When looking at the film industry, it’s undeniable that superhero movies have taken over. Companies like Marvel make billions of dollars each year on comic book movies, and each year there are more and more of them. This genre has often been criticized for being formulaic, so it’s surprising that a superhero movie happened to be one of the most original movies of 2018. It’s even more surprising that it’s a Spider-Man movie, a franchise that’s gone through three iterations since 2002.
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is an animated film following the story of Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino high school student turned superhero tasked with saving the world. The twist is that he doesn’t just work alone, but instead with spider-people from other dimensions including Peter Parker, the man most associated with the role of Spider-Man.
It sounds confusing on paper, the film tackles the plot with ease. The movie sets up some rules early on, allowing the viewers to be drawn into the story without questioning the logic of it. It also incorporates the different spider-people effortlessly, a lesser movie would get bogged down trying to give side plots to everyone, Spiderverse retains the focus on Miles while still giving each character their own special moments. Miles Morales and Peter Parker get the most screen time out of all the spider-people, and this works greatly to the film’s advantage.
The moment the characters come on screen they feel like real people. They play off of each other and grow together in a natural way that’s rewarding for viewers to watch. Everyone is animated in a slightly different style that fits their character and brings them to life, while still managing not to be overly distracting. Spiderverse isn’t just based off of comics; it looks like one. From snow passing by the characters to represent speed lines to thought bubbles and panels showing dialogue, everything is a comic book brought to life. This is used to create an entire film where each frame is visually interesting in a way that’s never been present before.
Spiderverse is accessible to more than just comic book or superhero fans. While fans of the genre will love the constant nods to the comics and background Easter eggs, most other people can find things to love as well. While the film does fall into some tropes present in all superhero movies, it does so seamlessly.
The movie is a breath of fresh air when it comes to superhero films. It’s unique in so many ways. The animation alone makes it worthwhile for everybody to see, but there’s so much more. The message that anybody can be Spider-Man is present through the whole film and it’s super empowering. Showing a mixed kid being a superhero without any issues related to his race is unheard of in the genre. Similarly, Black Panther shows black kids that they can do anything, when all too often that message is reserved for white kids. It makes the movie worthwhile for more than just aesthetics and fun.
Those aspects are just the icing on the cake, packaging the film in an interesting and accessible way that will draw all sorts of audiences in. Because it was so well made, the film with this message will go down in history.