Let's get this out of the way first thing: I'm not really a Spider-Man fan.
I don't dislike him, either. Overall I'm pretty "eh" about the friendly neighborhood dancing kid in the onesie.
Cut to last week, when two of my closest friends spent a solid 30 MINUTES raving to me about this new movie I'd never heard of, Into The Spider-Verse. I was... intrigued. So yesterday John & I went to see it with some other friends and their kids.
To demonstrate John's level of excitement for this film, allow me to present his FB update, written IN the theater just before the movie started:
Exactly two hours and 15 minutes later, John added this amendment:
Now, somehow neither of us saw a single trailer or image from the movie beforehand, so John and I went in with zero expectations - and I think that made it even better? So if you're as clueless as we were, and want to be completely surprised by an amazing movie, then close this tab and go see Into the Spider-Verse right now, before the rest of the 'net catches up and spoils it all for you. I can already see the groundswell starting, so I predict this is going to be the movie everyone's talking about for the new year. I mean, just look at the Rotten Tomatoes rating!
If you're Ok with knowing a few things, though, and/or have already seen the trailer, then let me break down 5 of the things I loved most about Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse.
1. Characters You Instantly Fall In Love With
Miles Morales is the Peter Parker I've always wanted - I just never knew it. I loved Miles from the second he appears on screen, crooning away with his headphones on. He's not the wimpy shy guy you might expect; he's confident and charming and just the right amount of awkward. You really feel for him as he navigates a new school, and the embarrassment of having a loving-but-strict cop father. (I won't spoil it, but THAT scene with his dad was John's favorite, ha.)
Beyond Miles, though, it's fun and refreshing to see an out-of-shape, older Peter Parker, strong parents (plural!), and a whole cast of side characters that grab you from the beginning. The subplot with Miles' uncle was especially good, and left me wanting more.
2. An Animation Style That Will Make Your Spidey Senses Tingle
I'll admit, I was worried at first. The opening credits blast you with a frenetic flickering that promises full sensory overload - or at least a headache. That calms down once the story starts, though, and ends up being a blend of Pixar-level 3D, Borderlands-style cell-shading, and classic comic book dot colors, word bubbles like "POW!," and typed-out thoughts. If that sounds insane, IT IS, but in the best possible way. I haven't seen something this different since Toy Story, and it's exciting!
One thing I didn't like: there's such a heavy use of blur and double-vision overlays that you sometimes feel like you're watching a 3D movie without the 3D glasses on:
It's not like that all the time, though, and I only found it super distracting a few times.
3. Just The Right Balance Of Dark & Light
I laughed so much in this movie, but the laughs are balanced by heartache, family conflict, and multiple deaths. You find out early on that heroes are fallible, and those moments of sadness really help ground a story that might otherwise get too silly.
4. ... But It Doesn't Take Itself TOO Seriously
Spider-Verse never breaks the 4th wall, but it totally reaches Deadpool levels of hilarity - just on a PG level. I mean, it's hard NOT to be funny when you end up with this Spider team by the end:
(John Mulaney voices "Peter Porker" and Nic Cage is "Spider-Man Noir." 'NUFF SAID.)
5. Not Only Does It HAVE A Message, It's One That Will Make You Want To Stand Up And Cheer
Anyone can be a superhero, and Spider-Verse won't let you forget that. I left the theater with a full heart and zero eyeliner, 'cuz I cried it all off by the end. I'm a sucker for big triumphant hero moments, and man, this movie delivers.
Oh! That reminds me!
Bonus #6: THE SOUNDTRACK.
The music in Spider-Verse is fantastic: nothing I'd ever listen to on my own, and yet I found myself bopping along in my seat more than once. I'm actually off to look up the soundtrack now, because I've gotta hear this again!
I should mention we saw this with 3 kids ages 5-9, a girl and two boys, and they all loved it. There are two jump-scares that spooked the younger two, but that's it. Everything else seems safe!
I'll end with the trailer, just in case you're still not convinced. I think it gives away too much (I just watched it now for the first time), but at least MY favorite parts aren't in there, so you'll still have plenty of surprises in the theater:
I hope you guys are having a relaxing weekend! John and I are looking forward to doing absolutely nothing for New Year's, a much-cherished tradition over here. :D Instead I'll be making lists of projects I'd like to try in 2019 and counting my blessings - starting with the one where I watch movies in the theater now, no earplugs, no meds, no anxiety, no biggie. I've had a rough week of physical pain over here - nothing new, just some gut setbacks that won't let me sleep - so remembering where I *used* to be helps. That, and editing photos on my phone at 4AM, as I'm sure you IG followers have noticed. :D
Talk to you guys next year!