Warning: This article contains spoilers for Into The Spider-Verse. Read at your own risk.
So I have to apologize. Because every time I have said Black Panther sets the standard of being the best of the Marvel properties so far that has actually been a huge fucking lie. The actual best movie of the Marvel properties so far is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Now in my defense the reason why I kept saying Black Panther is that honestly Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best movies period. Not just best of the Marvel films, or best of superhero films, or best of animated films. One of the best films out of the entire concept of films. If you are making a list of the top ten movies ever made and Into The Spider-Verse isn't included you are a fucking liar and need to never speak about movies again. These are facts.
Black Panther is, again to date, the best of the MCU films. No doubt. It did the work, as I keep saying. And for those who may be new here when I say did the work I mean shows how good a movie or show can be when care is given to every aspect of production down to the atoms. Black Panther is by no means a perfect film (Killmonger vs T'Challa CGI battle we are, sadly, forever looking right in your direction) but still the intent and mostly realized goal of Black Panther was to think about literally everything down to a stone on someone's necklace and make it part of telling the story.
With this as our definition of doing the work it is then actually a bit of a misnomer to say Into the Spider-Verse did the work because Into the Spider-Verse went far beyond that and fucking invented the work. Saying Into the Spider-Verse did the work is like saying God did the work when creating the universe, except we've seen the absolutely shitty stat spread on what the almighty did with cheetahs so frankly Into the Spider-Verse still comes out better.
(Cheetah min/maxing: The Black Panther CGI battle of the natural world.)
Anyway, point being Into the Spider-Verse, which I'm going to start shortening into ITSV any second here I promise, is so far beyond anything else in terms of both the intended goals and execution of said goals that it is unfair to even try to compare anything else to it. If I sat here and typed out something like "Loki didn't do the work as much as Into the Spider-Verse did" I may as well sit here and remind you the scribbles I did with a crayon at one year old somehow fail to live up to the standard of the human emotions conveyed in Shakespeare's best sonnets. Like what are we even trying to accomplish with that?
So to some extent part of the issue is that ITSV (see?) is its own entity on so many levels. It's not an MCU film so it can't be the best of those and it's so beyond what any movie has accomplished ever that it's unfair to put it in other categories too.
At bare minimum, then, we need to understand from now on whenever I talk about the best of the best that we're taking it as a given that ITSV is on a better than god tier level and thus we're taking it out of the comparison pool as a, perhaps appropriately enough, Spiders Georg style outlier which should not be counted.
Here's where it gets complicated. You cannot talk about this movie simply. It's not possible. The level of detail and work put into it is so much that there are hours and hours of videos and volumes worth of articles (as well as volumes of actual books) dedicated to why Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best movies ever and they still only scratch the surface. I tried doing a bullet point reference list for this article and that lead into pages and again that's only scratching the surface.
At the same time I wanted to talk about the movie. Years late, perhaps, but still. Not the least of which is of course there's another movie coming out which is going to use what seem to be similar concepts of multiple versions of Spider-Man and interdimensional travel and thus, when I do get around to talking about that movie (months later! Because why same day stream for us disabled folks, eh?) it'll be impossible not to draw at least some comparisons, so may as well talk about ITSV now so you all understand my start point.
Therefore what follows is by no means a deep dive into every single second of Into the Spider-Verse because it can't be. Nor is it holding it up against any movies to come because as of me writing this said movies aren't out yet.
Instead what we're going to do is start small, then expand a little. We're going to talk about one moment from the film, one single scene, and then use that to shine a light on why the rest of the movie works so well.
And for anyone who has seen or is even vaguely aware of Into the Spider-Verse, the scene chosen is going to be no surprise.
Why What's Up Danger is the Greatest Movie Moment Ever
Right off the bat, let's get the video playing:
This scene, typically known as the What's Up Danger scene in fandom and as the "Miles Rises Up (MRU)" scene in the script, is the best movie moment out of the best movie ever. Again, if you're making a top ten list of best moments in movies and this isn't on it get the entire fuck out of the pool.
You can watch this scene with practically zero knowledge of anything about it and still get the full impact of what is going on. Maybe you might benefit from having a vague awareness of the concept of a spider themed hero who sticks to walls and uses webs to swing around, but I would argue that it's not necessary.
