Saturday, December 8, 2018

Alternative Movie Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Longtime readers of this blog will no doubt have forgotten I've breached the boundaries of our dimension in the past to travel to other worlds to watch movies that, sadly, could never exist in our own. In general, I've given up this practice due to the dangers involved (accidentally visiting a world where Brett Ratner directed Episode VII is enough to make one rethink the value of venturing beyond the fields we know).

But I'd burned through the new She-Ra series, caught up on The Good Place, and - frankly - grown tired of the weather, so I decided to drag the old Cosmic Treadmill out of the closet and take it for a spin. And doing so brought me to a world like our own in many ways yet... decidedly different. There, I came across a movie (released theatrically, no less) that was strange, fascinating, and wonderful; a film that seemed a manifestation of contradictions: it was animated but not dumbed-down, action-packed but character-driven, fun but still emotionally powerful. And, strangest of all, a universally acclaimed superhero movie... made by SONY.

I know, I know - what I'm describing seems impossible, but remember that in a multiverse, there are no limits to what can exist.

This movie was called "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," and it delved into the lore and history of Marvel comics to a degree far beyond what would be conceivable from Hollywood productions in our own universe. From the opening credits, it embraced its origins, referencing its past and the mediums it sprung from to a degree that put our Earth's Deadpool to shame. It elicited humor from crossing styles and ideas without sacrificing gravitas. It injected comic sensibilities into its style in ways unthinkable to audiences of Earth-Prime.

This looked and felt like no animated movie I've ever seen.

Can you imagine a movie studio in our world being willing to put Spider-Ham on the big-screen in a film that wasn't a parody? It boggles the mind.

More than that, the film utilized (coincidentally enough) multiversal travel, and,within the context of a cartoon, the filmmakers trusted their audience to keep up. Perhaps it was the meticulously structured script that made this possible, or maybe the people of the world I saw this on were simply better educated than those on our Earth - either way, the crowd followed along and seemed to love it.

If ever there was the platonic ideal of a fantastic movie that could never be made in our reality, this was it. That thought stayed with me as I left the theater, recovered my Cosmic Treadmill, and returned to this world.

And all I can do is tell you how sorry I am that our dimension's film studios are so limited in their capacity for imagination. Because if anything like this ever came out here, I'd like to think it could change everything. It could demonstrate movies don't have to all look and feel the same way, that the range of styles available to storytellers is as wide as the multiverse.

It's a beautiful idea and it was a lovely film. I wish all of you could have seen it with me.

No comments: