First things first. Where did this film come from? All of a sudden, there it was. My spidey sense did not tingle, I was basically caught fully unawares. Although, as far as surprises go, this was quite a welcome one. When this came out some people questioned whether we needed yet another Spider-Man movie. However this was quickly put to bed as many have since said that this is quite possibly the best iteration of of the character so far. In your face live action movies, animation has beaten you to it!
The setup goes: young teen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) gets bitten by a trippy psy-trance spider and then stumbles on the actual Spider-Man (Chris Pine) in the middle of a fight with a bunch of bad guys, led by Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin (Liev Schriber).
Fisk has a plan to create a rip between dimensions so can bring back his lost loved ones. However, his first attempt doesn’t go to plan, Spider-Man stops him, albeit temporarily. What does occur, though, is the momentary dimensional rip causes a number of alternate reality Spider-heroes to be sucked into the same dimension as Miles. And with the Spider-Man of Miles’ dimension unable to continue the fight, it’s left to Miles to take up the mantle.
With great power and all that…
Now this film was written by Phil Lord of Lord and Miller, the guys behind The LEGO Movie and 21 Jump Street. So in terms of bucking convention and getting a bit trippy, they’ve got you covered. Well, Phil Lord does. I am sure Miller was busy elsewhere.
Generally speaking, this film delivers way beyond expectation. In that there was no expectation. And so, no pressure. Often the best films turn up that way, completely out the blue. The sheer invention, wit and detail on display here was a joy to experience. The film takes real risks and pushes the formula of what a superhero movie should be in a way that live action just cannot match.
I’ve read that the filmmakers wanted you to feel as if you were within a comicbook and they’ve really achieved that – we get dialogue boxes popping up when characters are thinking certain things, as well as little visual flourishs that nod to their emotions, plus split panels across the screen that chop up the action.
And it’s all done so lovingly.
From a storytelling, character, and cinematic point of view it hits the mark on all levels.
Add to that it’s also very funny.
Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Miles Morales. The question next though will be, can Phil Lord and co pull off that difficult second album?