Let's take it from the top on a surface level: We see a young man dealing with indecision. We're told things lead him to a moment of taking action. After a moment of hesitation, he leaps off of a building and into an action sequence. He goes from uncertain to joyful and confident. He's accepted what he can do and is ready to face future challenges. It is a moment of transformation: the reluctant protagonist becomes the hero he was meant to be.
If you know absolutely nothing about Miles Morales, Spider-Man, or the events of the Into the Spider-Verse movie you still understand that's what this scene is showing you. It is not only the rise of a hero but it is so perfectly distilled as a rise of a hero that absolutely anybody could get chills seeing it.
On a surface level it could even be argued this is a very simple scene. We hear about a leap of faith and the character literally jumps off a building and doesn't die. But why is our reaction to have our breath taken away and not to reply "Yeah, he leapt, we get it"?
Now we get into the details. And again, with the full caveat it is not humanly possible for one article to cover all of the details of just this two minute and twenty-six second clip. But let's point out some threads in the tapestry.
For example, visuals. Now there is a lot going on with the visuals of ITSV and I'll touch on some of that in a bit. But for now we're starting big. Big item number one: The glass breaks.
Let's back up, and again for the sake of argument we're pretending we know nothing else about the film except Miles's name because I need it for ease of writing purposes.
We can tell Miles is scared shitless. The world around him is scary: buildings are big and looming, lightning is crashing overhead. The first shot we see of Miles is a tight frame on his face, not even showing his full head. We're with Miles in this moment. Visually we're being told Miles is locked in his own thoughts and can't get out of them.
We then get the montage moments. A shot of Miles where we don't see his face but we do see he's wearing an outfit which doesn't fit him: this is not Miles in a moment where he is in control of anything, even his own clothes. When he goes to open a door the door opens without his input, he doesn't even have control of that.
We start to see Miles when he talks to the older woman sitting comfortably in a futuristic space. Even without knowing this is a version of Aunt May who is good friends with a scientist, we know the archetype of an older figure who gives the hero what they need to take next steps on their journey. We see Miles's face here and he looks purposeful: we know this is a step he decided to take.
Back on the roof. The camera pulls out to clue us in that Miles himself is getting out of his own head. We see him in an outfit that fits him, not just literally in size but one which looks good on him. If we're coming in cold we may not know Miles's personality enough to understand why this outfit suits him, but a shot of him taking a New York City subway to get where he's going gives us the hints that a boy his age and location is probably going to be more comfortable in sneakers, shorts, and a hoodie than he was in what he was wearing before. (Compared to, say, a boy standing by a southern California beach who would look more comfortable in a surfer outfit, perhaps.)
We're taking with Miles as he goes to that rooftop and we see him looking up. He's heading towards his big moment and he's actively going there. Voiceovers tell us what he's remembering and what's motivating him. It all leads to the line about the leap of faith.
Now stop and take a second: what actually happens with Miles's jump? Remember what I said before, that a reaction could be "Yeah, he leapt, we get it"? This right here is why we don't have that reaction.
Miles doesn't just leap.
Yeah he leapt we get it is if Miles jumps off the building and is immediately successful. This isn't "leap of faith" leads to "Miles jumps." This is not leap to leap.
It's a leap of faith.
The of faith is key. Without this nuance the whole scene is meaningless. Without this nuance you have the most basic ass movie ever and those of you who are regular readers on this site know that it's when you insert your own joke about the level of effort put into Loki here.
Miles's hero moment isn't that he jumps it's that he has faith. Not in the spiritual sense, but in the sense that he knows he has to take action even if he's not sure he's ready. The faith is in himself to be able to handle it.
And we know this because the glass breaks.
Even if you never saw the rest of the movie to know that one of the representations of Miles not being able to control his powers is that he stays stuck to things, we all know the signs of when breaking glass is an accident. We know Miles is our hero. We can guess that random property damage isn't his goal. We therefore know this isn't what was supposed to happen.
Miles doesn't just leap, he leaps before he's ready. He doesn't have the knowledge that he knows what to do. He doesn't have 100% certainty that this is going to work out for him. That is why it's not a leap but a leap of faith.
Which leads us to the next big visual. Not just big in general, but big enough they knew this was the moment that sold the film so they put it on the posters:
Miles upside down, but not.
Let's pull back again.
Miles doesn't just stick to the glass. He falls. He falls hard. He gets a wonderful swoop of a dive once he gets away from the glass, true, but he's still falling. He's not in control, which we see a few cuts later when he's flailing in the air.
