Swing Into Theaters and Catch Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
By Kevin Rueda
Spider-Man is one of the most iconic and recognized superheroes in the world. The beloved web-slinger has starred in over 12 television series and is widely known for his continuous appearances in films. In just the past two decades, Sony Pictures Entertainment has produced the “Spider-Man” trilogy, “The Amazing Spider-Man” films, and has made a licensing agreement with Marvel Studios to allow for the character to appear in their cinematic universe, including movies like “Captain America Civil War,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and the upcoming films “Avengers: End Game” and “Spider-Man Far From Home.” Despite the hero’s presence in television and film over the past couple of decades, each one of the character’s appearances have focused on the same iteration of Spider-Man: Peter Parker.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” introduces a mainstream audience to alternate versions of Spider-Man. The movie’s main character is Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino teenager who acquired powers similar to those of Peter Parker. The character was initially introduced in 2011 and made a name for himself in Marvel Comics, and was heavily featured in Disney’s 2012 animated show “Ultimate Spider-Man.” However, Morales has never been the star - until now.
Morales is a typical teenager attempting to balance school and relationships. He is awkward, shy, and struggles to fit into his new elite prep school. Like many teenagers, Morales feels out of place and is simply striving to live up to his parents’ expectations. Morales attempts to establish his own identity as separate from his two role models: his father, an NYPD police officer, and his uncle, a criminal. Morales’ character and actions are a reflection of his father and uncle, and part of Morales’ journey is the development of his own identity.
Morales initially rejected his powers. Scared and alone, Morales runs to his underground hideout spot where he discovers a collider built by supervillain and crime boss, Kingpin. The machine malfunctions and results in a collision between five different dimensions. Morales is soon joined by Peter B. Parker, an older Spider-Man from an alternate universe; Spider-Woman, an alternate-universe version of Gwen Stacy, where she received the superhero powers instead of Parker; Spider-Ham, a comedic parody of Spider-Man from an anthropomorphic universe; Peni Parker, an alternate-universe version of Spider-Man, who is a Japanese-American schoolgirl that controls a mechanized suit; and Spider-Man Noir, a darker, alternate version of Spider-Man, who fights mobsters and gangsters during the Great Depression. Outside of their original dimensions, the heroes experience cellular decay. The heroes quickly join forces in an attempt to return to their respective dimension before it is too late. The film follows the growth and development of Morales, not just as a hero, but as a person. The climax acts as a culmination of Morales’ journey and progression.
The animation design for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is nothing short of spectacular. Through the use of vibrant colors, dynamic camera angles, and stunning visual effects, each frame of the film feels like it has been ripped directly from a comic book. With comic book panels and speech bubbles, the film captures the vintage ambiance of comic books while maintaining a slick,modern aesthetic. The unique visuals emulate the fluid and lively nature of comic books, which alone make the movie worth watching.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” became the best-ever December opening for an animated film with a $35.4 million opening weekend debut. The film received praise across several review sites, including a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.8 out 10 on IMDb.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a treat for comic enthusiasts and newcomers alike. The visual masterpiece is comedic, action-packed, and empowering. The film is emotional and tells an important story about overcoming hardship and discovering one’s own identity. In the same year that brought viewers Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther”, Miles Morales and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” once again shows us that anyone can be the hero, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender.
Director: Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr., Rodney Rothman
Screenplay By: Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman
Release Date: December 14, 2018
Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, John Mulaney, Nicholas Cage, Kimiko Glenn
Duration: 1 hour 57 minutes