How many more Spider-Man movies can there possibly be?
After six films, three separate franchises, and just over a decade, the friendly neighborhood superhero seems like he’s not going anywhere, much to the fatigue of the public.
With each new story, originality simmers, as does the interest of audiences across the globe. Enter Into the Spider-Verse, a new origin story featuring, for the first time from a major studio, Miles Morales.
A young teen from Brooklyn, Morales is far different from the Spider-Man audiences are used to. He brings with him a fresh perspective and environment to the story. The subsequent animated adventure is unique, thrilling, and often moving, injecting new life into the beloved character.
The story begins to introduce Miles and his family. His dad, a cop for the cleverly titled PDNY, is largely the source of the lovably awkward Miles’ initial conflict. He pressures Miles, expecting great things from him. In somewhat of a rebellion, Miles confides in his more creative, rule-breaking Uncle Aaron. The two are painting a mural in the subway when Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and the classic story unfurls.
What’s different, though, is that Peter Parker already exists in this universe. Even further, the hero exists in multiple universes manifesting in several different characters. There’s Gwen Stacy, Noir Spider-Man, and even a Spider-Hog (played effortlessly by comedian John Mulaney). After an incident forces each character into the same universe, Miles must join forces with them to get them back home and save the world.
One of the most exciting aspects of the film is how self-reflexive it is. The filmmakers used the over saturation of Spider-Man films to their advantage, poking fun at past iterations. Spider-Verse‘s ability to call back to old films while keeping a fresh lens plays much to its favor.
Unlike any previous entry in the ever-growing Spider-Man canon, the animated feature showcases incredible and unique visuals. The action is never stale, and its intermittently dispersed nature never overbears. Contrasting the buoyant action set pieces are scenes filled with heartfelt character interactions and witty banter. The balance is kept, with each tonal shift never rocking the film too far off of its narrative path.
Into the Spider Verse, above all else, spreads a message that one does not need a cape, nor a special power to be a superhero. Rather, one needs the will to help the other with no regard to his or her own safety or serenity. It tells the audience that no matter who you are or where you come from, you are capable of great things that can change the world for the better. What better message to send audiences and close a tumultuous year?