Does Whatever a Spider Can - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Live
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse – Live at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, 28 October 2023
Review by David Court
How do you make an Oscar and BAFTA and multi-award nominated movie even better? Perform it with a live orchestra, that’s how.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse was released to great acclaim in 2018, a ground-breaking combination of breathtakingly beautiful animation and a thoroughly entertaining plot. Following the exploits of teenager Miles Morales, it’s an entertaining romp following the troubled trajectory of his hero’s journey as he struggles with the responsibility of taking up the mantle of being Spider Man, and a neat introduction to the concept of the Multiverse that the main Marvel Cinematic Universe would later go on to fully embrace.
It was a film notable not only for its distinctive animation, but also for its score and soundtrack – composer and songwriter Daniel Pemberton’s bombastic and inspirational themes blend seamlessly with the worlds of hip-hop and funk – and it’s this music which forms the heart of the performance of ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Live’.
Part way through a simultaneous UK and world tour, a wet and miserable Saturday afternoon saw Birmingham Symphony Hall host the latest leg. Hush descended on the relatively crowded auditorium as the orchestra and DJ took the stage, the composer introducing them all. As a bit of a coup, the scratch DJ present was DJ Blakey, the same guy who worked on the original film soundtrack.
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how good the actual film is – even if you’re not a superhero fan, I can strongly recommend it – but to have it accompanied by a live orchestra was nothing short of astounding. A little of the dialogue was lost in the audio mix, but I doubt anybody in the audience hadn’t seen the film itself several times already. Performing to the very end of the credits before being greeted with rapturous applause, the orchestra were magnificent – in all honesty, it was the best way I can imagine of seeing (and hearing) the film again.