With growing popularity and critical acceptance, 2018’s superhero films proved to be unbeatable in the film industry, with “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” both breaking box office records and becoming the two highest grossing films of the year. The year finished strong with the introduction of a (potential) new series with “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
I will be the first to admit I was skeptical of the movie when it was first announced. With the awe of “Black Panther” and “Infinity War” still lingering and the anticipation for 2019’s lineup (“Captain Marvel,” “Spiderman: Far From Home”, “Shazam!,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Joker,” etc.), it was hard to see anything else being a solid competitor.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. I left the theater so inspired and excited about the potential sequel. This was a comic book brought to life, both visually and in writing.
First of all, as someone who is the not the biggest fan of animated films, I was blown away by the quality of the visuals. It wasn’t like any animation or cartoon I had seen before. It was truly like an animated comic book, with hand drawings, dot work and even the occasional “BOOM!” in bright yellow letters popping out from a background scene. It was so unique and different and made the movie so much more exciting.
Secondly, it didn’t try to be a Spider-Man movie. In fact, it actually poked fun at the mold most Spider-Man movies have conformed to. With each new Spider-Man series, they are essentially just remakes of the one prior. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was really the first to break through that shell, but it still is Peter Parker and it still holds a lot of similarities to the prior series’.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was something all of its own. The movie did tell the story of Spider-Man, but this time it was Miles Morales, a 13 year old boy. He wasn’t alone and spending his time chasing after a girl, but instead he was surrounded by a team of people who understood him and wanted him to succeed. It took the same Spider-Man story we’ve heard before and twisted it into something new and put a fresh face to the name.
Beyond being both visually amazing and exciting, this movie broke barriers and proved the one thing everyone wanted to hear, anyone can be Spider-Man. Not only was the lead character black, but the movie introduced the first Spider-Woman, the first asian Spider-Man, and even the first Spider-Pig. Spider-Man is one of the most respected comic book heros to ever exist and millions of children look up to him, and until this series, the only children that could ever really relate to spiderman (and other superheroes) were white and male. I think that is why movies like “Black Panther” and “Wonder Woman” latched on to viewers, because they told the stories no one had heard before but were desperately needed. Superheroes are the people we look up to as children and adults, and representation is so important. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” does that and so much more.
We live in a diverse and inspiring world where everyone can be heroes in their own way. And that is exactly what message this movie portrays. Anyone, no matter what size, race, gender or form (even pigs), can be superheroes, even Spider-Man.