A Review of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: What it Means to be Spider-Man
2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a completely unique Spider-Man movie, let alone a unique superhero movie, that is as daring as it is exciting. One of its primary messages is that anyone can be Spider-Man, and for audiences, the movie is saying that we can all be greater individuals in our own unique ways. We see this through the eyes of Miles Morales, a young teen struggling to become the new Spider-Man in a world that desperately needs one. Just like Miles, we as viewers have always been bystanders to Spider-Man’s adventures, and someone new becoming Spider-Man in a world where the hero already exists allows us to relate to the story that much more.
In Into The Spider-Verse, the idea of Spider-Man is presented from multiple different perspectives. Initially, Peter Parker’s Spider-Man is displayed as not only a hero, but as a cultural icon in and out of Miles Morales’ world. This allows our view of Spider-Man to be relatively similar to the point of view that Miles has, seeing that we all view Spider-Man on a daily basis, not in person, but in merchandise, music, and film. Because of this, when Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider, he isn’t alone like the original web-slinger was in his origin. This sends Miles on a journey completely unique from Peter Parker’s beginnings, and introduces the idea that the different “spider-people” which are introduced from alternate dimensions share more similarities than they initially think.
In the film, the three major spider-characters are Miles Morales, an older Peter Parker, and Gwen Stacy, also known as Spider-Woman. Miles’ bond with this version of Peter Parker is probably one of the most entertaining elements of the movie, as their similarities and differences bounce back and forth, building a strong friendship between the two. By the end of the film, not only has Miles learned how to be Spider-Man from Peter, but Peter, who had become reluctant in his role as Spider-Man, had remembered the hero that he always had the potential to be. Gwen also gets to form a special bond with Miles, especially since they’re around the same age, allowing her to give Miles another perspective which is more energetic and youthful than Peter’s.
Most of the other characters are great additions to the story as well. Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker, and Spider-Ham add more humor to the story, but don’t get too much development. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it enabled Miles, Peter, Gwen, and many of the more important characters to receive the development which progressed the story in a more meaningful way. This includes giving Miles a family filled with well-written characters, especially his father, Jefferson Davis. It’s these closer relationships which Miles has, as well as the unique comic book-based animation style, that makes Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse not only a great action-packed superhero movie, but also one of the best movies of the year.