Spiderlings teach validity comes in many forms
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” adds charming new characters from multiple universes to Spider-Man canon.
Miles: “How am I supposed to save the world?”
Spider-Man: “You can’t think about saving the world. You have to think about saving one person.”
Everyone knows how Peter Parker got his superpowers. However, this movie focuses on 14-year-old Miles Morales, who is reluctantly enrolled at an elite New York boarding school. After he is bitten by a radioactive spider, Miles begins to experience drastic changes that he cannot explain, such as being able to stick to walls and having a weird instinctual feeling.
To make sense of what is happening, Miles retraces his steps to where he was bitten by the spider. While doing so, he discovers Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, mid-fight with the crime boss Kingpin. The superhero was trying to keep him from opening a hole in the space-time continuum, which could potentially destroy New York.
Ultimately, Kingpin kills Spider-Man, but Kingpin’s experiment results in another older Spider-Man from a parallel universe showing up and encountering Miles. Together they encounter four more spiderlings, which includes Gwen Stacy, an anime-style girl from the distant future, a cartoon pig and a black-and-white 1930s noir Spider-Man. Upon getting over their initial shock and confusion, everyone understands that they must work together to defeat Kingpin to return to their own respective universes.
The movie was incredible — from the character development to the animation style. I will admit that I was a bit hesitant at first to go see the movie, but I am glad that I did. The parallel universe concept in the movie was pulled off fantastically, as it incorporated different versions of the “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.” It was nice to see some of the different comic book variations of Spider-Man interact with each other.
One thing in particular that I greatly enjoyed about the movie was Miles’ relationship with his father. Like most teenagers, he is not entirely sure what to say or how to act around his parents. His father is a member of the police force, which adds an extra layer to it. At the end of the movie, their relationship is stronger.
Another thing that I greatly enjoyed was that the movie relies on the audience’s knowledge of the previous Spider-Man movies. An example of this would be the opening sequence of the movie that tells the backstory of the soon-to-be-deceased Peter Parker, which essentially shows him as being the Tobey Maguire iteration of the character from the Sam Raimi film trilogy. It had references to each of the movies in the Raimi trilogy from the upside-down kiss with MJ from “Spider-Man,” the train rescue from “Spider-Man 2” and the pain-inducing dance sequence from “Spider-Man 3.” It serves as a clean break from the other iterations of the character.
Each of the different multiverse characters portrayed their own genres, which provided plenty of different snippets of humor to play with. For example, Nicholas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir is a parody of goofy film noir clichés, while Spider-Ham serves as the comedic relief, as he is an absurd character. He basically helps the other iterations of Spider-Man feel more grounded by comparison.
Miles Morales is by far the most relatable character and vulnerable lead to appear in a Spider-Man movie. His desire to create his own identity from his father is admirable and his awkward teenager-ness when he meets someone he is crushing on as well as the frustrations he experiences as he struggles with mastering his powers makes his growing pains relatable.
These are all themes that are present in a majority of Spider-Man origin stories. Setting them in the plot of a multiverse was the perfect way to do so, as it allows Miles to learn that there are numerous interpretations of Spider-Man and each is valid.
I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. The animation style is distinct, though at times it was a little hard to look at when the colors were blurring. However, the animation style was needed to differentiate between the parallel universes the other spiderlings came from.
I highly encourage that you see the movie in theaters.