who is a spider bitten by a radioactive pig) is interesting and isn’t just pure comic relief. He isn’t over-used and is quite helpful. John Mulaney brings a lot of life to the character and I hope we get to see more of him

I love Peni Parker though. It might just be the weeb in me, but I want more of her. I know there is a female-Spider-Man spin-off planned for the future and I hope that she makes an appearance in some way.

She’s my favorite of the Spider-Fam.

Miles is, of course, a great character. He’s very genuine and he stands out from the other spider-men and has his own story and personality; he’s smart and creative and interesting. He’s more socially adept than Peter Parker and is a slightly less tragic figure.

Gwen is great. She and Miles are obviously headed towards a relationship. I’m glad that 

the movie didn’t force them into one by the end…They still need time for their relationship to develop.

Stan Lee’s main cameo as the store clerk was particularly poignant, considering the meaning behind his line, “It always fits, eventually” and his tragic passing the month prior to the film being released. It left us with words of wisdom and imparted the main theme of the film; anyone can be behind the mask.

And I have to talk about the animation here: 

It’s great. It manages to capture the style of comic books while still being extremely dynamic. The secondary trio, the comedic relief, stands out from the more dominant style, without clashing. 

It’s creative, inventive, and above all brilliant. I love it. And…I don’t know enough about it to get into all the technical aspects of the animation but I can tell the movement is amazing, the aesthetics are great, I’ve never seen anything like it and I want MORE.

It’s unique and really pushes the boundaries of CG animation. It’s great to get away from Pixar’s hyper-realistic looks with pores and individual hairs. 

Sony Animation is actually really good at making unique animation; it’s the plot and stories they have trouble with; The Emoji Movie was downright terrible and the Hotel Transylvania series is great animation-wise, but I could take or leave the story.

But when they’re good, they’re freakin’ amazing. Like, if they made fewer movies but focused on quality, they’d be the new animation powerhouse and a legitimate threat to Disney. 

The directors Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman, and Peter Ramsey really know what they’re doing. Lord and Rothman, particularly are really good with this kind of creativity; they know how to combine action, and emotion with the right amount of “fan-service” without seeming pandering or over-the-top. They understand, appreciate, and love the source material. They know the history behind the media, and understand why people love the story.

All of the Spider-Man references and parody are done smartly and lovingly. They don’t make fun of fans, they embrace them.

My only complaint is that there are so many things going on that certain parts don’t get enough attention. It’s nothing egregious. But Peni’s relationship with her robot doesn’t get a lot of exploration, which makes the sacrifice made less emotionally resonant. And the weird secondary trio: Spider-Ham, Peni and Noir don’t get as much characterization beyond the basics. 

I know they’re kind of comic relief so I’d love more of them and see a balance made between their humorous sides and their tragic stories. A movie featuring all three would be cool. Especially since Peni and Noir seem to have a nice, big-brother/little sister dynamic. And if there’s one relationship (of any kind) dynamic that I love: it’s the broody one and the ray of sunshine.

And they fit that perfectly: Noir lives in a world of black and white, fighting Nazis and Peni is from a bright and colorful future. I love it.

All of it.

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Grade: A+

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Year of Release: 2018

Length: 117 minutes

Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Writers: Phil Lord, Rodney Rothman

Voice Actors: 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

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