Cinematic Releases: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse trailer was released earlier this year and the trailer alone had pushed this movie to the top of my most anticipated films of 2018 list. As a comic book fangirl, going into a movie with such high expectations can be a bit intimidating. Since being disappointed by almost everything the DCCU has put out in the past few years, I have told myself not to set such high expectations, but with the Miles Morales’ first appearance on the big screen, I could not help myself. Thanks to the comic book gods, and dare I say to the late and great comic god himself, Stan Lee, this movie not only lived up to my expectations, it far exceeded them.

Nothing makes the Spider-Man geek in me happier than seeing Miles Morales finally getting the attention he deserves. Into the Spider-Verse gave us an incredibly likable, realistic teenager who is trying to figure out just who he is, both as a normal teenager, juggling parental expectations, social awkwardness, and the conflict between doing the right thing and doing the easy thing, as well as dealing with the exciting yet terrifying new life that comes along with being endowed with special powers and abilities. The way the film fleshed out his cultural identity was poignant and effortless. 

Going into the movie, I had hoped they would recognize his Puerto Rican heritage, as representation is so important in such a film, and they certainly did pay homage to it in a very natural way. The storyline was everything an animated superhero film should be: a wonderful combination of hilarity, out of this universe action sequences, emotional and heartfelt scenes, and teachable moments, all pulled together to form a story that fans of any age can enjoy. While certainly a kid friendly film, an older generation of comic readers will be sure to be thrilled by the amount of characters from the Spider-Verse who have never really received the spotlight attention they deserve. Without spoiling any character reveal moments, I will just say that the trailer was only a preview of some of the characters that received screen time in this film. From the extended amount of “Spidey characters” to the impressive array of villains, this movie had everything a long time Spider-Man fan could want.

The animation of this film seemed to be the greatest point of contention that I saw from both fans and critics alike before the movie was released. While I understand to some it may have looked disjointed and choppy, especially without seeing the movie in its entirety, the style of animation may have been my favorite part of the film. While I cannot say this is the first movie ever made with this style of animation, as I am hardly a film buff, I can say it is the first movie I have ever seen to look this way. For the first time ever, I felt like I had stepped into an actual comic book and was watching the pages of my favorite graphic novel come to life. It was utterly magical. It is hard for me to put into words what the style was, as I have no artistic background, but every frame looked like a comic book page; it looked hand drawn and you were able to watch these drawings come alive at every turn. The artistic team behind Into the Spider-Verse captured something I have never seen captured on screen before. Taking such a daring risk could have led to animation that distracted from the story, but everything in this film flowed so smoothly. Each character had their own artistic style, but they were blended together so seamlessly. Truly, I have never been so impacted by an animated film; for me it was in a league of its own.

It has been a long time since I went to the theater and found a film that emotionally impacted me so much. While so much of the film was knock out funny and I certainly found myself laughing out loud along with the rest of the crowd, I was shocked by the poignant messages and emotional sequences that brought tears to my eyes often throughout the film. I wish I could convey properly how incredible this movie was, but my recommendation for everyone is to go see this film. Seriously, see it once, see it twice, but you will not regret it. I love live action comic book films, but there is nothing like watching a page from a comic book come to life on the screen. 

Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse knocked it out of the park and exceeded every expectation I had for it, and for that I could not be happier. Such an incredible movie couldn’t have happened to a more well deserved character. I look forward to seeing just what else is on the horizon for Miles Morales, as something tells me this is not the last we will see of him on the big screen.

-Rachel Rutherford