Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is in my opinion the best Spider-Man movie there is. Fan’s of the original Raimi trilogy and even MCU Spider-Man ‘stans’ seem to be constantly at a crossroads when arguing their opinions on the best live-action Spider-Man movie and Into the Spider-Verse seems to be that one thing they can collectively agree on: it’s a brilliant Spider-Man movie. Now while this origin story is like none other before it’s the actual moral of the story, the characters involved and the animation style that pushes this movie to be hands down THE best Spider-Man movie that exists. Now you’re probably wondering why I think it’s the best Spider-Man movie, well here are just a few reasons:
In my opinion, any Spider-Man movie needs flawed characters, it’s especially essential for Peter Parker and anyone else to take on the mantle of Spider-Man to also have flaws. What really makes Spider-Man a character that people of all ages can adore is his relatability. Despite having a cool costume, swinging around New York and having special powers one thing will always remain: Spider-Man is human. In many ways he’s the most human superhero there is. He’s human because he makes mistakes like the rest of us, he carries burdens like the rest of us, he loses people close to him like the rest of us and he makes stupid decisions, like the rest of us. Having a Spider-Man that fights bad guys, has fun, learns nothing and doesn’t have to face his/their own demons is no Spider-Man at all.
That is where the beauty of Into the Spider-Verse comes through. We’re first introduced to Miles Morales: a young boy who is immature, clueless and above all lacks confidence deep down within himself. Miles doesn’t want to be Spider-Man, he doesn’t want super powers, he wants to be a normal kid but when it comes down to it he knows that he really has no choice. Miles watched Peter Parker die right in front of his eyes and Miles takes that BURDEN and he takes that RESPONSIBILITY upon himself to not let Peter Parker die in vain, he promised to stop ‘the collider’ and prevent Kingpin from destroying his world, Miles is absolutely frightened of letting Peter Parker down and takes it upon himself to make his death worth something. The weight of the world is on Miles’ shoulders and he knows above all he must do what is right. Now that’s a Spider-Man I can get behind.
Then you have Peter B Parker, probably the most human Spider-Man of them all. He’s someone who is genuinely depressed. He’s dealing with serious mental health issues: he’s lonely, he cries in the bathtub, constantly eats junk food and has pretty much given up on life. He lost his Aunt May and his personal fear of change and having kids leads to him losing his wife, MJ. Peter now pushes away any chance of friendship that may come his way to avoid anymore heartbreak. This version of Spider-Man is broken, but he’s the most real and emotionally raw Spider-Man we’ve probably ever seen on screen. Peter finds a friend in Miles but also finds hope and a reason to live. Peter almost becomes like a father figure, teaching Miles what it means to be Spider-Man but also finding out what it means for himself in the process. Because by the end of the movie he faces his demons, faces his mental health and keeps moving forward, and well that’s life.
There’s even characters like Gwen Stacey (Spider-Woman) who suffers from serious guilt and grief for failing to save her best friend (also Peter Parker), leading her into a life of loneliness and isolation, also avoiding any friendships as she feels she is a burden/risk to anyone close to her. Even Miles dad learns a lot in this movie, he wants his son to make the right decisions in life. He “see’s a spark inside” his son and wants him to do something with it. In a way he loves his son a little too much, his tough love pushes Miles away but just like the rest of the characters in this movie he learns to let his son make his own mistakes, he learns to believe in him and trusts that Miles will find his own way.
What is so brilliant about this movie is that it puts these broken and completely flawed characters together, forcing them to join as one in order to deal with something bigger than all of them. During that process they complete their character arcs, they learn important lessons and become better people from it, now that’s f*cking real.
This movie is not just like no other Spider-Man movie before it but also like no other movie ever made. That sounds dramatic but it’s true. From the moment it begins you know you’re in for something completely original and refreshing. The whole style of art and animation is something we have never seen on the big screen before, it took so many years to create this masterpiece and you can tell. Every single frame has someones heart and soul poured into it, go ahead and pause the movie at any point and it’s guaranteed to be a genuinely beautiful shot. In-fact, the entire film feels like it’s come straight out of a comic book, it’s just one entire comic book that has come to life, and then some. So even if you don’t care about Spider-Man, the characters or the message this movie is trying to create, that’s fine. Just sit back, watch the movie and appreciate it’s colours, the action sequences and the overall design and you’re guaranteed to fall in love with every single shot.
Having serious balls:
Into the Spider-Verse has some serious balls. The stakes are high, the consequences are real and the emotions run high. This very reason is what makes this movie stand out from the crowd, this movie deals with real serious issues. First you have a villain like Kingpin who’s introduction involves him using pure anger and strength to crush Spider-Man to death with his fists. Not only do we feel the emotional weight of Spider-Man dying but we also witness the impact it has on Miles who had to watch that happen and feel responsible for letting it happen in the first place. Kingpin then goes onto shoot Miles’ uncle right in front of him, leading to Miles sat helpless watching a man he’s looked up to all these years slowly die, once again feeling responsible. In fact it all turns out that Kingpin is trying to bring back his wife and child who died in a fatal car crash trying to escape from him in the first place. Oh and to top it off we have a Peter Parker dealing with real serious mental health issues and feeling genuine depression. Wow, all of that in one movie.
The raw emotional weight this movie holds can be felt by any single person who watches it. We’ve all dealt with loss, grief, guilt and mental health and this movie covers it all. If it wasn’t for the added comedy and the brilliant animation this movie would be a very tough watch. What’s key to remember is that all of this is in a Spider-Man movie, a character considered to be made for children, and it’s all necessary. This movie is in many ways very serious and covers all aspects of what it means to be Spider-Man and how it affects the actual person that’s behind the mask.
What it means to be Spider-Man:
‘Because anyone can wear the mask, anyone can be Spider-Man.’
Into The Spider Verse is so much more than just a cartoon movie with plenty of action, funny characters and a neat art style. Into The Spider Verse is a lesson on what it means to wear the mask, and the audience is learning that lesson through a handful of characters that we can all connect to in some way or another. The movie documents Miles Morales struggling to do and be what it takes to be the web-swinging hero. Because Miles didn’t become Spider-Man when he got hit by the spider, and he didn’t become Spider-Man for a long time after. Miles must learn a great deal through the course of the movie before that happens and he does. Miles must learn what makes HIM special and what makes HIM Spider-Man.
So what does it mean to be Spider-Man? The movie answers this in one simple moment in which there’s a discussion between all the Spider-Men on who must stay behind and die in order to save the rest. Each and everyone one of them says “I’ll do it” without hesitation. For me, that’s what Spider-Man is. It’s about a lot of things but it’s also about being able to make that sacrifice play, putting your own person desires away and doing what’s best for the people around you. It’s about no matter how many times you get knocked down, you always get back up.
Miles constantly get’s knocked down in this movie but above all else he always get’s back up. He watches his universes’ Peter Parker die right in-front of him and feels responsible, he’s then left alone to save the world but lacks that confidence to do so, he tries his best to not let Peter Parker die in vain but struggles to do that. He then goes on to find out his uncle who he’s always looked up to is actually a villain. Then not long after he has to watch that man die. After constant beatings and heartbreak after heartbreak is it that Miles Morales learns what it means to be the web-swinging hero and truly becomes what he was always meant to be: Spider-Man.
Now if you’re still wondering why Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man movie, well then just read this all over again.