Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse  is the animated adventure of Miles Morales and a whole slew of spider-people that nobody ever knew they actually needed until now. Comic book fans will be familiar with Miles as a recent (but not so much anymore) young man who takes on one of the roles of Spider-Man and this film follows that path he is forced into. With an amazing voice cast and a list of unknowns directing and writing, there really is no obvious guess as to how an animated major release of a globally known superhero would be received. Go ahead and swing down this review and see for yourself.
Visual Build Up: The first few minutes of looking at Spider-Man: ITSV is a bit difficult. But once your eyes adjust this may be the best looking animated film based on a comic book to ever be released. The directors and art department wanted to give the audience the feel of watching a moving comic book with all the layers of colors and lining and even misprints! The visuals in Spider-Man: ITSV give it the most unique style of the year and possibly of the last decade or more. The inclusion of “POW!” or “BOOM!” during action sequences were a lot of fun as well. The visuals even highlighted when characters sighed or shouted using those classic comic book “sound waves” that often come from the mouth. This approach to the visual presentation is exactly what this film needed to separate itself from the over saturation of superheroes in the film industry.
Spider-People: All of the spider-people in Spider-Man: ITSV are an absolute delight. Topping this list is obviously Miles. The Peter Parker that is given to this story is more real than any Parker that has been put into a film. Jake Johnson was an amazing choice to voice Peter as the apathetic middle-aged Spider-Man. Any award for best voice acting goes to him this year hands down. Johnson’s comedic timing works perfectly with his animated representation. Nicolas Cage is a riot with his few moments of dialogue as Spider-Man Noir (we really need an animated short of this guy). The film also has great characters out of Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Hailee Steinfeld, and Mahershala Ali.
Emotional: Spider-Man: ITSV is hilarious, tense, and sad all at the right moments. Nothing is out of place. The blueprint of a superhero origin may be mostly the same but somehow the script takes different roads to get there that have not been explored before. This really allows the film to feel as fresh as a comic book film can be at the moment. You will laugh, cry, and fear for the heroes. The stakes are high in this story for everyone.
An Amazing Surprise: This film had an element of surprise behind it which is why the payoff has been so large. Spider-Man: ITSV is nearly perfect and that has a lot to do with the art department and every other department asking themselves “What can we do to be different? No matter the costs.”
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best-animated film of the year and one of the best comic book films ever made. Every aspect is appealing and fresh. Let us hope this is just the beginning for Miles and the rest of the Spider-People.
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Spider-Man: ITSV is featured on Borrowing Tape's Best Films of 2018 list.