When Dash’s mum throws away that classic line of “everyone’s special” in The Incredibles (2004), Dash comes back with a classic retort; “which is another way of saying no one is.” It may have been said over a decade ago, but it highlights that the word ‘special’ has really been through the wringer in terms of what it means. ‘Special’ has gone everywhere from describing people with above-average abilities, to sexual orientation minorities, to people with disabilities. While it’s not a major theme in the film, Dash’s retort is explored pretty funnily in Sony’s new animated kicker, Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse.
When Brooklyn teenager, Miles (Shameik Moore) is bitten by a radioactive spider, he starts going through some weird changes; like something out of a comic book. All too see he’s slinging webs and getting stuck on walls. Completely freaked out he tracks down Spider-Man in the hope of finding some help controlling his newfound powers, but his plan collapses when Spider-Man is killed by Kingpin who then opens up a weird portal that somehow pills all Spider-People from alternate realities in Miles’ own. With the help of the Amazing Spider-Man (Jake Johnson), Spider-Girl (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicholas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), and Spider-Robot, Miles sets out to conquer his fears, shut down the portal, and get everyone back home.
This movie is a perfect family one to check out these holidays. Coming from the guys who brought us The Lego Movie (2014), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse blends an unbelievable, but fun story with relatable characters and heart-warming messages about love, self-confidence, and acceptance. The story itself is pretty far-fetched, almost like a child’s playtime game (rather like the Lego Movie), but it’s that raw innocence and sincerity that makes the messages so lovely and the comedy so fresh and funny. Not to mention, the characters and their moral dilemmas more relatable.
The major standout is the animation. A delightful montage of comic book, game graphics, and old-school 3D glasses blue-red hue, the animation is unlike any other family movie that I’ve ever seen. It’s a little weird at first; jerky movements and lines and textures that sit somewhere between Disney classic and Pixar, but once you get used to it, it’s great.
It’s the complexity and fusion of genres with the animation mixed with the simplicity and predictability of the script that makes this movie so enjoyable. While you can see major plot twists coming a mile away, the sincerity with which every event and one-liner is written is so infectious and lovely that you forgive the lack of hooks, twists, and jabs. Add to this the animation that keeps you completely transfixed because you’re trying to work out what you’re seeing and the film has got you!
Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse is fresh, funny, and heart-warming. It’s a great film to take the family to these holidays.