Look out! Here comes a reference disc
On the surface, Into the Spider-Verse is that typical comic book movie. Super villain Wilson Fisk creates a doomsday device, Spider-Man finds a way to stop it, cue large scale duel between the two to decide the fate of Earth.
Yet this is not such a direct path movie. Multiple Spider-Men/Women invade this space. One of them is a pig. A couple of villains join this fray, including Doc Ock and Green Goblin. Into the Spider-Verse certainly crowds itself.
But that’s still a comic book movie. The difference is Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). He’s the main Spider-Man, new to the gig at an inopportune time in his life. He gives this story enthusiasm. Into the Spider-Verse uses Morales’ newfound web-slinging as part of his coming-of-age story, in every way the best of Spider-Man, treating superheroes as a branch to better understand life’s challenges and changes.
It’s about expectations too. Morales goes to a great school but doesn’t fit; he’s expected to perform, but doesn’t understand who he is. So it’s Stan Lee who puts forward the motivation. In a shop, buying a cheap Halloween Spider-Man suit, Lee says of the suit, “It always fits… eventually.” Clever, as Lee’s shrewd shop owner doesn’t offer refunds, but metaphorically pure. On Morales’ path, he learns he’s not alone. High school does that to teenagers, leaving some as outcasts. Here’s a movie about finding friends, those who share and experience what you do. They just happen to all shoot webs.
That doesn’t even consider the sheer beauty at play here. It’s the first comic book adaptation to soak in the actual art form itself. As a series of images, Into the Spider-Verse moves between frames, careful and composed with monumental attention toward creating a pop art stupor. The fervor of this work is unparalleled in the animated space, bursting with energetic color and world class design. It’s not all for show – every version of these radioactive spider victims attack uniquely, move differently, and generate a distinctive world around them.
Into the Spider-Verse brings with it the best of Spider-Man cinema – Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland included – because it’s so willing to stretch the character into an organic, feel good parable without artificiality. By making this generational, the perspective of cynic is celebrated alongside the excitable kids and the terrified newcomer. Into the Spider-Verse’s range of feeling is a revelation.
Video (4K UHD)
The wonders never cease on this disc. Into the Spider-Verse’s wealth of color won’t stop. With a palette of millions, the beauty keeps coming. Backgrounds explode with variety. Primaries pop. New York streets blast signage of rich intensity. Spider-Ham’s suit blossoms thanks to a vivid red. The others too, with hues in line with their characters. Most of the finale is equivalent to diving into a tank of paint where the colors effortlessly mix.
This is all wrapped in a blanket of raw contrast. Black levels cloak Wilson Fisk and Spider-Man Noir. Highlights, with the addition of HDR, take on a life of their own. When Into the Spider-Verse rapidly changes from a dark night to a splash of comic color, the change is a full exhibition of range.
Don’t discount detail. Into the Spider-Verse is a permanent example of how little resolution matters, partly because of the light show, but also how clear and sharp this all is. From lines to dots, everything is flawlessly formed. Not a speck of compression shows, leaving the solid surfaces artifact free. A beauty.
On Blu-ray, it’s much the same, minus the HDR kick of course. What’s here is sublime and pure. Sony’s encode lets nothing get away. Sharpness hits 1080p’s peak, resolving the small details of this digital New York. Textural elements compare to top-end Disney 2D animation. That’s high praise considering that level of perfect on Blu-ray.
Plenty of depth is noted too. Black levels stick their landing, and brightness creates an attractive layer. Equally, saturation never wanes with gorgeous color replication.
Thank the Dolby Atmos gods for this. Massive dynamic range pushes the fullest low-end saturation, sucking the air out of the room whenever Fisk attacks, an explosion hits, or the soundtrack turns rowdy. Key is variance, allowing for differing intensities, perfectly applied to accentuate something like a car passing or the thrust of a subway train.
Positionals do their work too. Every thwip of a web jumps from front-to-back with seemingly no effort. Transitions show no trouble. Voices swirl into the rear channels where needed, selling space and distance. Wormhole effects suck up entire rooms, spinning furniture into a full circular soundfield. Even during downtime, New York lives and breathes with ambiance. Sensational stuff.
On the UHD, a commentary from writer Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and the trio of directors makes for an active track. That’s followed by the comedic gold a Spider-Ham short (with HDR!), running four minutes.
Over on the Blu-ray, those features copy over, along with We Are Spider-Man, with cast and crew discussing who Spider-Man is to them for eight minutes total. Animation earns its due in A New Dimension, five minutes long. An extensive look at the cast runs 15-minutes, and two peaks at the character designs separate into heroes and villains. A moving tribute to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko runs eight minutes. Some music videos and a look at easter eggs close things out.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Video (4K UHD)
The best of any Spider-Man movie adaptations to date, Into the Spider-Verse captures the awkwardness of teenager years and finding yourself in a comfy frame
User Review( votes)
The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 60 full 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: