Into The Spider-verse. The Daily Johnson Movie Recommendation

As most of you probably know already I love this movie. Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse is one of the most beautifully made movies I’ve ever seen. It’s artistically inspired, with a story that is well thought out and easy to understand, its characters are fleshed out and relate-able, with an overarching theme that hits home.

I’ve never done a movie review, -I mean, this isn’t a movie review. You already know I flipping love this movie-  so I’m going to just talk about  the things that stood out to me from my perspective, and tell you why this movie is so dang good.

CHARACTERS:

A good way to tell if a movie you’re watching is any good is to think about the characters. What do the characters want? What are their goals, motivations, wants, desires? Do they have flaws that you can relate with? Is their an underlying theme or “arc” that you can see developing with that character?

One of the biggest reasons why I love this movie is because all of the central characters have easily identifiable personalities and motives:

Miles: Miles want’s to grow up. He wants to be able to please those around him (Parents, Uncle, Peter Parker)  while also maintaining who he is. This is called a character theme, or arc.

I think that’s what it’s called at least. I didn’t go to film school, gosh.

Peter Parker: Peter is tired of being Spider-Man all the time. Is unsure of what his future holds, and has regrets. His motive is that he wants to become a better person to those that are close with him, and be able to have a family without Spider-Man getting in the way.

Wilson Fisk: Fisk is the villain to the story, but rather than making him just a cut-and-paste villain like so many movies do today, he has a character that is human and tormented. He makes irrational choices because of his massive hubris and desire to be reunited with his family, no matter the cost. He is both a character to pity and to fear. Also known as a well written character in a flippin’ movie.

Pretty much every character in this movie has an identifiable arc and motive. There is significant growth for every one of them at the end of the movie; it doesn’t just end by them saving the day, it ends by them becoming genuinely better.

You may say to me “Johnson, literally every movie has character arcs” and you’d be sorta right. Every movie has some form of character development, but there’s a difference between doing it, and doing it well. This story doesn’t feel manufactured, and the writing isn’t lazy.

EXPOSITION.

That segways me nicely into my next point. Many movies I’ve seen recently have something I like to call “The Exposition Plague”. This is when a movie bogged down by what the writers feel they need to tell the audience through dialogue. Example, “John, we have to run to the biometric portal in order to jam the signal to the star destroyer so we can open the shields so the infection doesn’t spread to the rest of the migrant field workers!!”

That example probably just confused you. It confused me. Let me give you a better example: I just saw Alita Battle Angel in theaters recently. One of the things that stood out to me (besides that the movie is awful) is that there is a ton of dialogue in the movie, but the dialogue doesn’t really say anything. In storytelling, especially movies, you aren’t supposed to tell the story through dialogue. You’re supposed to tell it through the actions and events that happen to the characters. Alita spent so much time talking about characters, and villains, and why people are bad, and why there are robots, and why they have to fight, and why she has to go play this imaginary game for six months, and why why why.  But all it does is waste time. In Spider-Verse, all the dialogue does is move the story forward (like it’s actually supposed to do). They only talk about what is relevant to progressing the story and the overarching themes. It doesn’t speak down to the audience, and it doesn’t explain what is happening. It assumes you’re intelligent, and tells a story.

INSPIRED.

This is one of the most graphically inspired movies I’ve ever seen. If you’re some kind of Jabroni that doesn’t watch animated movies because they’re for kids, I don’t know what to tell you. This movie is on a whole other level in terms of storytelling through visuals. You can pause this movie at any point and it looks like a gorgeous illustration by a comic book artist.

Everything is deliberate from the angles of the shots, to the movement of the camera. It tells a story through every frame; there’s an insane amount of information thrown at you through the way that it’s animated, yet it’s still easy to understand and follow along.

Here’s a great example of storytelling through action rather than exposition: Peter Parker is depressed, but he doesn’t say that. He says he’s doing great, but it shows through the action of the character how he is lonely, eating pizza alone, saving New York every day but with a laziness that shows his heart isn’t in it. You’re given all the information you need to know about that character in less than a minute. It’s ridiculously satisfying and compelling.

You could say that because it’s an animated movie it makes it easier for the director to tell the story through action rather than dialogue and exposition. You’d be wrong. There’s so many excellent live-action movies out there that actually know how to do this right because they aren’t lazy. Baby Driver, Logan, and John Wick are good examples of this.

Conclusion: 7 out of 7 Spider-man’s

Watch this movie. And if you have Amazing Spider-Man 1 or 2 just throw them in the garbage, you Jabroni.

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