Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
What makes you different is what makes you Spider-Man.
I haven’t heard anyone say anything bad about tonight’s entry. It’s been in my streaming queue for a while, but there’s a lot in there and what I watch really banks on the mood I’m in and the time I have, so it’s been regrettably pushed back more times than it hasn’t. Still, I like animation of all sorts of variety, and as mentioned it’s not like there’s a lot of talk telling me to stay away from this one. Put on your tights and hope you don’t get bit by a pig, tonight we go Into the Spider-Verse.
Yeah, it’s good. I doubt anyone really expected me to say otherwise - and although the screen shots I’ve used to decorate a few spots on the page might give the impression that the image quality is a bit low, the movies also in the fabled Ultra High Definition. Why it is that stills end up looking largely mushy in comparison to when you watch it is beyond me, but if I had to hazard a guess it’s probably due to motion and perhaps a little bit of buffering or some such thing - you’ll just have to take my word on it that it actually looks much better in person than the screen captures would imply. Of course, just because I’m leading off with a blanket statement about the movie doesn’t mean I don’t have some qualms with it, but all of that in due time reader!
The story here is fun, and allows itself to be fun - even if it has a serious side that it doesn’t shy from either. The whole tempting multiple dimensions to allow multiple spider-folk into the movie is arguably not necessary to the plot, but it helps take what it is and bring a different scale and plenty of variation to the movie. We’ve all seen Spider-Man solo a bunch of bad guys - but here, we get to see a bunch of spider folk teaming up to beat up a bunch of bad guys. Beyond the whole multi-verse quantum shenanigans, the device causing it also helps to add a scale of doom to the plot - potentially creating a black hole under the city isn’t a good thing after all. At the same time, the main bad’s reason for doing it in the first place also ends up being pretty sound, making it a pretty decent reason to not just automatically hate the enemy for just being such. At the same time, one of my first “complaints” shows up here as well - it’s a bit of a origin story, with a bunch of snap-shot montage origin stories thrown in as well. Yeah, it’s a bit of a joke and it get’s you up to speed and all that jazz - for a lot of people that’s probably a good thing - but I wasn’t necessarily the biggest fan of it despite it not really ruining my enjoyment at all.
The characters were pretty nice as well, giving you a bit of what you’d expect and also a little something different out of Spider-Man. It manages to work in plenty of different forms of the character (I’m assuming from various comics, considering I haven’t really read any of them and at least recognized three of them as being such), and each gets to have their own way of presenting themselves as well as voices to set them apart. I could argue that perhaps each doesn’t largely get much besides a joke here or there to spur on their character, but despite all the spider-folk being present, it’s still largely the story of Miles and it in turn makes sense that his side of things would have the most progress. You get that balance of responsibility and power, the pains of growing up and dealing with all the events around you, and all that fancy young person drama you would expect. You also get a good amount of development from run-down Spider-Man as well, largely being the two powered members to get the development of having a character to build.
The actors do a good job playing out there parts, putting some deliveries in there that can be pretty entertaining. Granted, you aren’t getting the same sort of thing out of body language in the normal sense, given that things are animated, but that isn’t to say that they don’t do a good job with it. The character faces are quite expressive when out of masks, and at times the movements and way they interact with things also adds a little character to them. Part of my interest in this thing was at least partly to the almost still-motion look of some of the characters, like they were actual physical models getting moved around like something out of Wallace and Gromit. Having finally watched the movie, I have to admit there are times when I’m really not entirely convinced they didn’t somehow get some models in there and touch them up - but in all honesty the movie is very much just well animated.
Now, the animation has some pros and cons to it. It all looks good, and very much strikes a cord in evoking the feel of a comic. Thought boxes, panel cut-ins, framing, even the dotted texture used for shading in plenty of comics makes an appearance. We get plenty of colors and bright scenes as well, and it all looks good - to a point. There are times that the dotted textures, or halftone, kinda sent my eyes ablaze in confusion, giving this almost bad 3D effect where it seemed like I was seeing double and it was out of focus. I’m going to chalk it up to my eyes just not being good in the first place, but I supposed if I don’t mention it I’d feel bad about it. For any time that it happened, however, there was another fifteen or so scenes where it didn’t, and a handful beyond that where it didn’t even look like it was there at all. Things are fluid as it wants to be, and occasionally a bit more stop-and-go for emphasis, but people who appreciate art as a medium will undoubtedly love all the little nods towards the printed page and styles, from anime to noir, to modern and wacky cartoon. In this way, it’s very much fresh and exciting, and makes up for any of the small fault’s I’d otherwise have with it.
Audio is good, but I have a confession. I’m not big into hip hop and rap, so some of the more pronounced songs don’t quite chime with me. Much in the same way where I will talk about a movie using 80s and metal being a foot in towards sticking around with me, this one was already a bit lagging behind. That being said, I acknowledge that it used stuff well and didn’t feel like it was picking songs willy-nilly, rather I’m just pointing out it wasn’t my tea. Line delivery was great in being able to understand it, even during climactic moments or chaos. Balance was great all the way around really, and the amount of sound effects really help flesh things out. The audio department did a good job here, and much like the art team it really helps make the movie feel more standout and they should be proud of what they’ve delivered - even if more than anything they put in I’ve got Homer from The Simpsons singing “Spider-Pig” in my head.
You want to have fun? You like comics? You like art and animation? Check this one out. Don’t like or want those things? Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to have you watch it and enjoy it as well. It’s good, and I’d be wrong to say that it doesn’t deserve most if not all of the praise it’s gotten. There’s some little tidbits that I could pick apart and point out - and have honestly - but it’s nothing enough to stop me from seeing this as anything but fun to watch at least once, even if it’s not a steady inclusion in the movie rotation. Everyone can be a hero, anyone can be Spider-Man, but let’s not all go jumping from buildings unless we know we’ve got powers, aye?