But before that flail the visuals slow down and show us Miles mid-fall. And for this you can't do better than the words in the script:
"The camera is UPSIDE DOWN. Miles isn't falling through frame. He's RISING."
Why do they slow down on this moment? Why are they showing Miles rising when he's entirely out of control?
C'mon, you have to know it now: because it's a leap of faith.
The moment Miles becomes a hero isn't when he saves the multiverse and it's not even when he figures out how to use his powers on purpose. Miles's heroic moment is when he decides he's going to be a hero. And the key part of that decision, as we've been told, is when he does it on faith.
Miles in free fall is the epitome of that moment. That's why the visual is him rising. The scene is called Miles Rises Up, remember? We know the concept of "rise up" as in to meet an occasion. Typically this is demonstrated by, yanno, things going up. Think of similar moments in Captain Marvel: the moment she throws off the control the Kree had over her is not just shown by her taking over her powers and flying but also with a montage of her standing over and over and over again. Literally rising up.
But look: Captain Marvel is one of my favorite heroes. I loved her movie. But you'll notice at no time do I ever list Captain Marvel the movie as an example of an MCU film doing the work because, among other things, in Captain Marvel up is up.
And that's fine. You don't have to have this kind of level of nuance and detail in every film. Literally every Iron Man movie is also like this and I still love them! Iron Man 2 is one of my favorites, even! Sometimes you can do a perfectly serviceable movie with B to B+ effort and a good time is had by all. Yes, granted, there's a tiny bit of nuance in Carol repeatedly standing up in the face of sexism and how it is key to her character that she gets up again because "fuck you." This compared to, say, Dr Strange wanting to have super powers because he's a whiny little baby with entitlement issues but still. Nobody tried figuring out extra layers here. One of Carol's key hero moments isn't when she falls it's when she activates her powers to stop falling.
Which again: works great! Ties wonderfully thematically to a story about a woman where her powers are symbolic of her agency in the world! But it's still not A+ interpretive effort which is why Captain Marvel is a good film but not a great film.
(And again just so I'm not picking on Carol: Same thing for Tony Stark. A key moment in his first movie is how, unlike his villain, he figures out how to keep flying when the suit ices up. Ties wonderfully into the theme of how Tony's heroism comes from him learning from his mistakes and doing better. Still not A+ interpretive effort! Still a good movie and not a great one.)
Bringing this back to Miles, his fall is his rise. His decision to fall is his hero moment. That's why the movie slows down. That's why it lingers on the visual. that's why he's flipped upside down. We're being shown that this, and not any other time, is when Miles became a hero.
It then speeds up again to get into the details: Miles learns to control the fall, Miles figures out the web shooters, Miles figures out how to travel through the city. These are good moments and worth seeing, and have levels of visual information all their own (such as how these are drawn in direct contrast to an earlier scene of Miles trying to learn to use his powers) but again staying on the surface and pretending we saw none of the rest of the movie, we still get that these moments can go by faster because we don't need to linger on them. We slow on the glass and we slow on the fall because those were the important bits. Those were the moments we needed to remember, and not just because they were beautiful visually.
Whew. Christ that's a lot and we barely touched what's going on in this scene. Let's broaden the lens a bit and talk about the bits in this scene that connect to the movie in general otherwise we'll be here forever.
What Makes Into the Spider-Verse One of the Best Movies Ever
You can't talk about the Miles Rises Up scene without talking about the music. There's a reason why it's more commonly known as the What's Up Danger scene: that's the song that plays while it happens. And there is a lot, a lot that goes on with the scene musically. This video is about twelve minutes long and barely touches all the details of why the music works so well in this scene. (Watch the video, though, it's wonderfully educational.)
Going back to our conceit of pretending we never saw the rest of the movie, though, we do still get what's going on with the music. The music starts out sounding scary and slowly builds into something heroic. The video I linked talks more about the impact of things like how we're getting heroic music with a hip hop component instead of a swelling orchestra (compare the sound of this scene to any moment in the MCU when the Avengers theme plays, for instance). But on top of that we can also pick up on some of the levels of detail that went into the film yet again.
