I think everyone at this point agrees that the Spider-Man franchise is not one that requires another reboot anytime soon. With four actors now having played the character since the turn of the millennium, it’s fascinating to me that audiences haven’t been hit with intense Spider-Man fatigue, with many reviewers still claiming that the friendly neighborhood superpowered teen is their favourite hero by far. What’s even more interesting, though, is what a breath of fresh air the new installment Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse felt like when I saw it in cinemas after reading other glowing reviews across the board. It may be a Spider-Man film, but it has managed to mine a glorious amount of untapped ideas and resources – most importantly that anyone can put on the mask, a key concept for the hero that led the late great Stan Lee to create him in the first place.
Rather than Peter Parker, in this movie we follow the more recent creation Miles Morales, a New York teen with cool, lax uncle, who also serves as his guiding mentor, much to his overbearing cop father’s chagrin. When he is inevitably bitten by the radioactive spider we’ve seen so many times before, he struggles with this new sense of responsibility, particularly as his dad doesn’t take kindly to the current Spider-Man. However, the real problems come in when Kingpin manages to open up a portal to other dimensions, letting in other Spider-People from other universes, from Nicholas Cage’s brooding Spider-Noir to John Mulaney’s Looney Tunes-esque Spider-Ham. This set up allows for a lot of fun beyond the standard cinematic Spider-Man fare, and the visuals certainly aid the depiction of all these heroes.
As many others have said before me, the neon pseudo stop motion animation is really the star of the show. Rather than the fairly unimaginative Marvel visuals that we’ve had for the past few years, this intense style gives Spider-Verse a far more distinctive identity, and importantly one that entirely belongs to Miles. It’s refreshing to see a major studio like Sony actually attempting to inject some personality into the aesthetic of their films – even the soundtrack, featuring Post Malone (an artist I can’t stand), contributed to feeling as though you’re always in Miles’ head.
If you were to now ask me my favourite onscreen Spider-Man out of Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland, I would have to say Shameik Moore as Miles. The naivety, fear, determination and compassion that Moore depicts has contributed to creating one of the most well-rounded superheroes in recent film history. As is often the case, the medium of animation has ironically provided more humanity than live action has for a long time in this genre. 2018 has been a standout year for superhero movies, with Infinity War and Black Panther as the two main players – Spider-Verse is certainly no exception.