Weekender Bahrain, Monday, May 20 2019

A Universe of Awesome

admin 22-Dec-2018

A Universe of Awesome

A review of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by Ahmed Zayani 

Has there have been a superhero with a more turbulent live action career then Spider-Man? While most people are familiar with Spidey’s cinematic forays, his live action endeavours proceed that by some time. Following the success of the 1967 cartoon, our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man has his first live action foray in the form of a TV show in the seventies that left much to be desired. After Tim Burton’s Batman Films were met with critical and commercial success, studios began considering bringing our favourite web slinger to the big screen, with things developing far enough to hire James Cameron as director and casting Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doc Ock but alas it was not meant to be and the Spider-Man reign ended until in 2002 when Sam Raimi kick started his trilogy with Toby Macguire in the titular role. Despite the series being a smashing success, with the third grossing nearly a billion dollars worldwide, Sony opted to fast track a reboot to the series, thus killing off Raimi’s forth entry. What followed were two films by Marc Webb which underwhelmed, with the second being such a disappointment that it killed off the series and combined with other factors troubling Sony resulting in Disney gaining certain rights back, hence Spidey’s appearance amongst The Avengers line up was affirmed. Even with that, Sony hasn’t stopped considering lame brained ideas, including creating their own Spider-Man universe that wouldn’t feature Spider-Man in it as well as an Aunt Mae original story. While the future looks bright with Marvel now at the helm of the character, one can’t stop to think if Sony’s involvement can be a detriment to the character.

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, & Rodney Rothman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the seventh theatrically released Spider-Man film (not counting Venom) and the first to feature our arachnid friend in an animated form. The film follows Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) who must not only come to grasp with his new reality as his universe’s Spider-Man but must also team together with other Spider beings from alternate dimensions to stop the nefarious Kingpin (voiced by Liev Schreiber) from destroying reality as we know it. From the get go, this new film had built up a lot of hype; the original teaser trailer looking gorgeous with a different animation style then what we’ve become accustomed to with big budget animated features while the involvement of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the duo behind the Lego Movie and the Jump Street duology) had piqued my interest. After catching a late night screening I can safely say that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse lives up to the hype and then some. By far, the strongest element of the film was the story. With the plot relying heavily on crossing different universes together, it could’ve been easy to have this get convoluted real quick. Instead, the film came off as accessible and coherent. More so then that, I found the narrative to be quite funny and packing a ton of heart to boot. I wouldn’t consider Spider-Verse to be a schmaltzy film but it is one that is an endearing joy to watch. The voice cast were also top notch and given the number of characters in the line up I was happy to see everyone get their dues. My favourite amongst the bunch had to be Jake Johnson as the Peter Parker we all know & love (who may or may not be the same Peter from Raimi’s trilogy. I choose to believe that he is) as well as John Mulaney as Spider-Ham and the man, the myth, the absolute legend Nicholas Cage who channels he spirit of Humphrey Bogart in a show stealing performance as Spider-Man Noir. The film also has a very stylistic approach with it being able to blend computer generated animation seamlessly with two dimensional aspects that pay homage to the character’s comic book origins. Furthermore, the film had arguably the best post credit sequence in some time and is totally worth the extra five minutes.

Were there any issues with the film? Well if I have to nitpick I would say that some of the villains presented were a bit underwhelming & the whole affair would’ve benefited from either properly realizing there characters or adding a couple more prolific names from Spidey’s rogue gallery. Also, I will probably be in the minority here but for the most part the soundtrack did nothing for me. That said, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was an absolute home run for Sony who have been throwing foul balls for the longest time. Between this and Venom, they finally seem to be getting their act sorted out and I for one cannot wait to see what comes next.

Verdict: 9/10 

For more cinematic intel, follow Ahmed on @theahmedzayani 

The Five: Favorite Animated Superhero Films
  • Big Hero 6
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
  • TMNT
  • The Incredibles
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies