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Alright, let’s start 2019 as we mean to go on—let’s talk about movies more regularly, now! I just got back from seeing a couple of movies today and, as some of you requested, I figured I might as well start making proper reviews, now! So, for this episode, let’s talk about a film I now wish I’d got to see earlier; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse. I hadn’t heard a bad word said about this film before I saw it, so this film definitely had high expectations to fill and, for the most part, Spider-verse excelled.
We follow Miles Morales (please allow a moment for fanboy-squealing, myself included) as he has to come to terms with getting himself bitten and becoming Spider-Man. However, he discovers that there are multiple universes full of different spider-related superheroes. All these different spider-variants end up together in the same place, at the same time, and have to find a way to get themselves back home, beat the bad guy, and save the day.
There’s more to this film, obviously, but that’s the main plot. But a film made of just plot is like a meal with just rice—you need something more for a satisfying meal. The soundtrack, for instance, is brilliant, with effective use in the context of the film and being good enough songs when separated to get your head bobbing in the seat during a fight scene or a moment of sheer exhilaration.
The soundtrack also works alongside Spider-verse’s unique artstyle to create an aesthetic like no other animated film I’ve seen in years. Initially, I found the visuals somewhat distracting, as some parts appear to have missing animation frames, and some parts have a weird red-and-blue haze around them which almost makes me feel like I should be wearing some 1990 3D glasses. However, 15 minutes into the film, these issues are put to rest, as the animation lends the action a tangibly kinetic feeling which is as engrossing as it is gorgeous.
Obviously, no movie is perfect; along with the initial jarring artstyle issues, the film does feel a little bit overlong and bloated. It’s weird to say that the film both doesn’t need to be 2 hours long AND has pacing sometimes a little too quick for its own good, but it feels true to me. One particularly emotional scene seems to come and go a little too quickly, and the downtime that would normally be used to let these emotions sink in doesn’t seem present. On the complete opposite side of things, sometimes there are moments which seem to move too quickly to actually land as intended.
Are these issues that stick with you? Not massively. I’ve been studying film for long enough to notice these issues, but also retain the awareness that these don’t ruin a film inherently, especially when they’re as infrequent as these are and part of an overall whole which is so good.
And don’t misunderstand me; this movie is AWESOME.
One thing I appreciated is the understanding of Spider-Man. As a character and as a hero, not only is he designed to just be “anybody,” but he’s also based around the insecurities to save everyone and the guilt of not being able to. As this is a theme explored by the film, I don’t wanna say too much more about it, but I for one really appreciate the clear understanding of what makes these characters. In fact, this is probably my favourite Spider-Man movie. Seriously. If this film had come out ten years ago, I wouldn’t shut up about this film. Spider-verse really is that good.
So, in terms of my rating scale, I offer a pretty standard stars rating. However, there are such a thing as dark stars, so here’s the thing; if a film gets 5 stars, it’s excellent (not necessarily perfect, but excels in what it sets out to do). If a film gets 5 dark stars, the film is so bad that it’s excellent in a completely different way. The closer to 0, the less I recommend seeing a film BUT dark stars are ironic or “so bad it’s good” ratings and regular stars are a sign of competency. With that said, I give Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 5 stars. It excels in telling a convoluted story as directly and engagingly as possible and I HUGELY recommend the film.
Thanks for reading this written review! If you’re interested in seeing the video version of this review, please see the video linked. If you really liked the review and wanna see more, please consider throwing a tip my way—seeing movies costs money I don’t really have, so every little bit really does help. Cheers for reading, catch ya later!