Spider-Man has been rebooted twice in the last decade. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t a reboot, but a re-boost.
Spider-Verse starts out about Peter Parker, who we already know about. And the filmmakers know this because there’s a bit of a tongue-in-cheek moment when Parker cuts his intro short and says “and the rest is history”.
Then we’re introduced to Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), a smart and artistic kid from Brooklyn, who’s closer to his Uncle Aaron than he is to his own parents and then happens to get bitten by a radioactive spider. But the problem is, he can’t control his powers, he can’t even jump off a building because he doesn’t believe he’s Spider-Man.
When the Spider-People are brought into Morales’s universe through a particle collider, including an older and curvier Peter Parker (Jake Johnson). He becomes the jaded and reluctant teacher that has to teach Miles to be Spider-Man, so he can get back to his universe.
You've made a movie that artists new and old, of every medium, will study forever. I know I definitely will. I want to hug you all. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/J4EZq4a0Qg
— Jason Latour (@jasonlatour) December 13, 2018
And this is where the movie really shines, by acknowledging the Spider-Man we know so well, we’re given a deeper look into the Spider-Man and Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld) that we don’t know at all. And this only deepens our understanding of who Spider-Man is.
But, without going into all the details, the movie goes beyond a kid who has to learn the ropes and beat the bad guy. It’s about identity and not running away from who you are. It’s about the differences we all have, and how it doesn’t disqualify you or qualify you for anything.
When the great and late Stan Lee was asked about Spider-Man’s role as an outsider, he answered:
“The idea I had, the underlying theme, was that just because somebody is different doesn’t make them better… That seems to be the worst thing in human nature: We tend to dislike people who are different than we are.”
— mark cousins (@markcousinsfilm) December 13, 2018
The film itself is a testament to its own themes and story. Through dazzling animation that combined comic book style and visual flair, Spider-Verse is unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a Spider-Man movie. Much like the characters we think we know, from Peter Parker and Aunt May to the Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy, our expectations are subverted and we’re given something different.
And it isn’t different for its own sake, its uniqueness lies in us as much as it does in Miles and the creators of Spider-Verse. Just because Spider-Man has been rebooted doesn’t mean it can’t be fresh and original. Miles Morales doesn’t have to be Peter Parker, he can be unapologetically himself and still be Spider-Man.
— theblerdgurl™️ (@theblerdgurl) December 8, 2018
All it takes is that first “leap of faith”.
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Written in VA. An MFA graduate in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.