Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
Review by Skanda Swaminathan
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is perhaps the greatest animated movie ever made, and even one of the single greatest movies ever made. It is one of those movies that demands a second watch. Now I’ve watched it several times, and each time, it somehow just got better. Several factors play into this, such as stellar writing, music, and voice acting. Upon viewing Spider-Verse for the first time it is easy to get lose in the gorgeous and eye-catching visuals and animations. The animation team, composed of more than 800 people, took over 4 years to create this movie. In fact, it took the creators 1 year to create 10 seconds of footage that they were happy with. This shows the dedication of the team behind the movie in creating something truly special. The results honestly speak for themselves, as the movie is simply jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
The art style itself is extremely unique and innovative,and distinguishes itself from Pixar's established style which has become prevalent in the animation industry. It takes different styles, such as anime, and blends them seamlessly. The addition of onomatopoeia on the screen and the framing of certain shots truly gives it the look and feel of a comic book. The animation studio further refined and improved upon these techniques and this style with their newest release Mitchells vs the Machines, injecting it with the personality of the lead character Katie, who is a budding filmmaker. Animated movies are usually filmed at 24 frames per second, with each frame containing a new image or ‘on ones’. Spider-Verse differentiated themselves from the pack by filming ‘on twos’ for large parts of the movie, with the animation and movements thus feeling "crunchy" as described by the creators of the movie.
It is difficult to imagine a world where the same studio that created The Emoji Movie created this. To put this in perspective, The Emoji Movie starred Sir Patrick Stewart as a literal pile of poop. And yet, despite all odds, the writing and direction of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is among the best I have ever seen. I will not get into any spoiler territory here because I highly recommend everyone give this a watch, but the movie is so tightly written, refined, and polished to an immaculate sheen. No sentence or word is wasted. Each sentence spoken by the characters either moves the plot or their own personal character arcs forward. I watched this movie a day after I watched Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which was a 4-hour-long highly bloated movie that had repetitive and borderline annoying dialogue. This put things into perspective and gave me a deeper appreciation of the sheer talent behind the writing crew in this movie. This movie handles tone and character very well. The characters are extremely well defined, memorable, and extremely likable. The majority of the character development happens between Miles Morales and Peter B, Parker. One is a rising/growing Spiderman, and one is on his decline. This contrast makes for scenes that are both funny and heartwarming.
Miles and Peter
The story is a rather simple one, but as the saying goes simplicity is sophistication. It is equal parts zany, memorable, and thoroughly entertaining; sure to keep you glued to your seats for the entire runtime. The plot moves along quickly enough to ensure you don't get bored, yet not so fast that you lose track of what is going on. This movie is driven by strong voice performances with Shameik Moore delivering an authentic performance as Miles. The cast is generally composed of well-known actors and comedians, and while hiring celebrities does not guarantee quality, it lends a high sense of legitimacy to these characters. By bringing in comedians such as John Mulaney, an established professional stand-up comedian, the character Spider Ham (a literal spider pig) is rendered interesting. Also, NICHOLAS CAGE IS IN THIS MOVIE. Need I say more. NICHOLAS CAGE.
This review would be incomplete without mentioning the soundtrack. Songs such as Sunflower and What’s up Danger are memorable, significantly add to the tone of the movie, and flesh out Mile’s character in interesting ways.
All in all, Sony animation studios captured lightning in a bottle with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, bringing together all of the elements of a great movie: amazing characters, writing, direction, and music. These elements come together to form more than the sum of their parts, creating something truly special.