Animated Movies, Blu-ray/DVD, Reviews, Sony Pictures Animation

[Blu-ray Review] Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was one of the biggest surprises of 2018! I don’t think anyone expected a movie like this from the studio that brought you the Emoji Movie, but somehow this film became one of the best films of the year, animated or otherwise!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is now available to own on Blu-ray and DVD, so if you have somehow missed out on this film, or you somehow don’t own it yet, (Yes, this review is quite late, it somehow ended up getting stuck in a “draft purgatory” for three months, but better late than never, right?) then let me tell you why this set is essential for Spider-Man fans.

The Film

There isn’t much I can say about the film that you probably haven’t heard yet, but let me give you a brief rundown of why I love it so much.

1. Obviously the visuals. This film is literally like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It is vibrantly colorful, strikingly bold, and every frame is like a comic work of art. You can’t see me, but if you could, I’d do one of those chef’s kisses. This film looks awesome, and I do not use that word lightly.

2. The animation. Second only to the visuals and definitely related to them, is the animation. This film is primarily CG animation, but the filmmakers have found a way to infuse a distinctly 2D, hand drawn feel into the animation. From mainly animating with 12 fps, rather than the standard 24, to literally hand drawing over some of the animation, to the fact that every character from the alternate universes is designed and animated completely differently, this film is a feast for the eyes for animation fans.

3. The story. We all know the story of Peter Parker. We love Peter Parker. I know lots of people are tired of the same story being told over and over, personally I don’t mind, I love seeing how different filmmakers put their own spins on the same material, but even with my own love for the original Spider-Man, I loved seeing a brand new character step into the role. I had no prior knowledge of Miles Morales, or his backstory, so everything about this story was fresh for me. There were so many twists and turns, and so many surprises. Like I said, I love Peter Parker, but I don’t go to a new Spider-Man film expecting to be shocked and surprised by the story, and the fact that this one was able to do that for me was the icing on an already amazing looking cake.

The Extras

Now that you’ve gotten an idea of how I feel about the film, let’s get into the extras, because if you somehow haven’t bought this set yet, this is what you really want to know about. What’s in this set, and are they worth it?

Now, the extras I’m going off of here, are the ones on the digital copy. Sometimes what’s on each disk can vary, but if you get the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set, you should have everything I’m listing here.

Alternate Universe Mode

This is probably the biggest bonus feature of the entire set. This is a brand new version of the film that has had its deleted and alternate scenes fully re-integrated back into the film! Now this is not to say that this new version is the definitive canon version of the story now, the producers have said they’ll be using some ideas from the deleted scenes in different ways in the next film, but this is still a fascinating look at what could have been an alternate universe version of the story.

Spider-Ham: Caught In a Ham

A hilarious short featuring Peter Porker, aka Spider-Ham, the Looney-Tunes-esque pig version of Spider-Man. This short feels like a cross between an episode of Spongebob Squarepants and an old Looney Tunes short, and it makes me wish it were an animated series of its own.

We Are Spider-Man

Great little featurette featuring interviews with the cast and crew, talking about what the different versions of Spider-Man mean to so many people.

Spider-Verse: A New Dimension

A featurette focusing on the art direction, style, and animation techniques used in the film to bring the world of Spider-Verse to life.

The Ultimate Comics Cast

Great documentary focusing on the cast of the film. Each major character gets a spotlight, with the crew talking about the casting process, and what each cast member brought to the film. I have always loved voice acting, so I loved this featurette. My one complaint was that they did not focus on Lily Tomlin, like at all. I know she wasn’t in the film a lot, but she has a big enough role, that I thought she deserved at least a mention. Oh well. Even without her, this was one of my favorite extras.

Designing Cinematic Comics Characters

Two mini docs focusing on the design process for the characters. Heroes & Hams, focusing on the heroes, and Scorpions and Scoundrels, focusing on the villains.

A Tribute to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko

Just what it sounds like. A great look back at the legacy of the creators of Spider-Man. A really great featurette, and a welcome addition to the extras on one of Stan Lee’s final films.

The Spider-Verse Super-Fan Easter Egg Challenge

I originally thought this was going to be a comprehensive walkthrough of everything hidden in the film, but apparently not! Phil Lord and Christopher Miller do walk us through plenty of Easter Eggs, most of which I would have never caught, but at the end they reveal that they have no idea of the number of actual Easter Eggs in the film, and they challenge fans to find them all! Apparently there are likely hundreds of them hidden all over the film!

Another, Another Times Square

Bouncing off the last featurette, this one focuses on just the Times Square sequences, looking at the many, many details hidden throughout the scenes.

How to Draw Miles Morales

Just what it sounds like.

How to Draw Spider-Gwen

Also just what it sounds like.

Meanwhile…In a Gassy Universe

Literally the worst bonus feature for any movie I’ve ever seen. This is just scenes from the movie with fart noises dubbed in. Who green-lit this garbage? Thankfully the amazing movie and the rest of the extras more than make up for this atrocious mess, and I can choose to never watch it again.

Lyric Videos

Two music videos featuring songs from the movie.

“Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee

“Familia” by Nicki Minaj & Anuel AA (feat. Bantu)

Final Thoughts

Get this film. This is one of the most amazing films I’ve seen in years, and even if you’re not a superhero fan, if you love animation, you need to see this for the visuals alone. Thankfully this has so much more going for it than visuals, but just based on aesthetic alone, this film is mind-blowing.

Purchase

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About Jonathan North

Jonathan North is writer, photographer, video editor, and animation fan from Iowa. He studied advertising and design at Iowa State University, and also has degrees in multimedia and art. His favorite movie is Fantasia, and his favorite cartoon is Gravity Falls. Or maybe Steven Universe. He can’t decide. You can find more of his work on his blog, as well as his Podcast and YouTube channel, where he reviews animation, movies, TV, or whatever else his guests feel like talking about. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @jonjnorth.