LH Movie Review: Into the Spider-Verse

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Reese Hill, Reporter

Disclaimer: Moderate spoilers.

I entered the Spider-Verse with my father and my four-year-old cousin, and all three of us left it smiling. I’ve more or less always been a fan of superhero movies, but until I watched this one, I had never really been impressed by more than just the CGI effects or a thrilling score. Something about this movie – the variety of characters, the cohesively-structured plot, the beautiful animation, and the brilliant creativity – sets it apart from Marvel’s other productions. It was made for everyone.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” follows the life of the teenage Miles Morales, Brooklyn resident, as he begins his first day at a private high school. One night in the underground tunnels of New York City, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider. The next morning, he’s agog to discover he’s developed the same superhuman capabilities as Spider-Man. Go figure! Mild-to-moderate disasters ensue and Miles ends up in the tunnels again to find the aforementioned spider. But, lo and behold, he stumbles into an underground laboratory, where the official Spider-Man is busy battling the Green Goblin to prevent the opening of a multi-dimensional portal! Spider-Man ultimately loses the fight and a machine opens a portal that goes across multiple parallel dimensions. This leaves the original Peter Parker dead and young Miles in charge of saving the world(s).

Apparently, throughout these multiverses, there is a “Spider-Person” to represent almost everybody out there, including (but is not limited to) those who are white, black, female, friendly, antisocial, younger, older, in the past, in the future, and even species other than human (see: John Mulaney as Peter Porker, the Spider-Ham). This in itself is pretty cool, because, hey – it’s a bunch of Spider-People. But paired with the recurring greeting of “you’re like me”, it transcends the CGI comic universe of the screen and is so easily accessible to everyone in the theater. Who can say they haven’t met someone who seemed to have a star-crossed bond with them?

So in a nutshell, another Peter Parker, as well as several other unique variations of the character, team up with Miles to help him grow into his new abilities while also trying to stop the universe from collapsing.

I can’t do the plot justice in my brief retelling, but the visual effects I can hopefully describe. The colors and animation in the movie were beautiful. Imagine the bright and restless style of The Lego Movie, but better. It was the perfect balance of choreographed action and the relatability of cartoon characters. The bold color choices were so refreshing from most of the other movies out right now – for example, mint green with bright peach, neon yellow with rich purple, vibrant blues with reds and whites. It really does feel like you are living within a comic book.

And also, it was funny. Not slapstick-funny, and not going-for-the-laugh funny, just funny. The dialogue is terrific, full of realistic jokes and friendly deadpan. This line in particular describes how I felt about it: “I liked your joke. It wasn’t funny, which is why I laughed.” So if that’s your sense of humor, you might find the movie quite fulfilling.

In one word, it’s exquisite. “Into the Spider-Verse” held up to the hype, didn’t fall into deadbeat tropes, and took me by surprise in the end. It isn’t about defeating the bad guy or showing off your superhuman capabilities. In the end, it’s about how even when it seems like you’re alone in the world, there really is somebody somewhere who knows exactly what you’re going through.