The best animation release of 2018 doesn’t involve a former video game villain suffering from an identity crisis. It certainly doesn’t include a princess who also happens to be a great racer too. Sony Pictures Animation’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is not only head and shoulders above the animated releases this year, but it’s also one of the best movies this year. How is this possible? Writers Phil Lord and Rodney Rotham were careful in constructing a narrative which seemingly sidestepped the most glaring superhero tropes while creating a relatable yet engaging tale.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse isn’t about becoming Marvel’s iconic web-slinger, the tale woven is more of what defines a hero. Everyone is familiar with the origins of Peter Parker but what motivates someone to risk their lives for individuals who will never be grateful. Anyone can slip on a mask, but very few will fight for what’s right. Director Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Phillip Lord focus their tale around a Brooklyn Teenager named Miles Morales. While Morales acquires his superhuman abilities in the same manner as other web slingers have, it takes an encounter with five different spider-men from other dimensions (you know …. as you do) for him to realize who he indeed is.
Jake Johnson voices an older Peter Parker while Shameik Moore portrays Morales and are easily the best performances in the film. Their chemistry is undeniable. Visually, there isn’t a film that compares to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Dean Gordon and Patrick O’Keefe’s art direction struck a perfect balance between the use of a vibrant color palette and an animation style which seamlessly incorporated the Spider-Man’s comic book roots with brilliant moments of splendor. Fans hearts will collectively stop when they see Morales navigate New York’s skyline.
I fully expect a film like this to have legs over the holiday season and well into the new year. While Aquaman will dominate the box-office for the next few weeks, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is an unexpected treat which is sure to bring a smile to fans worldwide.