• Release Date: 14/12/2018
  • Voice Actors: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Jake Johnson, Liev Schreiber, Brian Tyree Henry
  • Director:  Rodney Rothman, Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti

Ever since I saw the first trailer of this film, I knew it would be good. I was instantly hooked by the animation style, the quirky humor and above all the concept of various universes colliding and giving us multiple versions of the Spider-Man. We have seen countless renditions of the character and to be honest, I was only impressed by the first two Sam Raimi films. Every other rendition of the hero felt somewhat short of what would be inspiring. I must also add that Spider-Man, the character in itself doesn’t appeal to me that much. I believe it is endlessly clear that I am not a fanboy of the character and for someone like me to like this film as much as I did was in itself the proof of the fact that it was mighty good.

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) growing up in Brooklyn and dreaming about creating sprawling graffiti is bitten by a radioactive spider giving him superhuman abilities. As he tries to dig deeper into his new found powers he ends up witnessing a world-changing event in which his hero Spider-Man faces off against the kingpin and Green Goblin to stop them from opening a portal that would converge alternate universes in Brooklyn creating a black hole that could destroy it. Spider-Man entrusts Miles with the device that would allow him to switch off the portal before the antagonists get the better of him.

Miles now has to find a way to stop Kingpin with the device he has at hand but before that he has to learn to use his superpowers, save himself from a ruthless adversary who is out to kill him on the Kingpin’s bidding, team up with all the other versions of the Spider-Man who have found their way to Brooklyn when the portal was opened and the universes converged and also deal with a great personal tragedy.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has a lot to offer in terms of story. There is a lot happening in the life of Morales. He is having issues with his father and he is not exactly a fan of his parenting ways. Once he is bitten by the spider and entrusted with the responsibility by Spider-Man, his life comes full circle. Now he not only has to deal with the gap between him and his father but also balance the newfound powers and the responsibility that he has been entrusted with. He finds solace only in the company of his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali) who understands him and inspires him. Morales is not the only Spider-Man with problems. Peter Parker from a different universe has been having a far worse time. He is divorced, in bad shape and lacks any will to do actual good. However, when he is called upon by the situations to intervene, he doesn’t disappoint. Even the antagonist has an agenda that can be understood. However, it must be noted that this is one aspect of the film that remains a little underdeveloped. Having said that, I was blown away by the character of “The Prowler”. There is a twist involving him at the end which I was not expecting. I learned that the comic book aficionados are already aware of this twist. Since I was not aware of it, it just struck me better.

The voice talents in this film are perfect. Mahershala Ali has a smallish act but his voice is magic for the character of Aaron. Shameik Moore as Miles Morales is able to transport his anxiety, frustration and the exasperating feel of running out of time perfectly. He really comes to his own as the film progresses. Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy is suave and classy. Her voice perfectly matches the visual feel of the character. Liev Schreiber as the kingpin is menacing.

The highest point of the film still is its fresh and imaginative visual style that would take a while to adjust to first. As I watched this film, I felt as if I was browsing through the pages of a comic book. It is complete with thought bubbles, exclamation balloons and also every time Spidey’s spider senses are triggered we get those cool lines above his head that are so comic book like. The 3D is insanely well done. Not only was it the need of the hour for a film like this, but it also helps in creating the visuals in an interesting kind of way. There are portions when the background is blurred and sometimes even the foreground is blurred emphasizing on the background. It just helped to make this film visually very different from what we have seen in terms of animation thus far. It was indeed unique to see an anime, a black and white graphite drawing, a fully rendered 3D character and washed out hyper-realistic character in the same frame not to mention a Spider-Ham who is rendered just as he is drawn in the books.

I was enthralled by this film. I will have to see it atleast a couple of times more to sink in all the details in the visuals. I was also emotionally invested in the tale and to see a teenager don the Spider-suit was an interesting thing in itself. Add to that a subtle sense of humor that doesn’t forget to give you some laugh-out-loud moments and a narrative that moves at a breakneck speed but has a beating heart and you have a film that is one of the best Spider-Man films ever.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)


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