The first feature-length Spiderman film in Hollywood history finally debuted in December and fans and critics everywhere immediately dubbed it the best superhero movie of 2018.
The movie veered away from previous incarnations of the Marvel property by throwing Peter Parker, the Spiderman everyone knows and loves, aside in favor of highlighting the heroic antics of Miles Morales, an African-American version of the character.
Like Parker, Miles was bitten by a radioactive spider that gave him special abilities. Into the Spiderverse finds him in the earliest stages of his career, and it follows the young hero as he comes to terms with his abilities and attempts to prevent a global disaster.
This movie works at a number of levels. Miles Morales is actually a great character and the writers do a great job of distinguishing him from Peter Parker. The character’s personal life is endearing and so are the bonds he creates with the other Spider persons that eventually invade his world.
There is no denying the fact that Sony gave us fans a great animated movie in 2018. However, I have found that Into the Spiderverse gets far more praise than it deserves; so much so that some of its more egregious issues go unnoticed.
First of all, the cast in this movie is too large. The idea of having Miles interact with half a dozen other spider people from different universes seems amazing on paper, but the execution of it all fell flat.
While Miles and one other character are given plenty of development, we don’t spend nearly enough time with the other spider people, so much so that all the emotional scenes that the movie tries to sell at the end when the entire group comes together, feel hollow.
The same problem arises with Kingpin, a villain whose motives make some sense but whose strengths and abilities are a little too ambiguous for my liking. The idea that he would have the power to tangle with one Spiderman, let alone five, makes no sense, and the movie does not bother to explain it.
Those aspects alone should not have tainted my experience with this movie. But then Into the Spiderverse went a step further and delivered some of the messiest action scenes I have ever seen in animation.
Whoever choreographed the fights did not do nearly as good a job as they presumed. And I won’t even go into how unearned Miles’ final victory felt. Let’s just say that, in the final minutes of the final fight, it felt like I was watching Fairy Tail (anime).
Into the Spiderverse is not a bad movie; I would go so far as to call it good. But the hype surrounding how good it is has been exaggerated.