By JD Phillips
In a world where Pixar is starting to feel stagnant, Dreamworks is all but irrelevant, and the LEGO films are strangely successful, the animation side of Hollywood really needed something to revitalize it. “Spider-Man: Edge of the Spider-Verse” is very surprisingly that exact movie. It is a bizarrely fantastic and straightforward film considering how complex and at times ridiculous the movie can be.
Let’s just do a checklist here for all the things the film accomplishes.
● A fantastic origin story for the Miles Morales Spider-Man
● Two great, intersecting stories about the classic Peter Parker Spidey
● An excellent re-imagining of the Spidey rogues gallery
● Establishes two very relatable main villains
● A truly memorable introduction of the fan favorite Spider-Gwen character
● A bizarrely successful introduction to the brilliantly weird Spider-Man Noir, SP//dr, and even Spider-Ham.
● An easily repeatable conceit around the titular “Spider-Verse”
● A fantastic new style that relies on several existing styles like comics, anime, noir, old-school animation, and more.
That’s just a ridiculous amount of success there. Especially for a Sony film that can barely make a decent Spider-Man film with a simplistic plot. This is easily the best comic book film that Sony has made since “Spider-Man 2”.
It introduces us to Jake Johnson’s Spider-Man initially, then pivots to Miles Morales. Both of these new spideys are instantly relatable and likable. The movie gets a lot of mileage out of poking fun at the extended Spider-Man franchise and product line. (Think “LEGO Batman” but even funnier) It then introduces us to the Chris Pine Spider-Man of Miles’ Earth before having him meet a tragic end. There’s a lot that happens in the first thirty minutes of this movie and it’s surprising that at no point does it feel rushed, disjointed, or confusing. (Smart move to have the Chris Pine Spidey be blonde).
Then we are reintroduced to Jake Johnson’s Spidey and find out that like most Jake Johnson characters, he is a hopeless thirty-something that can’t get his shit together. There’s a great contrast between a green Spider-Man and a has been Spider-Man who have to learn from each other.
From there the film starts rolling out the other cast members. Spider-Gwen makes an appropriately punk rock entrance and paves the way for the ridiculous trio of Spider-Noir, Peni Parker, and John Mulaney’s perfectly silly Spider-Ham.
Then there’s the inevitable coming of age moment and character affirming final fight scene. It is a remarkably steam lined film for one that has so much to accomplish. Even Wilson Fisk and The Prowler are well developed and relatable villains. Hell, by the end of the film you’re genuinely concerned about whether Miles will get his personal essay done.
The best part of the entire film may be the interactions between Miles and his unfortunately named father, Jefferson Davis. The journey that both characters have to go through to bond on a more personal level is compelling and tender in the ways all the best Pixar films are.
Ultimately, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” is the best animated film of 2018 and a landmark film for the superhero genre. Sony has finally found the Spider-Man franchise of its dreams. Who would’ve thought it would be such a weird franchise? I mean, think about how ridiculous the phrase “Spider-Verse” is. This film shouldn’t be amazing, but I’m so happy it is. I need more!