“Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse” excites with dynamic story and visuals
Over the past five years, more than 20 superhero films have been made, most of them conforming to the same three-act narrative structure, whether it be an origin story or epic crossover. In an increasingly oversaturated market, no film has ventured to rebel against its own genre, the very genre that has generated billions of dollars at the box office. That is, until “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” premiered on the silver screen.
Produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation, in association with Marvel Entertainment, “Into the Spider-Verse” offers a fresh take on the origin story audiences thought they knew so well. While still paying homage to previous installments (including a hilarious reference to Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 3”), “Into the Spider-Verse” stands alone as the first animated feature film in the Spider-Man franchise.
The story follows Miles Morales, a Brooklyn teenager of African American and Puerto Rican heritage, who has his fair share of struggles — trying to fit into an elitist prep school and dealing with familial conflict — even before he is bitten by our friendly neighborhood radioactive spider. When the film’s central villain, a mobster named Kingpin, launches a collider that disrupts the space-time continuum, different versions of Spider-Man emerge from parallel universes. It’s at this moment that the film kicks into high gear, with action-filled sequences and amazingly designed set pieces as Miles tries to control his newly acquired powers with help from the rest of the Spider-heroes.
Even though almost every aspect of this film is praiseworthy (the upbeat music and score by Daniel Pemberton particularly stands out), its identity is embedded in its animation style. Achieved by a team of over 142 animators, the artwork is rich in its singularity. Eliminating motion blur (the apparent streaking of moving objects in a frame) and rendering at 12 frames per second rather than the industry standard 24, the film impeccably encapsulates the two-dimensional aesthetic of old-school comic books without sacrificing the energetic dynamic found in contemporary animated elements.
In a New York Times article featuring the film’s animation process, producer Chris Miller said the team’s goal was to “be able to freeze any frame of the movie and have it look so good [that someone would] want to frame it and hang it on the wall.” Accomplishing this goal, every single frame is meticulously crafted and saturated with vibrant color.
Although the film’s screenplay never fully escapes the trappings of its genre, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a rejuvenation of a classic storyline and sets an exciting precedent for the future of animation.
By Sarah Aie, Copy Editor-in-Chief
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation