Into The Spider-Verse
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
With a combination of unique art styles, interesting sound design, loveable characters, and a compelling storyline, Into the Spider-Verse hits every possible note that you could want in a movie.
Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best animated movies that I have watched in a long time. Not only is the artistic style unique, all the added style using a comic book feel hits all the right notes. Alongside the visuals is great sound design. Besides the visuals and sounds, the movie is a perfect origin story for Miles Morales that will leave you happy and satisfied.
With the release of Across the Spider-Verse right around the corner, I decided to rewatch Into the Spider-Verse. When I first watched this movie many years ago, I thought it was a great movie and fun to watch. After viewing it again in preparation for the sequel that releases in a few days, I can easily say that this movie still remains one of my all time favourites. With a combination of unique art styles, interesting sound design, loveable characters, and a compelling storyline, Into the Spider-Verse hits every possible note that you could want in a movie. Without further ado, let’s get into some specifics, shall we?
To start things off, I want to talk about the art style. Being an animated movie, there’s a sense of surrealness in the animation that can’t be achieved in live action movies. Don’t get me wrong, the live action Spider-man movies are pretty fun to watch, but there’s just something special with the dynamic action sequences in Into the Spider-Verse that blows me away. Combining the vibrant colours with the unique comic book like text bubbles, and you have a recipe for a unique movie.
With such a colourful atmosphere, the darker moments of the movie really stand out. Such as the death of Miles’ Spider-man. Not only is that scene a great introduction to the villains of the movie, but it was interesting seeing how the rest of the setting played into the event. Set in a darker tunnel, the background was filled with darker colours, as expected, which was in contrast with the red of Spider-man. To me, it felt like the movie was trying to portray Spiderman as a ray of hope, a beacon of light, in the dark tunnel. But, as soon as Kingpin finishes him off, the world loses its light and succumbs to the darkness. Now, whether this was intentional or not, I found this method of storytelling captivating, while also useful in worldbuilding.
Besides the actual look of the movie, I also want to mention the brilliant sound design. The first major instance that I really enjoyed was hearing The Prowler. Combining his canine like movements, with the wolf-like sounds, was a perfect way to demonstrate his skill as a fighter, while also exuding a dreadful and scary aura. Alongside the Prowler, I also liked the sound of the webshooters. Every time they were used, the thwip sound they made was satisfying, and it fit perfectly into every scene it was featured. The moments when the onomatopoeias of movement flashed on screen, combined with the sound, was also unique and a pleasure to witness. Honestly, everything about the sound design was amazing, and it flowed naturally into the movie.
Now, besides the visuals and sounds, I have to say that the characters in Into the Spider-Verse were unique and loveable. Besides Peter B. Parker and Gwen, the other Spiderman variants didn’t get much screentime. Even with less than half a movie to flesh themselves out, their uniqueness to each other made them all shine. There was never a dull moment when they were on screen. We also had just enough time with all of them that when Peni lost her robotic spider mech to Scorpion, I still felt a twinge at her lost.
When it comes to the main trio of Miles, Peter B., and Gwen, the three had amazing chemistry, and were able to play off each other’s characters. I really liked Miles as our lead, since his take on the Spiderman origin story, although similar to other Spiderman origin stories, it was unique enough for Miles’ character to truly shine. He had perfect development throughout the movie, and it all felt natural, which was great to see. Another character with solid development was Peter B. From a sloth of a man who had given up, to a hero once more, seeing him stand up for himself at the end and taking that “leap of faith” was really satisfying. Despite his initial misgivings, he turned out to the best mentor Miles could ever have. Most of his words rang true, and Peter B. gave enough space between himself and Miles so that Miles can grow.
Finally, Gwen’s character was a perfect balance of a strong, female character. Into the Spider-Verse was great at portraying Gwen as a strong female lead without overstaying her welcome. I know most movies nowadays try to have strong female leads and whatnot, but sometimes they aren’t hits because characters don’t act like themselves. Although Gwen is able to stand up for herself, she never really overtook the spotlight. Now, I know Into the Spider-Verse was released back in 2018, but it was refreshing to see a character that is strong and female, not strong because she is female.
The final note I want to mention was the plot of the movie. Essentially, Into the Spider-Verse is Miles Morales’ Spiderman’s origin story. And what an origin story it is. Containing all the same plot points as other Spiderman origin stories, Miles’ felt unique enough to stand on its own. Not only was it a captivating story, but the emotional beats in the movie hit hard. Into the Spider-Verse isn’t the kind of movie where you bawl your eyes out, but the natural flow of the movie is smooth, and moving from plot point to plot point isn’t jarring. Every scene had its place, and never overstayed its welcome.
On that note, if you haven’t seen Into the Spider-Verse, I 100% recommend giving it a shot. With a great story, a cool setting, an awesome colour palette, great characters, and top-notch sound design, it has everything you want in a movie, and more. If you’re reading this because the sequel is coming out, definitely watch Into the Spider-Verse to prepare for the sequel. In a few days, we will have a review up for Across the Spider-Verse, so stay tuned for that.