Sony Animation’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse marks the first time we see more than one Spider-Man. In the film, we get the big screen debut of Spider-Gwen and most importantly, the films main character Miles Morales. Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman and written by Phil Lord, the film follows Miles Morales’ path to becoming the Spider-Man of his universe while his counterparts from other dimensions have collided with his and need to make it back home. As they work to stop a multiverse-ending event, Miles finds out just how strong he is.
With many of our contributors seeing the film on opening weekend, we decided it was a great opportunity to have a roundtable, of sorts, to show this movie from different perspectives. We all had different expectations, levels of comic book knowledge, and left with different favorites. Below are our spoiler-filled thoughts on Into the Spider-Verse from: myself, Maia , CJ, Ash, Ian, Nikko, Swara, and Lizzy.
1. Give a one-sentence review of the movie:
Maia: Even if Spider-Man isn’t your hero, the beautiful and innovative storytelling, as well as the incredibly heartfelt (and funny!) story, will capture your heart.
CJ: A tribute to why Spider-Man is one of the greatest superheroes of all time.
Ash: An example of why Spider-Man is so amazing! (Pun intended)
Ian: Not just the best animated film of year, but it just might be the best Spider-Man film to date and a true testament to why the character is so special.
Nikko: The perfect example of how to not only incorporate multiple heroes in one film but to show the world just how spectacular Spider-Man truly is.
Kate: This movie captures the heart and soul of what it means to be Spider-Man in the dialogue, in the visuals, and in the people.
Swara: It’s an amazing superhero origin story that smartly uses the Spider-Man legacy to propel itself forward.
Lizzy: This Spider-Man movie is a love letter to the character and the comics medium.
2. What did you expect going into the movie?
Maia: I didn’t really have any expectations going in. I thought the trailer looked fun and I was mildly worried about them mishandling Miles who has had a shaky history with creators not knowing what to do with him but otherwise I was a pretty blank slate. I mostly just hoped for a fun movie and for Miles to shine.
CJ: I was equal parts excited and worried. I loved most of the cast, but I didn’t want them to overshadow Miles. Also, I was wondering what exactly the Kingpin would bring to the table.
Ash: I didn’t expect much given Sony’s track record with the previous Spider-Man films. I was concerned about how they would integrate all of the different Spider-people into the plot, without it becoming confusing for the general audience.
Ian: I really wasn’t sure what to expect at first. When the movie was first announced, and I learned of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s involvement with the film, and that the film would focus on Miles Morales, I was really excited for it. Then Sony Pictures Animation came out with The Emoji Movie sometime later and I became seriously worried for the film. Even though Sony Pictures Animation has produced films that I’ve like Open Season and the Hotel Transylvania franchise, all helmed by animation legend Genndy Tartakovsky, The Emoji Movie was just something else. But once news came out about people who worked on the film included Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch, I was reminded of Lord and Miller’s involvement and seeing the first few trailers, I was sold.
Nikko: I wasn’t really afraid of how they would handle the characters. The trailers alone assured my feelings that this would be an amazing film. But the main thing that worried me was about how they would bring in the aspect of Miles being Puerto Rican. This year has been fantastic in displaying the character’s latinidad and I was scared that it was going to be ignored. But within the first 5 minutes of the film, it showed Miles and his mom interacting with each other in Spanish.
Kate: I was a little worried for Into the Spider-Verse. Miles Morales has had his latinidad erased by fans and writers alike. But, Phil Lord was able to bring his own experience as a Cuban-American growing up in a bilingual household to the character. Miles and his mother use Spanish as you would hear in any household, he is unmistakably Afro-Latino, and no one can erase that again.
Swara: I was hoping to see Miles as the hero of this story and not have his story overridden by Peter or the other Spider-People. I am VERY happy to say this was decidedly not the case. Miles shined spectacularly as the new Spider-Man, and the other Spider-People shined amazingly as well.
Lizzy: I expected the incredible visuals but was worried Miles and the other characters would feel too rushed or overshadowed by Peter. That wasn’t the case and this was very much Miles’ story.
3. What did you think about the animation style?
Maia: I ADORED Into the Spider-Verse. Especially the transitions and how the moods were set. There’s a lot of people out there who shrug off animation as kids stuff but Spider-Verse showed just how much animation can do that live action with some CGI can’t and that photorealism isn’t everything.
CJ: It was marvelous! (Pun completely intended.) I know a lot of people say “oh this movie was a living breathing comic book.” But this movie actually WAS a living breathing comic book. Kudos to the animation team for giving each character their own unique style.
Ash: Into the Spider-Verse was gorgeous! It had a beautifully unique style, I loved the use of color and how they gave each character very specific choreography that brought the performances to the next level.