Listen to the scary notes at the beginning. Even if you didn't watch the rest of the movie to know that those notes connect to the signature sound of The Prowler, you know they sound scary and that they sound distinct. You can also then pick up on how, during this scene, the power of the fear behind those notes slowly transforms into the power of Miles pushing through his fears to take his leap of faith. Compare the sound we hear at the very start of the video clip at to the sound we hear at 57 seconds. When we first hear it it's part of the word closing in around Miles and trapping him with his fear. When we hear it during his leap it's part of the sound of Miles taking control and we sense, because of the music, that Miles is using his fear to drive him. This is the audio version of the leap of faith. Visually he sticks to the glass, he's falling but he's rising. Musically the fear didn't go away but he's using the fear to move him forward and become who he needs to be.
Now pulling back, let's return to a world where we did see the entire film and can start to get the additional nuances. For instance, as I said, the sound ties to the distinctive sound of Miles's uncle Aaron, who is also The Prowler. This, in and of itself, has levels of detail such as the lengths Daniel Pemberton, who did the score, went through to get it. And part of why it works wonderfully is that you don't need to know that it ties to Aaron to understand its impact in the Miles Rises Up scene, and if you do understand it then it adds some nuance. But hey if you're curious about why Into the Spider-Verse defines the concept of doing the work there's also the part where the Prowler sound is Miles's theme backwards.
Also there's the part where Aaron is directly presented in the movie as what Miles could be if he went down the wrong path, up to and including a line where Miles's dad explicitly says "You want to end up like your uncle?" as though that's a bad thing. And the part where Aaron's theme goes down, representing how he took a dark turn, and Miles's goes up representing how he is a hero. But also how the use of Aaron's theme in Miles's music shows that Miles took inspiration from his uncle in order to be a better person which is tied in with how Aaron is one of the people Miles hears (and the last member of his family he thinks of) while he's psyching himself up for his leap of faith and - and - and -
This movie did the god damn work, people.
And we're not even getting into the parts where the movie team invented entirely new ways to animate in order to properly tell the story or how the level of detail in that included things like animating Miles at a different frame rate from the other characters to represent how he wasn't yet fully a hero but when he becomes one he joins the others in being animated at 24 frames per second and - and -
You can see why it is not possible to cover this movie in a single article. You can't even try. There isn't a single pixel in this film which doesn't connect to five thousand other elements which had eight billion levels of thought and effort put in. I'll toss some links and other concepts to look into down in Lagniappe but hopefully you start to get the idea about how god damn good this movie is on a technical level.
Which brings us to one other aspect of this movie that needs to be discussed, which is the character level.
The Characters of Into the Spider-Verse and Anyone Can Wear The Mask
One of the key decisions in making Into the Spider-Verse a great movie was making Miles Morales the lead. Not just in the sense that Miles is a popular character, though he is. And not just in the sense that he's an Afro-Latino character, though that is also a part. But on a very basic level, well, I'll let producer, co-writer, and co-director Phil Lord explain:
"I mean, everything started with Miles, and it started with the idea that we wanted to make a completely different kind of superhero movie, and what are the moves that we could do that would shake up a Spider-Man story? It started with, 'Well, it should be somebody different in the suit.'"
Did you catch that? It wasn't just somebody different in the suit for the sake of someone different in the suit, it was how could they tell a different story.
Here's the thing, I'm not going to compare Into the Spider-Verse to a movie that doesn't exist yet, but we can compare it to the Spider-Man movies that have already come out. And one thing that's pretty much universally known about Spider-Man movies is we don't need more Spider-Man movies. Which is to say we get it, he's bit by a spider, Uncle Ben dies, great power great responsibility, blah blah blah.
Just as No Way Home won't be able to escape comparisons to Into the Spider-Verse when it comes out, Into the Spider-Verse couldn't escape comparisons to the other Spider-Man movies when it came out. It understood that and actively created a dialogue with them.
The first step of that dialogue was saying this wasn't a story about Peter Parker. Yes, Peter's in the film. Two of them, in fact, who could've fit fairly easily into the mold of the Spider-Man movies we'd seen so far because they both tell us they have essentially the same backstory. They aren't the Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield versions of Spidey, but they're close enough to the concept to share a bench with them as it were.
From here we're getting yet another Into the Spider-Verse moment where one idea connects to multiple, so let's follow each branch in turn.
Into the Spider-Verse first and foremost connects to the concept of Spidey. It talks to the other Spider-Man movies by explicitly referencing them. The first Peter that we meet shows us moments from the movies, including the infamous scene of Peter Parker dancing in Spider-Man 3. The moments are slightly different, but the point is that they are recognizable from the movies. (Though it is important to note you don't have to know they are from movies for the moments to have impact. You can still think they are cool and/or funny on their own.)
