Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, and Peter Parker were all in a movie together – I can’t believe that sentence is real.
2018 has been a great year for movies, especially ones from the comic book genre. When it was first announced that Miles Morales would be getting his own movie, I was extremely excited and couldn’t wait to see him on the big screen. Since his introduction, he’s been a favorite character of mine and this year, people who weren’t familiar with him got to meet him in the new ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game.
Without spoiling anything you don’t already know, I’ll give a basic breakdown of the plot. The story is about Miles Morales finding his way at a new school, while still trying to figure out who he is as a person. Miles comes across a Peter Parker that is not from his world and with Parker’s mentorship and a few friends, Miles will learn to become his own Spider-Man and help protect the city and the Multi-Verse!
In this movie Miles is around 14-years-old, which is the youngest version of a Spider-man we’ve seen in any film. Him being that young allowed the writers to give us a refreshing take on the typical Spider-man origin story. I want to acknowledge the writers and directors for making sure to include and highlight the fact that Miles Morales is Afro-Latino. It’s important to his character and it is very important to the Afro-Latino community because sometimes people assume Miles is just Black and ignore his Latinx side. It was so beautiful to see Miles walking down the streets of New York speaking to people in both English and Spanish, and having fun with diverse community in his neighborhood.
This was one of the most original movies I’ve ever seen. Writers, Phil Lord Chris Miller and Rodney Rothman were able to successfully build a huge cinematic universe, while still delivering an origin story that never lost focus on Miles and the hero’s journey he went through to become Spider-Man. That is something the trio deserve a lot of praise for. When trying to build a universe, the focus of the movie can get derailed so you can set up things for future films, but with Into the Spider-Verse nothing ever felt forced or out of place. After seeing the movie, it makes sense that they’re planning on doing a sequel and spin-off. Another element of the film that needs to be praised is the animation style. The animation in this movie is on a different level from anything I’ve ever seen before and Into the Spider-Verse is the epitome of what it means to bring a comic book to life. Due to the film being an animated one, they weren’t restricted by the realistic limitations you see in live-action movies. This allowed them to really just have fun with it, and go all out.
Something I’ve learned to appreciate more when it comes to animated movies is the voice acting. I think it can get lost on people that it’s not just an actor reading words, but that they have to really convey various emotions, while we don’t see their faces – which can sometimes be more challenging than real acting. The voice acting amongst this cast was incredible. I was really impressed with how well Shameik Moore did as Miles. He was able to demonstrate so many different feelings throughout the movie and you actually believed Miles meant was he was saying. Jake Johnson as older Peter Parker was perfect casting. His chemistry with Shameik was one the highlights of the movie. It was also refreshing to see an older Peter Parker. There was a fan-theory going around saying that this version of Peter is the Peter Parker from the original Spider-Man trilogy and after seeing the movie, I could definitely see that being a possibility (but I doubt that is something they would address in the future).
Both Mahershala Ali and Brian Tyree Henry who voiced Miles’ uncle, Aaron Davis and father, Jefferson Davis, respectively, both really blew me away with their voice acting. Serving as two sides of the same coin in this movie, it was an interesting dynamic between the two brothers and the relationships they share with Miles. Nicolas Cage as Spider-Noir was hilarious. I would watch a whole movie following that character. John Maloney’s Spider-Ham was probably my favorite Multi-Verse version just because of how ridiculous the character is, and how funny he was. His comedic timing was on point, but they still made sure to make him bad-ass. Hailee Steinfield did a great job as Gwen Stacy. She has been building quite the resume, becoming a great actress and you can see that in her voice acting for Gwen throughout the movie. I have no doubt that she will be involved in the Spider Women spin-off that’s in the works. Kimiko Glenn as Penny Parker was also another fun character that I enjoyed. I hope they include her in the spin-off because I’d love to learn more about her character and the world she lives in.
Into the Spider-Verse has some great themes layered throughout it. We all know the saying “What makes you different is what makes you special”, and Into the Spider-Verse does a great job of conveying that message in a heartfelt way with the line: “Anyone can wear the mask. You could wear the mask”. Due to this, by the end of the film, you walk out of the theater feeling like you can take on the world. Another important message the movie emphasizes is the importance of friendship, and having the right people around you to n order to succeed. Before Peter Parker and the crew meet Miles, he’s scared and confused. He thinks he’s alone and can’t talk to anyone because he believes they wouldn’t understand. At some point in time, it’s likely that everyone has experienced this. Once Miles is introduced to his new set of comrades, you can see the character development really start growing and he starts to believe himself because he’s not alone in this.
This movie is going to have a huge impact on kids. As the movie was playing, I was smiling from ear-to-ear, thinking about how many little Black and brown kids will be able to see themselves in Miles. For a lot of children, this might be their introduction to Spider-Man and what better way to do it than with a legacy character (a character whose identity is passed down to them from an older character). I could only imagine what a movie like this would’ve done for me as a kid. I’m still in awe; we really got an Afro-Latino Spider-Man kicking ass on the big screen.
Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best movies of the year and one of the best-animated films ever made. People of all ages will enjoy this movie especially comic book fans and kids. If it were up to me, I would choose Into the Spider-Verse as my pick for Best Animated Feature Film. The movie also had my favorite Stan Lee cameo from any Marvel Comics-based movie (we love and miss you, Stan. Thank you for making us feel like we’re not alone).
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swings into theaters December 14!