Spider-Man, your friendly neighborhood hero… one of the (many) favorite superheroes, including for me. Discussing his superpowers, origin, psychological profile, the fierce battles with his enemies, relationships with other superheroes, joining the “Avengers”, romantic adventures with Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane… pages and pages could be written about this good-natured, jokester superhero.
My first encounter with Spider-Man was through the 1967 cartoon series (note: THE CARTOON IS FROM 1967, NOT ME! 😁), followed by a few episodes of the 1994 animated series. Then came the famous trilogy with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, which relaunched Spider-Man to the top of superhero popularity, followed by the shaky duology with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone which wasn’t quite thrilling, and then we had young Tom Holland restoring our faith with his version of Spider-Man, who timidly debuted in the internal conflict of the Avengers, but later deservedly got his own solo film, as well as a sequel, and it seems we will be seeing him on the big screen for a long time.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a computer-animated film that (somewhat unexpectedly) appeared in 2018. The trailer that appeared then immediately won over audiences, although they were surprised by the idea of such a type of film.
And everyone was glad when it appeared.
Miles Morales is a teenager. Being a teenager, of course, we can’t know if he’s happy, sad, cheerful, depressed, frustrated, in the mood to fight for birds’ rights, for alcohol rights, horny, or something tenth (though he’s most likely all of that at the same time… after all, he’s a teenager 😁). However, his enthusiasm waned a bit when he “got into” a prep school he doesn’t really like, but he wants to live up to his parents’ expectations. He most enjoys hanging out with his uncle Aaron, with whom he shares a passion for graffiti drawing. On one of their adventures (in the subway, to draw graffiti in peace), Miles is bitten by a spider. Like any teenage artist, Miles doesn’t give a … by the spider bite, so he smacks it with his hand and flicks it off, then returns to his school accommodation.
Miles lives in a city dominated by Spider-Man. Our dear Peter Parker keeps New York safe from villains, takes photos for the “Daily Bugle”, is married to the wonderful Mary Jane, takes care of his Aunt May (note: do not confuse this Aunt May with the sexy version from the recent Spider-Man movies), there are comic editions of his adventures, and (almost) everyone loves him. Oh, his life is blissful.
Meanwhile (i.e., the next day), Miles notices that he feels strange. He sweats a lot, his senses sharpen, his hands become extremely sticky, he is aware of rectangles with texts and hears his thoughts out loud. One might think it’s puberty, but the moment he realizes he can climb walls, Miles understands that something serious is happening, and a glance at the Spider-Man origin comic gives him a clear answer.
He has powers like Spider-Man.
Two Spider-Men… is that even possible?
To find out what’s happening, Miles goes back to the “scene of the crime”, i.e., the place where the spider bit him.
Instead of answers, he finds Spider-Man fighting Kingpin, trying to stop the activation of a large collider that allows access to other dimensions. Kingpin’s intention is to bring back his family (i.e., his wife and son) by “pulling” them from one of the parallel universes (Multiverse). Of course, things go awry with the machine, and Spider-Man is seriously injured. With the last atom of strength, he hands Miles (who has been a silent observer of the confrontation) a USB drive that must be used on Kingpin’s machine to prevent its reactivation.
To make matters worse, Miles also witnesses the scene where Kingpin kills Spider-Man.
What now? He may have some powers (he doesn’t know exactly which ones or how to use them), but he can’t replace Spider-Man. The city is shaken by the loss of its hero.
But, maybe not all is lost.
Miles discovers that suddenly there are five Spider-Men in New York!
You guessed right, the malfunction in Kingpin’s machinery resulted in “pulling” five Spider-Men, each from their universe. They are:
- Peter B. Parker – A failed Spider-Man, about 38 years old, whose life has gone completely wrong (he’s drifted away from Mary Jane, lost all his money, is in terrible shape)… and who needs to mentor Miles. As the authors imagined him, he’s like Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid”… only without any knowledge of karate 😅
- Spider-Woman – The version of Gwen Stacy from another universe, posing as a student at Miles’s school. Due to the loss of a close person, she does not want to connect with people again
- Spider-Man Noir – Literally a black-and-white version of Spider-Man, inspired by noir gangster films of the 40s and 50s. He does not hesitate to use firearms and severely beat people. And he’s colorblind (since his entire world is, you know, black and white)
- Peni Parker – An 11-year-old girl who fights with the help of a robot in which her radioactive spider lives. This version is definitely inspired by the anime world
- Spider-Ham – Ah, this one is an anthropomorphic dwarf pig in a Spider-Man costume, named Peter Porker (don’t ask). Literally made as a cartoon
And let’s stop here with the plot, I think I’ve revealed enough, right? 🙂
Where to start with impressions of the film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”…
The visual aspect was phenomenal! The approach to animation was such that there was a clear desire of the animators to give the audience the impression of watching a moving comic. Check out the movie trailer at the end of the text, I think it will all be clear. And if that’s not enough, there’s also the list of awards won by this film, especially for the visual aspect.
The music does not lag behind the visual aspect and perfectly fits the rhythm of the film.
The story is dynamic and excellently combines bright and dark moments of our superheroes. We’ll see a great evolution of Miles from a scared teenager to someone who has to understand that “with great power comes great responsibility”, problems in family relationships, realizations of other Spider-Men about what they need to do with their lives, and much more.
This is not a typical animated film. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a film with which you will laugh (really, there are many comedic scenes and witty dialogues), but also ponder. I was pleasantly surprised that this film also contains a lot of inspirational moments, especially on the theme of facing your fears, lack of faith in yourself, and never knowing when the right moment is to finally do something. “You won’t… it is a leap of faith” is one of the best lines spoken in the entire film. Although this is a phrase we’ve all heard a hundred times in life and know its meaning, the sentence spoken in a short (farewell) conversation/conflict between Miles and old Peter, as well as the emotions shown at that moment, perfectly described the true meaning of leap of faith.
All in all, my impressions of the film are excellent. Miles Morales’s Spider-Man is interesting, and it’s great that he has finally joined the film universe, and I believe a sequel is planned, and I don’t exclude the possibility that a live-action version of this superhero will appear in the future.
I dare say this is perhaps one of the best film/animated achievements on the theme of superheroes.
The audience loved it, film critics showed favor towards “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”. So, it’s a pity not to watch this film.
And you, dear reader, if you haven’t watched this film yet… what are you waiting for? 🙂
(Originally reviewed: 07/02/2020)
Imdb | Rotten Tomatoes | Metacritic
Release Date: 2018
Runtime: 117 minutes