BEIRUT: Sony Pictures has not had the best luck in their Spiderman films; Sam Raimi’s Spiderman and Spiderman 2 were massive successes and arguably the films that breathed new life into comic-book films, yet from Spiderman 3 on things went horribly downhill.
Earlier this year, Sony released their rendition of Venom, which succeeded on a box office level but delivered a lack-luster film that left most audiences confused and dismayed.
When news of a new animated Spiderman film from Sony Animation was announced – many rolled their eyes and looked in the other direction, until the teaser trailer aired.
Promising the first appearance of Miles Morales’s Spiderman on the silver screens, Sony Animation and filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, crafted a tale that revitalized faith in what Sony could do within the Spiderman universe, or Spider-verse if you will.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse brings a completely new take on Marvel’s beloved web-slinging superhero, which was first introduced by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962, this time featuring a diverse cast and a revolutionary approach to the classic Spider-Man mythos, the movie is unlike any of the previous cinematic interpretations of the familiar character.
It’s different due to Lord and Miller’s post-modernistic vision.
One of the most outstanding aspects of the film is its dynamic visual style, which defies CG-animated movies expectations and pays homage to the classic look and feel of the comic books of the Golden Era. The animators and art directors used a merger between CG and hand-drawn animation, half-tone dots which help render tone, line work which emphasizes facial expressions and motion, as well as comic book style panelization, and graphic elements (BOOM, POW, etc).
There are moments within the film when the frame gets broken into panels, just like you see in comic books, and to add to that, there are flash frames that allow for unusual compositions, and Cubism-inspired dimensional quakes.
All these together are why the film looks as jaw-dropping as it does. Yet, none of this would have mattered if the narrative did not hold up, and luckily for the filmmakers and the audience Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse has one powerful screenplay.
Co-written by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, the screenplay checks off the three most important things in any narrative: hardship, humor, and heart.
Using Miles Morales as the film’s protagonist, a young diverse teen who is struggling with aspects of growing up, figuring out what his purpose is in life, and more importantly how to deal with society’s expectations, was the smartest decision made by the screenwriters.
Miles is more of a contemporary city kid who has dreams and is struggling to figure out how to reach them, which is a universal feeling everyone can relate to.
On the other side, the film’s main villain is none other than the Kingpin – yet even he has an empathetic reasoning behind why he is filled with hatred.
Acting as the film’s hub, Kingpin exhibits the consequences of what occurs when one loses their moral compass, i.e. their family.
It is because of this loss, that the Kingpin goes to the cataclysmic lengths that he does in order to get them back, which is a power layer to add to the web-slinger’s nemesis.
Thematically, the film not only tackles the importance of family, and the sacrifices one makes for them, but also the importance of taking a leap of faith in order to metamorphose into the person you are meant to be.
At its core, however, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse promotes the idea that anybody can wear the mask – meaning, we all have powers, and we all need to face up to our responsibilities, regardless of who we are or where we are born.
Introducing a collection of new Spider-men, and women, into the fold, this new tale balances humor with the conflict and drama so well that neither beat feels cheated.
The film’s voice cast is simply superb, and all do their part in truly humanizing their animated counterparts.
Musically, whether it be the film’s score, sound effects, or soundtrack, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse delivers an amazing soundscape that reflected the life of the characters, and the world they lived in.
It even has a tune that audiences leave the theater whistling. Daniel Pemberton’s energetic score matches the film’s bold and rich color palette by mixing vinyl
scratches, synthesizers, and what is clearly a large orchestra. This film surely surprised and delivered a visual masterpiece that elevated, inspired, and defied all expectations in regards to the future of the Spider-verse.
With plans already set in motion for a sequel, and a spin-off, there is no doubt that all who witness Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse will be impatiently waiting to buy tickets for the second volume in Miles Morales’s adventure as the only Spider-man… in his universe at least.
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