Swinging Into A New Age of Animation

Niamh Brook - Writer

Spiderman into the Spider-Verse is unlike any animation I have seen before but I almost missed my opportunity to see it on the big screen. When asking my friends if they would see it with me they would all respond the same “isn’t it a kid’s film?” And to be honest. Yes. It is a kids film. But it is so much more than that.

The film tells the story of Miles Morales. An African, Hispanic teen living in Brooklyn with his mum and dad. After an evening spray painting with his uncle, he is bitten by a radioactive spider and (you guessed it) receives spider powers. As the story progresses he and the spider people from different parallel universes join together to stop a particle accelerator from ending everything. The film deals with themes of self -acceptance, family and responsibility and wonderfully puts across these themes with great heart and humour.

However, it is not just the beautiful storytelling that makes Spiderman into the spider verse so unique, it’s the gorgeous art style that is reflected in every frame. The creative team have stated that it was their goal to make the film look as if it were a moving comic book. Every scene is rich with colour and bold artistic choices. It is visually superb. Some shots I found, literally took my breath away and found myself, mouth open, gazing at the shots on the screen (I know, cliché, I but I promise you, it’s true) The striking visuals within the film really helped to evoke more from the viewer than any other animation I have seen before. A scene I feel I shall keep going back to is Miles’ ‘leap of faith’. Paired with a song from the films stellar soundtrack, we are shown Miles literally rising as he falls to the city below before he begins to swing. The stunning blend of music and animation results in a piece unlike any other.

Perhaps the best example of this the response from my friend who I dragged along to the cinema to see this with me. She sat stunned after the film, turned to me and explained she wanted to straight away watch it again. She would not stop discussing the art style and how beautiful the film was. As a huge advocate of animation and how beautiful and ‘grown up’ it can be, my friends statement was a major step in the right direction.

Photo Credit - https://www.needpix.com/photo/939953/spiderman-hero-spider-superhero-comic-city-design-super-symbol

What perhaps makes the film so intriguing, is its protagonist Miles. For nearly 20 years, cinema goers have become accustomed to the idea of Spiderman. Nerdy Peter Parker gains powers from a spider bite and uses his great power with great responsibility. This film is very aware of this, and even mocks it throughout the film. Miles, is a fresh take on Spiderman. Allowing accessibility to the character to those who did not necessarily relate to the Peter Parker character. In his academy award acceptance speech, one of the films producer’s states that a child states that the main character “looks like me” and encapsulates a discussion of representation in the media. By having an African- Hispanic teen at the core of this film it allows for wider diversity in not only the superhero genre but additionally, animation. Young children all over the globe now have a new role model to look up to. A normal teenager, who struggles with his homework, comes from a modest background and has to deal with the responsibility he is given. The beauty of this film, is the simplicity and relatability of its protagonist.

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse has opened up a discussion of what animation can and should be. Should animation simply be left at the kids table at a cinematic wedding? Spider verse brings us into a new age of animation, one that is artistically driven and diverse. Some might disagree with me arguing that disney and pixar (especially) have been creating films like this for years. The truth is they haven't. They each follow a formula for a commercial success and we have reached an age where they are all beginning to feel a bit repetitive .Toy Story 4 being a key example of such repetition. Into the Spiderverse is an artistic breath of fresh air and hopefully will allow for subsequent films to follow in its footsteps.

Overall, Spiderman: Into the SpiderVerse is not only visual wonder but also tells a spectacular story with care and integrity. Not once do you feel a cheap joke is told in order to reel in kids. Even with the inclusion of Spider Ham (a character I was somewhat sceptical of), the film maintains a level of maturity I simply was not expecting. Spiderman: Into the SpiderVerse is an excellent film and I implore any reader who has not seen the film yet, even if you are not a fan of superheroes or animation, because I promise you, it will surprise you.


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