By Daniel Paiz
Just when you think the time between Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel is far too long of a gap to go without a Marvel film, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse swings in to save the day.
The animated film from collaborators Marvel and Sony had a couple of sneak previews across the country this weekend, and what I witnessed should tide you over until next April.
In fact, it might make you forget about everything outside of animated Brooklyn for a good two hours.
All kinds of art included in this animated film
So when watching an animated film, you come to expect a good deal of animation. However, you might not expect all of the different art styles utilized in this film.
The comic book panels and various artistic styles throughout enhance the look and feel of this film.
It adds that extra something to see Peni Parker and her robot (from 3141 New York City) have anime tropes consistently referenced. The black and white 1930s Spider-Man Noir drives home his overtly serious tone (despite his hilarious quips). The cartoonish nature of Spider Ham adds flavor to a relatively unknown character.
It all fits together nicely.
This is also genuinely the first time I have ever almost felt what it’s like to have a spidey sense. The artwork helped to better portray that power, and it explains the process Miles Morales is going through when he first gets his powers.
That kind of awareness of your surroundings would throw anyone off.
Action and heart at the same time
The fights scenes are also what you’d hope for in an animated film without being gratuitous. The plot drives everything, including when to use action and when not to.
Relationships between Miles and his family, and his fellow web slingers, are where those teachable moments happen. Morales has to learn how to embrace the skills of Spider-Man, as well as the complications that come with it.
Death is as common for a Spider-Man story as the red suit, and the deaths in this film are at the core of why a few key characters make the decisions that they do.
Sometimes the good guys learn from their mistakes, while the bad guys appear doomed to repeat them.
How you learn from tragedy is how you move forward in life; Miles seems to learn that just like the various Spider people from alternate dimensions did before him.
Real-world impacts of the spider-verse
No, this is not going to tackle how a spider becomes radioactive or how one travels into and out of alternate dimensions; if I had that information, you would be reading a different article because I wouldn’t be writing this.
What I’m talking about is the impact of who Miles Morales is. His father is African-American, his mother is Puerto Rican and he’s bilingual in a very diverse neighborhood.
Miles is clearly a much more representational character of how modern America is starting to look compared to most superhero characters. That might not seem like a big deal, but representation is becoming more and more important.
Look at how popular Black Panther is with a largely Black cast. Look at how well Crazy Rich Asians did with an all-Asian cast.
People need to see themselves reflected in movies, comic books, etc. because it hits home when you see someone like you in a story.
Plus, it more honestly reflects the current and future state of America; yes, there are parts of the country that are largely homogenous, but even those areas are changing.
Think of it this way: when kids, teenagers, and adults seem themselves more fully represented in various art forms, it’s more likely they’ll broaden their horizons of what’s possible.
That’s a win-win for this new Spider-Man fan, all day.
There’s no way that this film hasn’t opened up ALL KINDS of possibilities for future Spider-Man stories.
If I was a Spider-Man fanatic I’d be ecstatic. I’ll have to settle for being excited to see what’s next.