On top of that Into the Spider-Verse lampshades the reboot issue of repeating Spider-Man's origin story by repeating the concept of origin stories itself. It's a running gag that each new Spider person who comes into the story provides their backstory, and it's even noted that the stories have a lot of similarities. By the time we get to them, Spider-Man Noir, Peni, and Spider-Ham's stories overlap one another because by that point we've heard the origin so many times we just need to know where the specifics were filled in like a Mad Lib (such as Peter Porker being bitten by a radioactive pig).
So one branch is that they were smart enough not to ignore the issue of the other Spider-Man movies and that the found a way to use that as a springboard for their own story.
Another is that at no time did they use the same Peter Parker we've seen again and again and again.
Look, this is no shade on Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, or Tom Holland, all of whom have done their own thing with the role of Peter. But part of the issue of the reboots isn't just that it's more or less the same origin story it's that it's the same character. Yes, there are subtle bits of difference in the stories that are told but think about how we might describe the these three versions of Spider-Man and, by extension, how much overlap there would be in a Venn diagram between them. We can point out things like Andrew's version of Spidey is more quippy and Tom shows the wisdom of hiring a dancer to portray someone with Spidey's physicality, but when you get down to it they all start from the baseline of thin, straight, white, cisgender high school boys.
Into the Spider-Verse does away with that issue by giving us no version of Peter which meets that criteria. The first Peter Parker we meet, the one who references the movies, is 26 years old and not in high school. He's blonde and not brunette. He's married and not crushing on a high school sweetheart. He's the closest we get to "The" Spidey, so to speak, and he's still not in the mold.
The next Peter is Peter B. Parker and they make the differences more explicit. He's in his forties. He's got a dad bod even though he's divorced and not a dad. He's got brown hair instead of the first Peter's blonde. He's even Jewish while the first Peter is implied, via the Christmas album, to be Christian.
After that we don't get any more Peters. We see a Peter as part of Gwen's backstory. Spider-Man Noir's real name is Peter Parker but the movie doesn't bother to mention it. Spider-Ham is Peter Porker but I think we all see how those differences are clear.
And, of course, we have Miles as our protagonist. Our high school boy is Afro-Latino and from Brooklyn, not Queens.
At the end the only commonality between all the Spider characters is that they are Spider characters. That Venn diagram overlaps on that point and nowhere else. It is also the only thing which connects to the other Spider-Man movies, which of course goes right to one of the major conceits of Into the Spider-Verse: anyone can wear the mask. Because in Into the Spider-Verse, anyone could wear the mask. Your age, gender, race, religion, body type, nationality, heck even status as a cartoon isn't an obstacle.
Which, again, leads us to more branches. For instance, the movie's understanding that the audience for Spider-Man stories as a concept is not necessarily the same audience for those who need Spider-Man stories about a Spidey who is a thin, straight, white, cisgender high school boy.
I'm going to get a little personal here about certain members of the audience and I'm going to be as kind about it as I can. I'll start with what seems like a tangent, which is to talk about Forrest Gump.
Now there are a lot of reasons why I hate the movie of Forrest Gump to the point where it stands in the top ten list of my bitter movie-related resentments right along with the five year jump in Endgame. Said resentment being, specifically, that I wasted 142 minutes of my life that I am never getting back because for some god forsaken reason past me thought it would be a good idea to watch Forrest Gump the movie.
But among the reasons I hate Forrest Gump the movie is that it is not a movie but rather 142 minutes of the Boomer generation giving itself a blowjob for being one of the most amazing generations to ever exist. And the reason why you can tell this movie is about giving Boomers a blowjob is that once the story hits the 1980s the soundtrack stops.
Up until that point the movie could not get enough of giving us K-Tel's Greatest Hits of the 50s/60s/70s. But once we hit the 80s that music sputters out and dies. Because to the Boomers who made the movie, there was no significant music in the 80s. Michael and Janet Jackson, Prince, Madonna, the entire rise of rap and hip hop, you name it. Meaningless. Never happened because it didn't matter to them.
The run of Spider-Man movies, and many superhero movies, are being made by the super hero version of people who think there was no good music after 1979. Which is to say we only ever get the thin, straight, white, cisgender high school Peter Parker because that's the only version of Spidey they know and think anyone cares about. They don't understand that there are multiple other spider characters out there which people have grown to love, and that even Peter himself has gone through various forms of aging and change in the comics. They're basically a warped version of J Jonah Jameson: "Get me one version of Spider-Man!"