Ian: Absolutely breathtaking. It felt like a comic book came to life. I loved how all the characters were rendered in different textures. It was so unique and really helps the film stand out.
Nikko: I thought it was one of the most interesting and amazing things I’ve ever seen. The use of comic panels in some of the scenes reminded me of films like Scott Pilgrim vs the World. I’m not too familiar with animation techniques, but I thought the way it looks was innovative. However, there were certain scenes that were a bit hard to look at.
Kate: I truly haven’t seen anything like it before. The use of Ben-Day dots and transitioning from 2D to 3D was seamless and the use of blur effects, while slightly disorienting at times, was unique and added to the feeling of the show.
Swara: I loved Into the Spider-Verse. It was new, innovative, and immersive. As CJ notes, the way they incorporated a comic book aesthetic was great. The character design and movement was rapidly fluid, and kind of perfect for Spider-People.
Lizzy:Into the Spider-Verse blew me away. Having read all of these comic runs, it was amazing to see the creations on the panel literally leap onto the screen. Every character had their own style that was recognizable to comic fans like myself. They never clashed, but small details like that and the overall creative decisions completely changed the way the audience followed the movie. It created visual queues similar to how art in comics create similar queues.
4. Who was your favorite Spider-Person?
Maia: Miles 100%. There’s a lot to love about Miles, his insecurities, his cleverness, his bravado, how much he loves his family, but the thing I love the most is his determination and his goodness. He made a promise to Peter Parker and it would have been so easy to let Peter B. Parker fulfill it. But he refused to let that happen because the consequences were too high. Miles’ light shines through his every action and interaction. But okay, maybe 95% because the original universe Peter Parker and his presence alongside Miles throughout the movie really got to me as well. I think all the Spider-People are good people but Miles and original Peter and their immediate willingness to help just because they can and said that they would really set them apart. All of which makes Miles a worthy and fitting successor.
CJ: Definitely Miles. In the comics, he gets a lot of flack for being a “Peter Parker clone” (which isn’t true but that’s a rant for another time). Here he is a fully realized character. His relationship with his family, his self-doubt, his struggle to become Spider-Man-all of it is laid bare before us. And it WORKS.
Ash: I loved Miles here, but my favorite was Spider-Gwen. I loved everything about this character and I thought Haley Steinfeld did a fantastic job portraying her. If we do end up getting an All female Spider-Man team-up movie, I can’t think of anyone better to lead that team!
Ian: I’m really fighting between Miles and Peter B. Parker. The way Miles’s character was handled was fantastic. You really felt his aspirations and struggles in the film. But I also loved Peter B. Parker’s character. He’s got the best example of how much Spider-Man affects the life of Peter Parker and you really felt his struggles and aspirations as well. But I feel like Miles really steals the show throughout the entire movie, especially when it came to his character development.
Nikko: I hope I don’t get a lot of hate for this, but it has to be Peter B. Parker. This was a Spider-Man that had been fighting crime and dealing with super villains for more than 20 years. I can only imagine what sort of toll that takes on the body, mind, and spirit. He’d given up on everything, but meeting Miles caused a resurgence in his life. By the end of the film he was willing to give up his life so that the other heroes could return to their respective universes. Now THAT’s a real hero.
Kate: I know, it should be Miles, but it wasn’t. This film did him justice and he was the center of the story, but at this point in my life, Peter B. Parker having to get his fight back after losing everything and fighting away his depression was well done. It was a bit of dark humor, and his dad-bod was top-notch.
Swara: It’s definitely Miles. I loved all the Spider-People, particularly Peter and Gwen, but I related a lot to Miles in imagining how I would react if I met my childhood hero as well. Seeing him get swept up in this crazy situation while trying to act confident but not really knowing what he was doing was super relatable. His and Peter’s friendship was my favorite relationship of the film.
Lizzy: I knew I would love Spider-Gwen. She has become one of my favorite characters in comics since her origin. However, this was Miles’ movie and he blew me away. His struggle to find himself and his bravery while following in such big footsteps is commending. It is truly what it means to be Spider-Man. Without giving away spoilers, there is a moment toward the end of the movie where Miles realizes what he must do. That animation segment and the music choice of “What’s Up Danger” by Blackway & Black Caviar solidified him as the Spider-Man his world needs.
5. What was your favorite part?
Maia: I was going to say OG universe Peter dying ,but Kate articulated why it resonated too beautifully, so I’ll go with Miles spitting back: “Look at the hands not the mouth” to Peter B. Parker. I’m always a sucker for things going full circle and a protegé using their mentor’s words against them and the “that’s my boy that asshole” feeling just radiated off Peter. He knows he did good and that Miles is going to be a-ok, better than that even.
