1. Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse
You know, there’s been a funny pattern with my No 1’s in the last three years. Not just that they’re all animated movies, which they are, or they all have unique offbeat animation, which they do. No, the funny thing is that when they initially placed on my end-of-year list, none of them were actually in the No 1 spot. Oh, they were all definitely in the Top 10, but for much of the year it always looked like the No 2 movie was going to be the ultimate winner, be it ‘A Monster Calls’, ‘Get Out’ or, in this case, Infinity War. But, for all three times, as time went by and I had more to digest and rewatch the films in question, the more I realised just how much I fucking loved them.
And yeah, that’s Spiderverse to a tee. I saw it opening night, obviously, loved it and reviewed it, but at the time I only ranked it about 9th or 10th on my list. But when I went to see it a second time, that’s when a feeling started to grow in me. And when I went to see it for Screening #3 and #4, that feeling only grew more and more, as did my appreciation for the film. And what was that feeling you may ask? It’s simple.
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse may well be one of the most well-constructed stories I’ve seen in a long time.
Seriously, I stated in my original review that I was pleasantly surprised that, in spite of the advertising playing up the whole alt-dimension angle, that ultimately the story was in fact Miles’s and that it followed his journey and character arc into becoming Spiderman. But it wasn’t until I saw it a second that I realised how well almost every single detail was constructed to perfectly reflect and support that journey and arc. And I mean every single detail. Every line, every visual cue and theme, even the music, all worked to support this story and message and it all came together perfectly for what was arguably the strongest payoff in any movie I saw this year.
And the most incredible thing is just how well it holds up. I’m not normally one to see a movie multiple times in the theatre unless it’s very good and even then 4 is usually my limit, before everything starts to feel a little too familiar. I’ve already seen Into the Spiderverse 4 times and yet every single time it still works for me just as well as if I’d seen the first. I still get chills at certain scenes. I still laugh at certain jokes. And each and every time I watch it I still find more and more details to appreciate about it.
Honestly, it’s easy to dismiss a lot of this movie’s popularity on Spider-Man’s ubiquitousness as an icon. I’m certain almost all of us had at least some level of exposure to him growing up that we remember fondly. For me, personally, it was the 90’s animated show, but I’m sure other felt the same way about the Raimi movies, the comics the more recent cartoons, possibly the 60’s show for the real oldies among us or the Tokusetsu show with the giant robot for the hipster weirdos and/or Japanese viewers. And even if you didn’t necessarily grow up with those, I’m sure you at least knew of them. Spiderman has been around for a really long time and has had a lot of different iterations over the years, both good and bad.
But when I watched this movie, I wasn’t thinking about the 90’s animated series. Neither was I thinking about the live-action movies (none of which ever really did much for me), or the comics, or the other shows, or anything else Spider-man related. I was thinking about how good this movie was on its own terms. Because, much like Miles Morales, it manages to strike that perfect balance between leaning on the past, while simultaneously forging its own path and way of doing things. And frankly, that is just something I have to applaud.
The fact of the matter is, Into the Spiderverse is freaking amazing on every single level. For a movie I initially dismissed as an attempted Sony cashgrab, I was blown away by all the passion, care and love placed into it. And for all its poppy, wild irreverent aesthetic, it’s constructed so tightly you could make a fucking clock out of it. For me this is the best Spiderman movie by far and it’s not even remotely close. In visuals, in characters, in themes, in everything it just plains works. It’s a celebration of everything that Spiderman is, was and very well could be. And it’s even more on top of that. And for that reason it’s also my Top movie of 2018.
Alright, that’s everything done now. Time to go rest for like three days. In the meantime, see ya next year.