We have seen Peter Parker’s story as Spider-Man told to death, and that is why it was such a relief to finally see Miles Morales finally given his time to shine on the screen. And Sony took a smart move choosing to tell this story in animation because they were able to tell a Spider-Man story in such a unique and creative way.
The trio of directors Bob Persochetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman brought on for the film deserve huge credit for Into The Spider-Verse because they brought one of the most original and gorgeous art styles to an animated film that I have ever seen. If you’ve seen any of the trailers than you will know what I’m talking about. It seems to be that the animation took inspiration from graffiti pop art, the kind that Miles makes during the film. The brilliant designs of the characters, coupled with the art style, and the bold striking colours makes this one film that will stand out, and one of the most visually impressive films ever.
And when you couple all of that with a story written by Phil Lord, best known for his partnership with Christopher Miller, and Rodney Rothman this was always going to be a winning combination. Lord and Miller are known for their ability to reinvent franchises and bring an incredible level of humour to them. And reinvent Spider-Man on film they have. Not only does Into The Spider-Verse introduce Miles Morales to us for the first time, but it taps into Marvel’s parallel universes and gives us numerous different incarnations of Spider-Man.
The core three we follow are Miles, an older Peter Parker, and Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman. This is an origin story for Miles, so we are learning where his powers come from, and seeing his journey to be able to stand alongside all the other versions of Spider-Man and hold his own. The new Peter Parker we meet has gone through all the stuff that we’ve previously seen but has now become depressed after he and Mary Jane drifted apart. He has become a rather reluctant mentor to Miles. Meanwhile Gwen is a Spider-Woman who had already been mentored by the Peter Parker of her universe, but had lost her best friend causing her to become closed off others. Whilst there other versions of Spider-Man in the film these three are really the core group who get the big arcs.
And the voice cast that Sony got to bring these characters to life is insane. Shameik Moore, best known for Dope, brings Miles to life, whilst Jake Johnson plays the alternative universe Spider-Man. Rounding out the cast of Spider-Men are Hailee Steinfeld, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, and Kimiko Glenn, whilst Chris Pine and Oscar Isaac have smaller cameo Spider-Man voice roles. Cage and Mulaney may not be the main characters, but both stand out giving wonderful comedic performances.
Miles’ father Officer Jeff Davis and his uncle Aaron Davis are voiced by Brian Tyree Henry and Mahershala Ali respectively. These are probably the stand out performers of those not playing a version of Spider-Man. The throw in the likes of Lily Tomlin, Zoë Kravitz, Liev Schreiber, Kathryn Hahn and Lake Bell on top of those and this is one of the greatest voice casts I can remember. Not only is the talent assembled so impressive, but every single one of them is on the top of their game.
Everything about Into The Spider-Verse is fantastic. It’s an original story, with a smart and funny script, excellent voice talent, and one of the most eye-catchingly beautiful animation styles ever made. This is a must see for any Spider-Man fans, or anyone who is tired of the same old superhero stories. Having Into The Spider-Verse and the PS4 Spider-Man game in the same year this we are living in a time of brilliant storytelling in that world. This is not only one of the best superhero or animated films of the year, but just one of the best films.
Excellent. I have only to add that the best way to enjoy this film is to go to it ‘blind’ but with a teenager fan.
Dr. Anthony Dornan