With all the craziness in today’s cinematic world, one genre has been growing more and more as Hollywood keeps popping out blockbusters: superhero films. Whether it’s another DC Comics flop, or a snap from the mad titan Thanos, we’ve come to expect a movie with a caped crusader at least once every few months. And perhaps one of the biggest surprises to grace the big screen this past holiday season was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The movie seemed to be a children’s film. So many expected it to fly under the radar. However, it shocked audiences worldwide and took its place as one of the top superhero films of late. With a new and refreshing take on the web head, and a slick animation style immersed in comic book patterns, Into the Spider-Verse gave viewers something different. It paid homage to long-time comic book fans, but also allowed wider audiences to join a fun ride that was both humorous and intricate in a thoughtful story. But what really made this movie, of course, was its characters: Miles Morales, Peter Parker, Peter B. Parker, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir and Peni Parker.
Spoiler warning, the best thing that this movie did was kill off the version of Peter Parker we all know already in the very beginning. It takes away that “here we go again” attitude of approaching Spider-Man films as there’s been so many reboots in recent years. It gives a clean slate and allows anyone watching to just enjoy the movie for what it is without any pre constructed knowledge.
The various versions of Spider-Man actually used were amazing due to the willingness it allows us to feel in watching this film. A Spider-Man movie with Miles as the lead is something comic book-obsessed individuals like myself never thought we’d get, but this first attempt really nails the character. He had the innocence, the humor and the naivety of a new Spider-Man that is not, in fact, Peter Parker. There’s no Uncle Ben (though there’s always some craziness involving an uncle). There’s no Mary Jane. There’s no “been there, done that” nonsense. Miles is that underdog you root for from the beginning, and to see him turn into a hero on the big screen is a treat all on its own.
Not to mention his pairing with Peter B. Parker, an old, past-his-prime Peter Parker, greatly needing some motivation to remind him of why he became Spider-Man, and Gwen Stacy, a version of Spider-Man where Peter died and his first love interest takes up the mantle, was perfect. The two play off not only Miles’ dynamic but each other’s. Peter B. is like the old dad, perfectly nailing that fine line of the humorous idiot and the heart and wisdom of someone who knows what he’s doing. Gwen is the perfect counter to Miles, more outwardly spoken and sarcastic, instantly forming the sparks of a young, super relationship. All three form the perfect trifecta of Spider People, and really build a wonderful foundation for this movie.
Although they were side characters, the other versions included in the film also add a layer of depth, fun and heart that really bring the film full circle. Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker and Spider-Ham (whoever thought we’d get to the day we see him on the big screen?) all stick true to their comic book sources and really complete the image of this movie. They also open the door to what else might come. The ending is left a bit open-ended (because of course they hoped it’d make as much money as it did at the box office), and that just creates more excitement for what many hope to eventually be a sequel.
Spider-Man is a character that’s been around for awhile and there’s so many versions and tweaks to the persona that exist, so it’s hard to narrow down a finite wish list for the next film. Spider-Man 2099 is clear choice, seeing as there was a quick after-credits scene showcasing the character. He has a large fan base comic-book wise, and he might just be the next choice to add to the main three in this film and really delve into. In terms of extra side characters, Scarlet Spider could be a very interesting addition to the likes of Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man Noir. He’s not as well known as 2099, but he’s definitely one viewers might take to well. And on that note, since we were able to have Spider-Ham take the spotlight more than once and resonate as well as he did with audiences, Spider-Punk rocking out on the guitar while fighting baddies could be the perfect strange version of Spider-Man to add to the next film.
It really will be interesting to see what choices are made in terms of the cast if and hopefully when the sequel to this unique film is made. There’s so much that could be done with a movie like this, the possibilities are endless. And as much as I anticipate the next Avengers flick so I can stop crying about all the piles of dust, I really can’t wait to see what else the Spider-Verse has to offer.
Jackson Horvat is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Jackson by tweeting him at @horvatjackson.