Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2023)

Ambitious, luminous, capable of capturing the eye, mind and nerves, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse seems to be the opposite of the logic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, of which even the animated Spider-Verse is now a part. edge However, the theoretical scope of this continuation ends up colliding with a “softer” but nonetheless present version of the same formally rejected logic.

multiverse of multiverses

In recent years, we have become widely familiar with the concept of the multiverse. A handful of titles, between the big and small screens (topped by a flood of Oscars bestowed on All Everywhere All at once) was enough for us to get to know – and almost get to know – a concept that was previously the preserve of a small group of (mostly) comic book fans. This is a premise, simple but not obvious, in order to correctly approach and evaluate this expectation. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. A presupposition that serves to explain what subsequently Spiderman: No Way Homeseries Lokithe aforementioned Daniels movie and the recently launched DC multiverse, this sequel may not necessarily have the same devastating impact as the previous one. Spiderman: Into a New Universe. However, in the absence of that same innovative charge – at least as far as the mainstream of the comic book movie is concerned – a new film from directors Joaquim dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson (but behind it, first of all, again – a pair composed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller) is offset by the exponential multiplication of universes, spider-men, knots, junctions, and possibilities. Spread is well explained – with a particularly apt idea – by the metaphor of the web, explicitly expressed in one of the most significant scenes. Distribution, which, however, is not at all anarchic, but must also obey clear rules. And it is precisely this reflection on the rules of storytelling that, as we shall see, is one of the most interesting themes of this sequel.

The Spot and the Spider-Men

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Exciting Sequence
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a breathtaking clip from the movie.

Plot Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opens one year after the closure of its predecessor: Miles MoralesFifteen-year-old Spider-Man, who fought to prevent the destruction of the multiverse, suddenly faces a new enemy: Spot, a faceless man with a disappearing body who seems to have retained the ability to travel between one universe and another. The being, possibly a side effect of the destruction of the particle accelerator (the one that allowed the interdimensional transition), has a plan that once again threatens the integrity of the multiverse: simply fight it, Gwen Stacy returns again to find Miles, with an offer to join the new team of Spider-Men created by Spider-Man of 2099, Miguel O’Hara. But Miles herself and Gwen will soon have to realize that the Spot isn’t the only threat, and that their enemies also lurk within the Spider Society itself.

Multiverse industry

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Suggestive Sequence
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, an evocative movie scene.

As said at the beginning, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse it has neither the immediate impact nor the sense of novelty and freshness that characterized its predecessor. A limit (largely unavoidable) that the filmmakers make up for with an even more elaborate and immersive visual construction that mixes 2D, 3D animation, comics, black and white, psychedelic and pastel colors more freely than the first film. universes of live action; it all makes a deafening whole, but in large areas it is mesmerizing and capable of filling the eyes and other senses. But above all, the (un)controlled spread of universes and storylines ensures that the film takes on a theoretical (and self-reflective) value that its predecessor was unaware of: in some passages, the characters almost explicitly state that they are part of an artistic creation, and the main the dialectic of the story is seen as a dialectic between creative freedom – essentially anarchic, embodied in this case spider punk an alternate London—and a “canon” that combines all characters, alter egos, and possible universes into a formula designed to be repeated with minimal variation. Thus, this sequel looks at the metacinema, not explicitly adhering to it, but remaining indirectly permeated by it; it speaks directly about the algorithm and the need to adapt to it, about the multiverse-industry, which, in order to remain compact, must follow a parallel path and not deviate from the established model, sacrificing – albeit literally – individuals and characters.

(Im)possible freedom

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Miles Morales is concerned in one of the scenes
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Troubled Miles Morales in a movie scene

In this sense, therefore, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse it is in direct contrast to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (of which it is also, in a sense, a rib) and, more generally, media franchises, which by now are sacrificing the value of a single story in favor of an increasingly larger and standardized story. entities; in a multiverse as apparently free as it is in fact multi-directional, which seems to have to forcibly smooth out differences to survive, each character seems to express an urge to break out of canon, a quest to tell a story her story. A process that Miles himself unintentionally set in motion in the previous film, but which he himself accepts here with full awareness. A realization of the latter that permeates the entire film and which, nevertheless, eventually collides with an even higher and (perhaps) invincible logic: this Spider-Verse has by now become a brand in itself, a franchise, parts of which are hard to judge if you want to treat them as works in themselves. A reference to the already announced sequel – lo Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse scheduled for 2024 is more than just a hype device: it is codependency that permeates the entire film, while its predecessor, on the contrary, lived a compact and self-contained narrative.

Incompletion and waiting

Spider-Man: Through the universes three main characters in the pouring rain at the same time
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the three main characters are in the pouring rain at the time of the film.

We proceeded from the considerations just made, primarily in relation to ambitious, conceptually and visually powerful work, such as Spiderman: through spider verse, the shortcomings of the narrative, as a standalone film, are lacking: above all, the overly sharp break in tone between the first and second parts of the story, between the aggressively embodied humor of the villain (?) Macchia and the serious and almost dark second faction; and then the drastic downgrading of Macchia herself in favor of the appearance of an internal plot of the Society of Spiders, which gradually gains weight and coherence. To pardon the reckless juxtaposition, the least successful episode of Sam Raimi’s first trilogy comes to mind: Spiderman 3 for which the director himself spoke very honestly with self-criticism and which found its most macroscopic shortcoming precisely in the inability to control secondary plots and enemies. Here, let’s say, for the avoidance of doubt, theoretical consistency is one thing, ambition is another, general success is another. But, nevertheless, one cannot get rid of that feeling of absent-mindedness and incompleteness that leaves a slight bitter aftertaste in a very exciting vision in many ways, which, perhaps, only the film of 2024 could reduce. Continuation, which, obviously, has already begun to wait even on our part.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Italian poster


Original name: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Director: Kemp Powers, Joaquim dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson
Country/year: USA / 2023
Duration: 140′
Type: Adventure, Animation, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Action
Throw: Oscar Isaac, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Hailee Steinfeld, Shea Whigham, Karan Soni, Andy Samberg, Jason Schwartzman, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae, Jorma Taccone, Shameik Moore, Luna Lauren Velez, Rachel Dratch
Screenplay: Christopher Miller, Dave Callaham, Phil Lord
Assembly: Mike Andrews
Music: Daniel Pemberton
Director: Avi Arad, Phil Lord, Amy Pascal, Christopher Miller, Alonso Ruvalcaba, Christina Steinberg
Production house: Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Sony Pictures Animation, Pascal Pictures, Lord Miller, Marvel Entertainment, Arad Productions
Distribution: Warner Bros.

Release date: 01/06/2023


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Journalist and film critic. I am or have collaborated with various web and print publications including (in chronological order) L’Acchiappafilm, Movieplayer.it and Quinlan.it. Since 2018, I have been a consultant for the Stelle Diverse and Aspie Saturday Film psychoeducational reviews organized by the CuoreMenteLab center in Rome. In 2019, I founded the website Asbury Movies, of which I am the Editor and Managing Director.

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