In a year saturated with Spider-Man and Marvel a film with conceivably the worst timing shows you that quality can and will trump all.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is one of those few films that lives up to the hype and oft-dramatically exceeds it. A genuinely creative, fun, mesmerising and rollicking good time, it takes us to places, visual, thematic and indeed canon that casual Spider-Man fans or even those less than acquainted with our nimble friend will not expect and dearly relish.
Centring a film on Miles Morales may be anathema to studio heads intent on live-action adaptations but here proves the foundation for something Marvel and Spidey fans have long been craving even with the fair improvement of Homecoming; a different big-screen take on our hero. Chronicling Miles’ (Shameik Moore) up-taking of the mantle amidst a soon to be colourful cavalcade of alternate-universe Spider-Mans invading his world, the broad absence of typical or bare variations of our hero and some out of this world in every sense are a delight to behold.
Bestowing more personality on the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) than either large-scale Daredevil adaptations, a hugely talented voice cast, among them Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry (on a terrific trajectory this year), Lily Tomlin, Zoe Kravitz, Chris Pine and first and foremost Nicolas Cage as the endearingly bleak Spider-Man noir, well serve this consummate adaptation, co-written (and with a story by) Phil Lord.
Blending traditional Disney-esque animation with the mainstay techniques elemental to both traditional and more modern comic forms, the quality of the visual stylings are evident far and above all else for the film’s abundantly creative and gorgeously entrancing treatment of interdimensional travel. A forest sequence, the stand-out vignette among many, more than much else exemplifies this animation’s outstanding quality; combining the free-flowing, narratively snappy story-telling pace reminiscent of the comic world’s very best triumphs, among them Herge’s greatest achievements, with visually distinct, vibrant environments as the narrative progresses which take us to that which eye-wateringly reflects and deftly imparts those different thematic planes to which we venture and indeed new worlds.
Packing a few welcomely emotive and not unsurprising story innovations, while the ending is in part still very much the reliably humungous blusteringly destructive brew-ha-ha that comic book adaptations save The Dark Knight still seem intent on stapling as their denouement, Into The Spider-Verse is still that overwhelmingly unexpected and ever-enjoyable.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in cinemas now