Spider-Man is my favorite comic book character of all-time. I grew up as a kid of the Teen Titans then X-Men dominated 80s and 90s. So, finding enjoyment in any Spider-Man book in that era took a lot from a reader. Thankfully, all of these eras combine into a rich tapestry that feeds into the Spider-Verse. What is the Spider-Verse? Well, it’s a dimension spanning story where everyone’s version of Spider-Man gets to team-up and fight villains. That being said, the bulk of this film belongs to the Ultimate Universe and Miles Morales.
This is the point where I’m supposed to say something about Miles Morales. Well, it’s been a few years with the character and I like his supporting cast more than him. Hell, Marvel loved the supporting players so much that they turned Ganke into Ned Leeds for the MCU Spider-Man. A lot of what hurts Miles for me is what makes him accessible to younger readers/viewers. Morales hasn’t had those key moments yet to define him as a hero. Hell, most of the major key points of his character got rewritten when the Ultimate Universe merged into the Regular Marvel Universe after Secret Wars.
If anything, everything since the end of 2016 has been a relaunch for a character that is barely 7 years old. The problem with that is every other iteration of Spider-Man has gotten an equal boost in the same amount of time. While Miles had 5 years to breakout against the older tales of Peter Parker, the last few years have seen a heavy focus on everyone from Scarlet Spider to Spider-Gwen and even Spider-Monkey. Morales always felt ancillary to the Parker showcase, but this film changes things.
Well, I’m not going to pat SONY Animation on the back for doing something that Marvel has been mining for years. However, I will applaud them for making the material accessible to a wider audience. If you can understand Jake Johnson’s Peter Parker as the older Raimiverse version, then you can understand Ultimate Peter and Miles. While Ultimate Peter dies early on in the film, it’s to give sole dimensional focus to Miles. Even when we see Raimiverse Peter training Miles, it’s with the knowledge that this is for him to become his world’s true Spider-Man. Ol’ Pete doesn’t bring up threats like Morlun to him, but you can’t be everyone’s butler.
If there’s one thing that hurts and helps Into the Spider-Verse, it’s the fact that there is too much of a good thing. You can’t focus on Miles’ parents for too long without dealing with The Kingpin. Then, there’s his school friends. Jake Johnson shows up as a magnificent Spider-Man and then new iteration after iteration drops. Hailee Steinfeld has her second amazing film to release this December. Latour and company should be proud of how she defines Gwen Stacy for a new generation of readers/viewers.
However, we keep returning back to the same point. An audience member will have to see it multiple times to know where to look. I wish we got more time with John Mulaney as Spider-Ham. Was Nicolas Cage portraying Spider-Man Noir as Edward G. Robinson? Kimiko Glenn was great as Peni Parker, but why couldn’t we get the Toei version of Spider-Man? He’s back in the comics and he plays far more visually than the Spider-Mecha. Oh well, it’s not like we’re not getting a sequel.
Speaking of which, make sure you stay through the credits. You get a post credits sequence that offers up a fan favorite version of Spider-Man voiced by the best pilot in the Resistance. There is just so much to love here and I hope to see it do well. There’s room for more than one Web Warrior.