As they did at their bigger London MCM show a couple of weeks back, Sony brought an extended preview of their new Spider-Man animated film, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, to Birmingham and, as you can imagine, it was a rather busy screening on both the Saturday and the Sunday when it was shown. But before I delve into those first 30 or more minutes, I’ll just leave this trailer here ahead of a spoiler (ish) review of this rather impressive new film. You have been warned.
Still with me? Good, then I’ll begin.
If you’ve seen the trailer, then it should come as no surprise that the opening focuses its attention very much on Miles Morales and the Ultimate Spider-Man universe. It follows the history of said universe almost to the letter but changes this universe’s Spider-Man into a crimefighter who’s been protecting New York of the past decade in which time he’s grown – and in more than one way – married and divorced Mary Jane Watson, resulting in his life becoming somewhat dishevelled, shall we say. We even get a glimpse at the Ultimate Universe’s more monstrous Green Goblin too, just to hammer home to knowing viewers exactly which continuity we are seeing here. Although, for most, the death of Peter Parker (sorry, but I did say they’d be spoilers) will come as something of a sobering shock when it occurs.
Meanwhile, Miles Morales starts at a new, prestigious school where he comes into contact with Gwen Stacy but only after he is suitably embarrassed by by his cop dad on his very first day. Nice.
This is a very zippy, fast paced opening with an array of colours, action, and the odd nod to the comics aesthetically, as well as being suitably comedic too, without coming across as too smart-assed. Plus making Morales the central Spidey in this film shows that the producers of this film knows their target audience, as well as an awareness that us older fans will jump to the chance of watching one of Spider-Man’s more recent well-loved epic storylines on the big screen. It’s also a canny way to expand the Spider-Man franchise, for Sony, beyond having to create film centred on Spidey’s rogue’s gallery as seen in the recent blockbuster Venom. Seems they’re already planning their next move on that front already, with plans for an all-female Spidey animated film coming up next, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The use of speech balloons and narrative boxes within the animation, a well as more than a hint of old-school comic book zip-a-tone, creates a multi-textures animation style that prevents it from coming across as too flat and artificial as this type of animation style can sometimes. The kicking, hip hop heavy soundtrack accompanying much of the action certainly fits the bill too. After all, Morales is a New Yorker, and he has the attitude to match. It’s only right the soundtrack is equally brash.
I was blown away by how much of a story was revealed within the first thirty or so minutes of this animated adventure – Miles’ own origin story, the establishment of central relationships, Kingpin’s machinations revealed, as well as the aforementioned death of Spider-Man – so I can’t wait to see what happens next.
By the end of this preview, we are introduced to a Spidey far more in keeping with the 616 version, but no sign of other Spider-folk though. If this is anything to go by, I can only imagine the whole film is a rather breathless affair as Kingpin attempts to harness the powers of the multiverse, regardless of the cost to the world.
Gripping, witty and a riot-fest of colours that dazzle the senses without being too garnish. A very slick, stylish film that’s a great addition to the Spider-Man franchise. Clever, Sony, very clever. It looks like Sony – with a little help from Marvel/Disney – Have finally found a winning formula for Spidey. I can’t wait to watch it on the big screen myself now. And, with no Star Wars film this holiday season, this’ll make a great substitute.