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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - reasons to watch the colourful animated superhero saga
Our guide to the film's best bits, fascinating insider facts and voice stars.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has to be seen to be believed.
The 2018 film is the first animated Spider-Man movie to focus on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales.
Running independently alongside the Marvel live-action films, the animation features Shameik Moore in the lead voice role as he tells his unique story of the Spider-Man saga.
Bi-racial Brooklyn teen Miles becomes one of the many incarnations of Spider-Man who travel across different dimensions and team up to save New York city from villain Kingpin.
Featuring a voice cast including Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld and Mahershala Ali, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is set in a shared, colourful multiverse, and boasts a groundbreaking animation style.
To whet your appetite for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which is available in the BT TV Film Store, we reveal the best bits about the movie, fascinating facts and Marvel Easter eggs you didn’t spot, who voices the characters and more.
Who voices the characters?
Shameik Moore is Miles Morales
Miles Morales is an intelligent yet rebellious teenager who grew up in Brooklyn to Puerto Rican and African-American parents. When he’s bitten by a mutated spider, he gains spider-like abilities and becomes the masked vigilante known as Spider-Man. Miles is voiced by Shameik Moore, known for roles in Dope and The Get Down.
Jake Johnson is Peter B. Parker
Peter is a grown-up yet dishevelled Spider-Man from another dimension, who becomes teen Miles's reluctant mentor. Jake Johnson, who voices the character, is best known for his role in long-running sitcom New Girl and from films including Get Him to the Greek, 21 Jump Street and Jurassic World.
Hailee Steinfeld is Gwen Stacy
Gwen is one of Miles’s classmates, and also has spider-like abilities. She takes up the alias of 'Gwanda' while at school. She’s voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, who you may recognise from films including True Grit, Romeo & Juliet, and Pitch Perfect 2. She's also a successful singer, and has released tracks including Love Myself, Starving and Let Me Go.
Brian Tyree Henry is Jefferson Davis
Jefferson is Miles’s police officer dad, who initially views Spider-Man as a menace. Jefferson is voiced by Brian Tyree Henry, known for his performance in TV series Atlanta, as well as films including Widows and If Beale Street Could Talk.
Mahershala Ali is Uncle Aaron
Aaron is Miles’s uncle (the brother of Miles’s dad, Jefferson Davis). Mahershala Ali, who has won Oscars for his roles in the films Green Book and Moonlight, voices the character. You might also know him for roles in TV shows including House of Cards and True Detective.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse also features the voices of Lily Tomlin as Aunt May; Luna Lauren Velezas as Rio Morales; Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker; Zoë Kravitz as Mary Jane Watson; Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir; Kathryn Hahn as Doctor Octopus, and Liev Schreiber as Kingpin.
3 reasons to watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse…
1. The groundbreaking animation style
The film’s producers, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, wanted Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to make you feel like "you walked inside a comic book".
The result is a unique visual style which combines computer animation with traditional hand-drawn techniques inspired by the original comic books.
Emma Stefansky from entertainment website Thrillist.com reckons that the “groundbreaking, vibrant animation style” is what makes the movie a “must-see”.
She writes: “The artists at Sony Pictures Animation created [the animation technique] specifically for this movie.
“Spider-Verse is technically a CGI animated film, but every frame looks hand-drawn - partially because many of them actually are.”
The film required 140-to-180 animators, the largest crew used by Sony Pictures Animation, who endeavoured to replicate the unique visual style of the comic book world co-created by Sara Pichelli.
The process was so intense that it took about a week and a half to make just two seconds of screen time.
The animation was a hit with both fans and critics alike - it scooped the Best Animated Feature award at the 2019 Oscars, beating films including Incredibles 2 and Isle of Dogs.
2. It explores Miles Morales’ story instead of Peter Parker’s
The live-action Spider-Man films (starring Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and currently Tom Holland as the eponymous hero) have focused largely on the story of Peter Parker.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse explores the less familiar story of Miles Morales.
Morales is a fairly recent addition to the Spider-Man comic history - he was created in 2011 by comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli.
He was devised as a new, more diverse superhero, inspired by both then-president Barack Obama and rapper and actor Donald Glover (the latter after Glover campaigned to be cast as Spider-Man).
According to Collider.com, the film was made primarily to explore the backstory of Miles Morales, who had yet to appear in a movie.
The finished film sees the story told largely from Morales’s unique perspective as a Brooklyn teen tasked with the biggest challenge of all: becoming Spider-Man in New York City!
3. The chart-topping original soundtrack
The soundtrack to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was curated to represent what a teen like Morales would listen to, according to Complex.com.
It featured rappers and hip-hop artists including Juice WRLD, Post Malone, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne.
Titled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Soundtrack from & Inspired by the Motion Picture), it peaked at No.2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, thanks in part to the release of the title single, Sunflower.
Sunflower reached No.3 in the UK’s Official Chart and No.1 in the UK Official R&B Chart. Performed by artists Post Malone and Swae Lee, it also topped the US Billboard Hot 100.
Aaron Williams from Uproxx called the soundtrack "one of the best hip-hop-oriented film soundtracks ever created", saying it “understood the necessity of positively representing [Morales’] ethnic group”.
He added that the hip-hop-laden compilation “lends life and realism” to Miles’ colourfully-animated environments.
Trivia and Easter eggs: Did you spot...
1. Sony was considering hiring Tobey Maguire (who played Spider-Man in the live-action films from 2002-2007) for the voice role of Peter B. Parker, before it went to Jake Johnson. According to ScreenRush.com, it’s thought the team didn’t want to confuse fans about the different Spider-Verse of the Maguire films.
2. Spider-Ham (voiced by John Mulaney) is unique among the other Spider-Heroes because he's not a pig who was bitten by a radioactive spider, but rather a spider who was bitten by a radioactive pig, according to IMDB.com.
3. [SPOILER ALERT] Notice that Miles and his dad have different surnames? According to Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of the comics in which Miles originated, Miles uses his mother's last name because his dad was a secret agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (a fictional counterterrorism and intelligence agency), and wanted to keep Miles safe. By the time Jefferson was no longer a secret agent, Miles was too old to change his name.
4. Speaking of Bendis, when Miles is scrolling through the contacts on his phone, the name 'B Bendis' appears as a nod to his character’s creator. 'S. Ditko' also appears on a phone in tribute to Steve Ditko, one of the original creators of Spider-Man and one of the two men the film is dedicated to: Ditko died in June 2018.
5. Shameik Moore, who voices Miles Morales, wrote in his diary as a teenager that one day he would play Spider-Man.
6. This is the first Spider-Man related movie to feature Kingpin - voiced by Liev Schreiber. The Spider-Verse version of Kingpin is a very intimidating figure who stands at more than eight feet tall and seven feet wide.
Watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse if you liked…
Spider-Man live action films, Big Hero 6, The Incredibles, Ralph Breaks the Internet, The Lego Movie, The Angry Birds Movie, 21 Jump Street, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
What the fans are saying about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Fans who’ve seen the film commented on the unique relationship portrayed on screen between a young Miles Morales and his dad:
More Spider-Man in the BT TV Film Store
There are a ton of Spider-Man movies available to buy or rent on BT TV, including a whole back catalogue of animated and live-action films. What are you waiting for? Find out what’s available now.
Watch the trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: