I have basically reached superhero fatigue. I don’t watch new Marvel or DC movies because I’m terribly gripped by the story, although some characters are dear to me by now. I watch because most of my friends will have watched and I like being able to talk about them. To Marvel’s credit, their MCU has become a modern American mythology and a good barometer for where the culture is currently. This past weekend, a new Marvel movie opened up that completely blew me away.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a joyous movie. Whereas most Marvel movies feel as an inevitability, Into the Spider-Verse feels like a miracle. Vibrant, hilarious and full of care, this new Spider-Man takes the familiar beats of Spider-Man, but provides the viewer enough tweaks to make it feel fresh. Remembering that Spider-Man has had two origin movies within the span of 16 years for Peter Parker, we get Miles Morales, a Spider-Man not given the spotlight in modern media outside of the comics. Miles Morales has the same general plot beats of Peter’s origin but brings us a different point of view and frame of reference with his Afro-Latinx heritage and sensibilities. Miles is sweet, hilarious and an endearing focal point as we get introduced to the rest of the Spider-People (and Spider-Ham, who is probably my favourite movie character of 2018).
There’s a lot of talk of multiple dimensions and some fun twists on characters that people who have seen past Spider-Man movies will find fun, but no knowledge is really needed to enjoy Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It does increase enjoyment, like any comic book property, to have a fluency in the comics or previous Spider-Media but certainly not required. These characters are all interesting and well-rounded, and while the movie does rely on certain plot beats that have been driven into the ground, the characters bring a depth of emotion that I was surprised at. It really shows that while formulas can get stale, if done well, a tried and true framework can still resonate with viewers.
What I must gush about the most though, is that it is gorgeous. This movie is stunning. The colors leap off the screen, really taking advantage of the comic-book roots and painting scenes with variety and ingenuity. One of my biggest gripes with live-action Marvel movies is their action sequences. Often very bland, even MCU movies with distinctive directors lose their vision in the fights. Not so with Into the Spider-Verse. Fights here are thrilling and visceral, with wildly different set-ups each time and working to impress the viewer at every turn. Bursting at the seems with colour in a genre that seems to only enjoy browns and greys (outside of the space magic MCU movies, Guardians and Thor: The Guardians One), Spider-Verse maniacally laughs while it throws eye-catching shades at you. It is never overwhelming but something to treasure.
At this point, I’ve watched this movie twice now and have caught more things in the second viewing that only enhanced the viewing. Whether it is a tiny little “BAGELED!” sound effect on screen or the attention to detail for the whole picture and not just the main characters, I’ve been rapt each showing. I’m even looking forward to watching it again in 3D which I fully never want to do if I can avoid it. Everything about this movie just pops.
Special shoutouts to the soundtrack making me want to listen to Rat King Post Malone and Jake Johnson voice-acting another character who I fully relate to in both being chubbier than I want and also lovably pathetic. Also, just…the whole character of Spider-Ham
I completely didn’t expect to love this as much as I did and I cannot stress enough that if you enjoy superhero movies at all and are experiencing fatigue, this movie shows you how a superhero movie can transcend the genre while still being a pinnacle of said genre. Treat yourself to a Christmas showing and live your best life.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is PG, 1hr and 56min of beautiful Spider action, and playing in theaters now, stop reading this and go watch it.
Aaron Hansen is a 30 year old college student, enjoys playing video games and procrastinating on assignments. You can reach him with any complaints on Twitter or through a whisper on the wind.