Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ★★★★★

This movie was my Anton Ego moment for film this year. By this, I mean that it resonated with me in such a profound way that it rocked me to my core and made me reconsider why the art that I love means to much to me. In the case of Into the Spider-Verse, I had to reconcile my love for both film and comic books in the same experience, a feeling which left me shaken through much of the duration. Whilst I've loved many films this year, this was the first which I could feel myself actively falling in love with throughout the entire duration.

The first thing that I recognize about my own cinematic tastes is that I love films which make bold creative choices, either in their narrative storytelling, their visual effects, or the thematic ideas which they seek to put forward. In the case of Spider-Verse, all three of these criteria are smashed to an amazing degree. The story of Spider-Man has been told so many times, and Spider-Verse uses this to inform the way in which the narrative unfolds. The narrative recognizes that there are consistent and recognisable patterns around the origins of the hero, and uses this to add a megaton of emotional heft to the story of Miles Morales.

So much has been said about the animation style already, but I have to take a moment to talk about why it struck me the way that it did. Beyond this being the clearest example of a passion project from every animator involved, I genuinely believe this film to be an apex of all styles of animation that have come before. 3D and 2D/hand-drawn animation are combined and utilised in ways which create something that looks both backward and forwards in regard to the way that stories can be told through this medium. This is then combined with comic book visual storytelling techniques - onomatopoeia, splash pages, exaggerated colours - which elevates the film into total deity-status.

Whilst the storytelling and the sublime visual effects made the film great in it's own right, the moments which really shook me were the themes which are communicated. Superhero stories have, for the most part, always told a narrative that is universally recognised, but always focused on an individual's journey as they receive power and reckon with what that power signifies. What Spider-Verse does which makes it the greatest superhero film told thus far (in my opinion), is its exploration of the ways in which the superhero mythology materializes for people of various backgrounds. In addition to this, the film is also a firm and CONCLUSIVE affirmation that the potential to do good lies with everybody. Whilst the story is from the very personal (and superb) perspective of Miles Morales, the finale is clear that our experiences and our drives are intrinsically linked to one another. It's seriously profound storytelling.

Whilst I could continue to gush about every miniscule moment of the film -- I haven't even addressed the PERFECT voice performances! -- I think it's pretty clear that I have a massive crush on this movie. It's revitalised my love for multiple mediums in ways I didn't realise I needed. I think it really means something that it's been five days since I've watched the film and I'm dying to watch it again and again.

"Get up, Spider-Man!"

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