I was able to see Into the Spider-Verse last week as a + 1 to somebody who was watching it as press and walked out of it unsure if I’ve had a more satisfying superhero film experience in a year that has already included Incredibles 2, Infinity War, and Black Panther – three billion dollar grossing films, two of which are locks to be represented at the Oscars.
I will leave reviews to reviewers and “top 5 things from Into Spider-Verse” to content generators bots who need the money buy I literally walked out of this movie and went out to get this poster, which is not a normal occurrence for me but I was struck with a simple feeling of wanting to continue to be a part of something I just saw.
The Nike touch that we first saw nearly exactly a year ago was something that felt right. It felt classic neighborhood Spider-Man while at the time very simply grounding the character into today. Spider-Man is one of us, it is why the character was a revolution in a comic book world that was full of gods. Today he’d wear Nikes and nothing else.
This revolution happened again.
I don’t know how to put this in proper emphasis but Into the Spider-Verse is the perfect mix of reverence and excitement for a future realized. It is pure joy. It’s animation is distinct and incredible. It’s the perfect for the big time pop culture consumption introduction of so many versions of the Spider-Man concept.
When Miles Morales was first introduced in comics the character was well liked but there was always this barrier, a ceiling, that was nobody’s fault, just a product of the massive oeuvre of Spider-Man and the love people had for Peter Parker. It’s not the same a John Stewart being awesome in a cartoon and gaining a piece of the Green Lantern generational landscape from Hal Jordan, because as classic a character as Green Lantern is, he’s not Spider-Man.
On many occasions I’ve thought about what would be the best mechanism to not just introduce but feature worthy character analogs of legendary characters. Spider-Man is a top 3 iconic character in comics along with Superman and Batman and actually dwarfs both of the DC two giants from a pure licensing aspect/value.
If talking just comics, Batman has ascended again to being frequently at the top in a much smaller medium but when we are talking about the late 80s and 90s when comics were last gigantic themselves, it was Spider-Man and the X-Men (and really Marvel in general) that dominated those decades and still represent the biggest selling comics of all time.
I say this just to paint a picture of existing fan bases and in a way highlight what Marvel Studios has done with very much their B,C, & D characters and to really lookout for when they put their X-Men out – it can’t be overstated how many X-Men fans are out there and just how dominant of a selling bloc the X brand represented to people who are now ticket buying public with kids.
Spider-Man, however, is a still licensed to Sony, and with Marvel’s help they put out Homecoming last year which was the best Spider-Man film.
Then they put out Venom which was a movie that everyone was half-mocking and thought was a misstep and it ended up being a monster hit approaching $900 million at theaters worldwide. As an aside, Venom is a character that was popular in the aforementioned 90s time period. So was Deadpool for that matter.
Beyond the obvious aspect of being a cash windfall that film showed me that Sony can pull of Spider-Man adjacent films w/o Marvel holding their hand and as much as I loved Spidey in Homecoming, Civil War, and Infinity War, it is starting to feel like Sony may have got way more than we thought out of this relationship with Marvel and when you see Into the Spider-Verse it will be very evident why.
They simply did it.
In the way that comic fans think DC captured the truest essence of their characters in animation: Batman the animated series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Young Justice. Sony did this and more with Spider-Man because they’ve opened up multiple avenues of full blown franchises I want to see NOW with Into the Spider-Verse.
It’s literally note perfect, what shouldn’t work sings and swings the most beautiful, and what should work, does so flawlessly. It’s a celebration and harbinger of things to come for all things Spider-Man. It is hyper-aware of itself but in a way that realizes the need to allow the watcher room to draw their own conclusion, to find the joy of the film that’s unmistakable and impossible to miss yet no less gratifying and warming.
I cannot stress this enough, if you are a Spider-Man fan, a Marvel fan, or just fan of good animated movies, this is a must watch film.
Every year I see the Oscar nominations for animated films and it’s typically the most repetitive of practices in crowning whatever Pixar movie was released (Disney has won 15 of the last 18 Oscars for Best Animated Film) with me usually internally miffed that the Studio Ghibli release of the year or last year’s Your Name was being robbed even amidst admittedly excellent work from Disney. This year it should go to Into the Spider-Verse – a movie of and for our culture. The best parts of it.
From 1962 to 2099.