Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Ramsey, Persichetti, Rothman, 2018)

What's it about? You know the way Peter Parker is Spider-Man? Well, forget that, because here it's actually teenager Miles Morales who becomes Spider-Man. Although Peter Parker is also Spider-Man too. As is a slightly pudgy Peter B. Parker. And don't forget Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham and Peni Parker, who also turn up for a spin. Confused? It's all about parallel dimensions, innit?

Is it any good? Don't be put off by the convoluted summary above. All the inter-connected intricacies of the 'Spider-verse' characters are mapped out with remarkable economy and clarity, as they band together to foil the evil plans of The Kingpin, Olivia Octavius and others. Naturally, this will all be old hat to comic-book fans, but even for a old duffer like me, all these characters were combined to exhilarating effect. Not least because the animation is eye-poppingly brilliant, especially in its efforts to recreate the framing, colouring and action of comic strip panels. It's just fabulous to look at throughout, even if you lose track of the story. There's a brief 'making of' featurette video below, which explains the innovative visualizations better than I can - it really does look different from anything we've seen recently in animated features. However, the brilliant animation is all in the service of a pretty solid story, which successfully re-vamps the Spider-Man franchise, but never loses sight of Miles as the (new) central character or the key message about Spider-Man which separates him from most other characters in the Marvel canon. But it's also not above poking fun at itself, with several funny jokes, as you might expect from the involvement of The Lego Movie's Phil Lord and Chris Miller on writing/producing duties. Okay, so it climaxes with a standard Marvel Crash!-Bang!-Thwip! smackdown and doesn't really have a strong emotional core, but it's just great, inventive fun and never less than absolutely gorgeous to behold.

I don't trust you. What do others think? A deserved winner of Best Animated Film at the 2019 Oscars, with many claiming it should have had a shot at Best Picture as well. It was certainly better than several of that shortlist; I didn't see Roma or Bohemian Rhapsody successfully integrate a spider-who-has-been-bitten-by-a-radioactive-pig into their storylines. Naturally, the film is crammed full of Easter Eggs and in-jokes for Spidey fans and comic-book guys (and gals). I'm too old and out-of-touch to spot these, but here's an exhaustive run-down if you're interested. All I know is that somewhere, in a parallel dimension, a younger version of me who is more into comic-books has probably died of excitement watching this.

What does the Fonz think? Look out! Here Comes the Spider-verse!

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