So what Into the Spider-Verse did which was smart is say that they were going to take literally everything else in the Spidey canon and play around with it. The one tool they wouldn't use was default Spidey. Because they knew that leaving that version of Spidey to the side would open up new story options and it would open up new audience options.
But at the same time they didn't forget the Forrest Gump style Spidey fans. And this is where Peter B Parker comes in. Because the Forrest Gump style Spidey fans are Peter B Parker: they're older. They're not as hip and with it as they used to be. But they still want to be a part of Spider-Man's stories and they do have useful knowledge and passion to share. And the movie tells them that's okay. As it should. Because it is.
Finally, for now, we'll touch on one last branch of the character choices which is that Into the Spider-Verse obviously took inspiration from the comics but was not obsessively devoted to the comics. This is not a movie which works on the principle of "That's a reference to a thing I know!" Yes, there are Easter Eggs but you are not required to spot or understand the Easter Eggs in order to enjoy the film.
Additionally, the movie understands that it is okay to interpret characters. Miles and Gwen are not exact copies of their comic book selves, or at least the versions of them which introduced Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen into the world. For example, comic book Miles didn't spray paint a Spider logo onto his suit as an extension of his artistic abilities. Spider-Gwen is a drummer but not a ballerina.
But did these tweaks to the characters add something? Heck yeah. Miles's artwork helped to represent his inner thoughts, and him spray painting his outfit, symbol and all, demonstrated how all sides of his interests and personality were part of his decision to become Spider-Man. And for Gwen's part, among other things, it was just cool as shit to see a character do a superhero landing en pointe. I mean come on.
Can you do a fairly good movie that is nothing but recreating comic panels exactly? Well as I've said elsewhere Zach Snyder has made a career out of it so sure. But do you increase the odds of doing a better movie if you instead take the time to understand what the essence of the characters are and then open up the possibilities for how to express that in ways that haven't been seen before? Spoiler alert: Yes.
So yeah. This is barely scratching the surface of the surface of Into the Spider-Verse but hopefully it starts to give at least some idea of why this movie is impossibly good and even more impossible to be compared to. Even a bullet point list of things not touched on can't ever be complete, but to at least give you some food for thought and jumping off points here we go.
- Given what we talked about regarding the music cues in the Miles Rises Up/What's Up Danger scene, try rewatching the first trailer for Across the Spider-Verse while paying attention to the music used there.
- Some of the amazing art that went into making the movie.
- If you want a full appreciation of the insane amounts of work that went into the animation, try this video deep dive which even points out things like how paper moves when Miles touches it.
- Not to leave out the people who actually love deep cut Easter Eggs, Into the Spider-Verse even included Dinosaur Dracula's Spider-Man pop. Insert your own joke here about how your faves could never.
- A list of how many small details pay off would be too long to attempt but if you'd like one to pay attention to try the bit about Miles's shoes. They're untied at the start of the movie in what he says is a choice. Which for Miles it is, because at that moment he feels out of control of his life thanks to being forced to enroll in this new school. But as the movie goes on and Miles takes charge of himself his shoes become tied and stay that way.
- Another small detail is that Miles's style of web swinging doesn't just incorporate parkour, it incorporates some of the style of movement Aaron used as Prowler. Miles continues to take inspiration from his uncle and make it heroic.
- Not that you asked, but among my pet peeves when people miss the point of this movie include, in no particular order: Which is the real Peter Parker? (there is none), this movie takes place in the Ultimates universe (no it doesn't), this movie shows Earth-65 Spider-Gwen (no it doesn't, again the point is that these are all variations on characters from the comics and not the actual comic characters translated precisely), nobody's heard of Miles Morales (he was one of the most popular new comics characters rivaled only by Kamala Khan, not that they are actually rivals), and last but not least nobody ever showed this film any appreciation or love (it won a fucking OSCAR).
And yeah. For real, seriously, any attempt at linking would be pages and pages so start with those concepts and then follow whatever pieces catch your interest because that will lead to a lot. In the meanwhile, there we go. For now. I'm sure I'll come back to this well again and again, especially when other Spider movies come out and beg for the comparison. But at I hope this at least gave a start of understanding why Into the Spider-Verse is so damn good. Now let's all go rewatch!