Why Into The Spider-Verse is still the best superhero movie ever made

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Into the Spider-Verse is still the best superhero movie there is.

Sony pictures

No one was ready Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. We are not used to superhero movies being masterpieces. We are used to mediocrity.

Superhero movies thrive on mediocrity. I used to complain about superhero fatigue, now I embrace it. Go for your life, Marvel, make your three star movies a few times a year. At least they are not Rise of Skywalker. No, they’re just average and that’s … good?

Unfortunately for Marvel, every now and then a superhero movie comes to the cinemas to remind you what magic looks like. To recalibrate your idea of ​​what “good” is. In 2018, the movie was Into the Spider-Verse.

And by god, you should see it.

But look at your own responsibility. Seriously. I’ve spent the last five years thoughtlessly immersing myself in superhero movies that are as safe as they come. After Into The Spider-Verse, where one has seen it on repeat for literally years now, it’s hard to go back.

It’s visually stunning

Are you ready for a hyperbolic, completely uncritical look at why Into The Spider-Verse is the best superhero movie of the last decade and beyond?

Sony Pictures Animation

Brilliant. Let’s get started.

It’s probably best to start with the aesthetics and visual design.

Producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller wanted Into The Spider-Verse to have a unique look from the beginning, resulting in over 140 animators combining computer animation with a hand-drawn style designed to mimic comic book art.

When I heard about this, I was cynical. Movies that take visual risks or groundbreaking unique art styles tend to be reviewed well by default. “Here’s your cookie to try something else.” These are the kind of things that tend to make film critics drool like Pavlov’s dogs.

But that’s not enough, is it? Lots of animated movies (* cough * Kubo and the two strings) has groundbreaking art styles, but are complete snooze parties. That is not the case here.

Into The Spider-Verse has an integrated aesthetic, but what really lifts the film is how inventive it is, how vivid it is with visual storytelling.

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The visual storytelling is ingenious.

Sony Pictures Animation

I always think of the above scene when Peter Parker and Miles Morales, the two main “Spider-Men”, try to escape a villain’s lab. They are discovered, and every scientist in the building jumps up, jumps in right away. Except for one. Who just keeps eating his lunch. She’s seen it all before. This is a villain’s cave. There are always some superheroes trying to mess with their shit. It’s just another day in the office. Literally. She just wants to end her tea break.

It’s a split second, but reveals an insane commitment to detail. An obligation to be inventive, to undermine, to engage in strange ideas and to be brave with them. It is a spirit that infects every single image of this film.

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Kingpin, the evil guy.

Sony Pictures Animation

How about the visual design of Kingpin, which is almost comically oversized, but still exudes an incredibly scary aura.

What about the fact that Into The Spider-Verse seamlessly mixes characters from different universes (noir, anime, traditional 1930s animation), each giving their own unique visual flair, but somehow making everything feel, as if it belongs in the same movie?

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“It CAN get weirder!”

Sony Pictures Animation

It’s to ignore how this movie moves – at a schizophrenic pace with action sequences that never let go and never stop surprising you. Like when Miles Morales gets one hand stuck to an unconscious Peter Parker and the other to a running subway train, and chaos ensues. Or when an inexperienced Morales has to escape The Prowler by climbing through abandoned tunnels using powers he just got. Each sequence jumps off the screen with an intense, dramatically overactive sense of imagination. It feels at once meticulously planned but spontaneously executed.

It is impossible to remove the eyes from the screen.

The script is… [chef’s kiss]

It is not necessarily script which lifts into the Spider verse. “Script” is simply a collective term for the story, which takes the journey of a traditional hero and turns it in all sorts of strange directions. It is an abbreviation for the way it takes the traditional Spider-Man myth (man is bitten by a spider, man sees uncle die, man is inspired to grow into his responsibilities) and undermines it while maintaining great respect for the timeless historical apparatus it has become.

It even comments on itself as a story of origin, in a meta-sense, without becoming overbearing or depriving its audience to live in the moment of Miles Morales’ journey towards becoming Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse juggles all these internal responsibilities (to be cool, to be funny, not to take oneself seriously, to have heart, to be sincere but wise, to be sentimental but not sickly sweet ) and make it effortless. Or – at least – does an incredible job masking the effort it takes to create a superhero movie that makes everything perfect.

In its own way, Into The Spider-Verse is a little miracle.

In fact, it is one huge miracle.

It does all these things without rushing or exceeding its welcome. Most of its storytelling comes visually without interpretation. It does the stories of several characters justice. Miles Morales’ journey is, of course, exquisitely told, but so is old man Peter Parker, a Spider-Man we’ve never seen before: middle-aged, bored, depressed, crushed by a failed marriage. A man who would rather take the bus than swing through New York City. Even Kingpin is a sympathetic villain, driven by a desire to save his own wife and children from death.

Every loose end is bound – fast, subtle, intelligent, hassle-free – in a way that makes almost every other superhero movie feel clumsy and old-fashioned.

This movie feels genuine

For an animated film about six spider humans from six different dimensions Using supernatural powers to defeat a 900-pound man and robotic cyborgs in suits, Into The Spider-Verse is remarkably grounded.

It’s a story about family, about what it means to be a father, what it means to be a son. What it means to struggle with the expectations of others and live up to your own potential. More than any other animated film I have ever seen, it feels performed. It has the spontaneous energy and heart of a screwball comedy, the incredible scale of superhero action at its best.

You have to go all the way back to The Iron Giant or The Incredibles to find an animated movie that feels that way genuine. A film that delivers on almost every possible spectrum you can invent, but still feels original and new.

If you have not seen Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, you are selling yourself short. Like me, you’ve probably spent the last couple of decades toppling over in the mediocrity of the superhero song. It is fine. It is well.

But maybe it’s worth reminding yourself of what it’s like to enjoy something amazing.


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