Spider-Man is arguably one of the most beloved superhero characters of all-time, a fact that is reflected in the vast amount of movies centered around the character. With many adaptations already existing, including a current series of live-action Spider-Man films, standing apart from those other Spider-Man movies is a challenge. However, it is a challenge that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse handles beautifully.
In this review, I have several different criteria used to judge the movie. Each category will also be given an individual rating in addition to the overall rating of the movie. The criteria includes characters/character development, plot/story, pacing, animation, and dialogue. So without further ado, let’s get into it!
Plot and Story
Into the Spider-Verse is not the same Spider-Man story we’ve heard a thousand times. Or at least, it is the same story just with a twist or two. The movie introduces the idea of a multiverse, in which several universes exist with different versions of Spider-Man. These versions include the Peter Parker we all know and love, as well as a kid named Miles Morales as the newest Spider-Man and the main character of the movie. When the villain of the story, Kingpin, opens a portal to these other universes, several different Spider-People cross over into Miles’ universe, and they must work together to return to their own universes and destroy Kingpin’s machine.
The use of the multiverse takes a story we’ve heard a thousand times and breathes new life into it, even poking fun at the fact that the original story has been told so many times. It is wildly entertaining to see all of the versions of Spider-Man that have existed, as well as to see Miles learn to become Spider-Man himself. However, the actual plot of Kingpin as the bad guy and destroying his machine as the end goal kinda gets lost (or at least overshadowed) by the multiverse storyline. The overall story though feels fresh and exiting even amidst the other Spider-Man stories that have been told.
Most of the characters in the movie are the different versions of Spider-Man, including a female version, an anime style girl with a robot, a film-noir Spider-Man that fights Nazis and is voiced by Nicholas Cage, and a pig named Spider-Ham that is voiced by John Mulaney. Of course, the real highlights are Miles Morales, the newest Spider-Man, and a jaded Peter Parker as his mentor.
The characters are each hilarious, unique, and fun, but (with the exception of Miles and Peter Parker) not developed much or even really seen for that matter. The relationship between Miles and Peter is amazing, and many of the characters get their moments to shine (like Miles’ dad and uncle), but the other Spider-People are not as well-developed as they could be. With that being said though, I do also want to mention the representation in the movie, which features a Hispanic and African American main character and a wide array of badass female characters.
The pacing of the movie is overall really strong. It is exciting and fast paced, with great action sequences, some good plot twists, and witty dialogue between the characters. However, because the overall plot of Kingpin and his machine isn’t quite as exciting to me as the multiverse stuff, the movie doesn’t feel like it’s building up to anything too crazy or exciting, which kinda slows down the pacing a bit (don’t get me wrong though, I do enjoy the overall plot, it just isn’t a main standout for me).
One more thing to mention about the pacing is the soundtrack of the movie. I know that music isn’t necessarily an aspect of pacing, but it can make a big difference in the feel of a scene and the tone of the movie overall, impacting how the pacing of the scenes seem as well. The soundtrack for the movie is incredible, with each song perfectly expressing the mood, feeling, and of course the pacing of each scene. The songs help to make the movie more exciting and enjoyable overall, and also helps to establish Miles’ character even further.
The animation is so stunning and unique in Into the Spider-Verse. It mixes different styles of animation but somehow makes them blend together seamlessly. Each person in the movie looks completely different, even the background characters, which can be a rare thing to see in animated movies. Even the colors used seem different than what you usually see. The whole film is a work of art, and it is truly some of the best animation I’ve seen. If you’re an animation geek like I am, you need to watch the movie just to appreciate the art.
Balancing humor, genuinely good life advice, and touching sentiments, the dialogue is one of the stronger parts of Into the Spider-Verse. The relationships between Miles and some of the other characters, like his dad, uncle, and Peter Parker, are well developed and realistic due to the strong rapport between the characters.
My only complaint with the dialogue is that the more minor characters often have little dialogue at all, preventing them from being fully developed. This is especially upsetting with the characters voiced by Nick Cage and John Mulaney, which had the potential to be even more hilarious and memorable had they actually had more to say. So while the dialogue is pretty strong between the main characters, the dialogue with minor characters is more of a missed opportunity in many cases.
Overall, Into the Spider-Verse is an amazing movie, and definitely one I would recommend watching. Even if you’re sick of Spider-Man movies, or just superhero movies in general, this movie’s uniqueness makes it a refreshing change. While the some of the characters and dialogue represent a missed opportunity, everything else – from the animation, to the idea of the multiverse, the pacing, and even the soundtrack – is absolutely wonderful.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is available to watch on Netflix, and if you have a Netflix account, I would definitely say it is a must watch. In fact, I would say it’s a must watch for just about anyone, appealing to superhero fans, animation fans, and everyone in between. Have you seen Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! And make sure to subscribe to be notified of my new posts!