Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ★★★

I really, really wanted to give this film extra credit for basically being the only mainstream animated movie released in the last ten years not produced by Laika or directed by Wes Anderson to have an actual identity of its own but, man, did Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ever take a lot of very creative elements and thoroughly waste them on a story with absolutely no character. Miles Morales is never anything other than a bumbling, disillusioned child who has to be counseled by an equally tired, washed-up and unorthodox but otherwise well-meaning mentor figure who regularly learns inverse morals from the response of his pupil in the form of Peter Parker. Miles' relation with his father is the same oversimplified adolescent/parent conflict reduced to single polar topic regarding the validity of the Spider-Man figures and Miles' mother may as well not exist for as much as the movie cares about her, but the remainder of the Spider-People fare even worse. Gwen Stacy is a vapid romantic interest, and the other three are nothing but comic relief. The villains have next to establishment, depth, or payoff, clearly at the expense of there being so many heroes, which would be fine if the heroes had been three-dimensional enough to compensate, but they just kind of weren't, which made it really weird when the film expected me to take anything that they were doing seriously. The film sold itself on the variety of potential superhero-action dynamics displayed by the various Spider-People, but half of them were boring, nondescript archetypes, and the other half existed for the sake of visual gimmicks, and even those, despite the film's built-in excuse to have as many as six different art styles at any given moment, even that was inconsistent. Nothing was wrong with the composition of any of the given aesthetics, but none of the unique stylistic quirks inherent to each character's general tone was used with enough regularity that it could become an environmental factor that the audience could rely upon to be indicative of the characters' respective personalities in some way, because none of them had any personality to speak of. Matters of consistency (Miles introduces an incredibly valid point about the advantageous qualities he possesses as belonging to the film's native "dimesion", whereupon all the other Spider-People begin incessantly bullying him for his relative inexperience despite his measurable contribution thus far) and accompaniment aside (it wouldn't be a Sony product if they didn't interrupt the film at regular intervals to sell me terrible pop music), the film is consistently visually interesting, but never made use of its visuals in any unique and compelling way.

(Mid) 6 / 10 - Decent

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