CJ: Miles first suiting up as Spider-Man. The way we follow him as he dives off the building, to see him successfully web sling for the first time, to seeing how he makes the Spider-Man costume his own, was just beautiful. “All it takes is a leap of faith.”
Ash: The Stan Lee cameo reduced me to a crying blubbering mess in the theater. I thought it was the most beautifully done out of all of his cameos.I might be looking too much into this, but in a way, it felt like he was passing the torch not only to Miles but to a whole new generation of creators playing in the sandbox he helped create.
Ian: Every origin scene. Every time I heard the words “Alright, let’s do this one last time”, I just had the biggest grin on my face. You’d figure after hearing Spider-Man’s origin story so many time over you’d just get annoyed with hearing it but in Spider-Verse, the way each one is visually represented, it never gets annoying. It just gets even cooler with each origin.
Nikko: My favorite part of Into the Spider-Verse correlates with why Peter B. Parker is one of my favorite versions of Spider-Man from the film. It’s during the final battle before he returns to his own universe. Miles tricks him into letting his guard down so he can force Peter to go through the portal. Peter says “What if I screw it up again?” and Miles says “You won’t.” Peter realized that he’d grown so much in such a short time and would do everything he could to place his life back into order. This was indeed Mile’s story, but this left me wanting a film that explored this version of Peter’s life after what happened in this film.
Kate: Miles’ Peter Parker dying. It was an emotional scene, that hit me hard. The optimism and unrelenting get-back-up-spirit of Peter was there until the very end. It was beautifully done, and it was mirrored beautifully in the ending when Miles is close to meeting Peter’s fate. But getting back up, that makes Spider-Man, and the movie shows that perfectly.
Swara: My favorite part of Into the Spider-Verse was the final showdown with Kingpin. It was an appropriate culmination of the entire film, and firmly set Miles as the story. Watching him send Peter home in particular and encourage him to find happiness with Mary Jane again was incredibly heartening. In his showdown with Kingpin it was great to see him applying lessons he had learned through the entire film to achieve victory, including his lesson from Uncle Aaron. While admittedly this was basically another world-ending final showdown, a tiresome trope, it was used effectively to be spectacular.
Lizzy: My favorite moment was Miles putting on his own suit for the first time. I don’t think people give this soundtrack enough credit. The music elevated this scene and created that superhero moment everyone is waiting for but added a modern twist.
6. That post-credit scene tho! Just for the meme or for the franchise?
Maia: I don’t know the character but it seems like it’d be incredibly cruel and shortsighted to tease a character that people clearly love just for a meme. Respecting your audience is important.
CJ: Can’t it be both? Apart from the brilliant reference to the memes, I LOVE that Miguel made an appearance – and that Oscar freaking Issac gets to voice him. If my suspicions are correct, a certain Spider-Man villain might make his debut in the sequel.
Ash: I sincerely hope that it isn’t just a one-off. Miguel is a wonderful character who means so much to people and he deserves a movie of his own.
Ian: You know, we really should be begging Insomniac to put the 1967 animated series costume in their game, right? Jokes aside, I thought it was absolutely hysterical. I loved that the meme was incorporated into the movie. I was also filled with excitement when we saw Spider-Man 2099 on-screen. I really wished he played a part in the whole film. That would’ve been amazing. I really hope this means we’re getting we could possibly get a Spider-Man 2099 film or him playing a large role in a potential sequel. I’d be pissed if that was just for the meme.
Nikko: As a fan of incorporating the right meme at the right time, I’d be pretty upset if this was just a part of the meme. The character of Gwen Stacy is getting her own solo film, which would be a spinoff of this film. It would be amazing if Miguel O’Hara got his own film. Oscar Isaac is a tremendously talented actor, and having him join the Spider-Verse would be amazing.
Kate: If this was just for the meme I will cry. I may be a little hyperbolic but Miguel O’Hara has a special place in my heart and more importantly the Spider-Verse. As one of the few who can willingly jump through universes, he is the perfect bridge to connect to new stories in a franchise. Not to mention a Latino got to write a screenplay for a superhero movie with two Latino Spider-Men in it.
Swara: It had better not be just for the meme, as funny as it was. As Kate says, Miguel can jump into different universes and easily act as a facilitator for more Spider-Verse stories. Plus we can always use more Oscar Isaac.
Lizzy: Spider-Gwen in her comic eventually gets a watch to travel the multi-verse so seeing Miguel pioneer his has me excited to not only to see him, but also for the upcoming all women Spider-Verse spin-off rumored to feature Spider-Woman aka Jessica Drew and Silk aka Cindy Moon.
Now that you’ve heard what our contributors had to say, join the conversation! Leave a comment or tweet at us, @ButWhyThoPC.