I have to admit, I’m not really one for comics. I’ve never been really into Marvel, or DC, or anything other than my small selection of tie-in comics for The X Files and Doctor Who. But I’ve always had a fondness for Spider-Man, despite not having read the comics. I grew up on the Tobey Maguire films, then saw the first Andrew Garfield one, but never got round to seeing his second film or Spider-Man: Homecoming. I’d still like to see them, though, and it’s one of the reasons I decided to go to the cinema to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Having missed Homecoming in the cinemas, I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the film, other than it looked quite fun. It was a really great blend of CGI and comic book graphics, with it truly feeling like a comic book come to life. It was clear from the off that this film was a labour of love by the animators. There were lots of familiar names and faces even for a comic book novice like myself, with the plot hinging on character Miles Morales, who even I vaguely knew.
I didn’t know a great deal about Miles’ background, beyond that he came into the comics as a new Spider-Man, but the film wonderfully detailed the story in a way that is surely as fun for long-time fans as it is for new fans like me. The film also gave me my first real taste of Spider-Gwen- also known as Spiderwoman, who was a character I had always been interested. But unfortunately the task of unravelling where to start with those comics was too daunting.
The film wasn’t all fun and games, though, and I’ll admit I shed a tear or two a few times. Not just because of Stan Lee’s cameo, either. Now, I don’t want to spoil the film for those who have yet to see it, but there are a few real emotional moments that help drive the plot and also ground the movie somewhat. There are a few close calls and even a few tear-jerker moments for our characters, all of which just adds to the beauty of the film.
The film also makes some great references to Spider-Man moments of the past- including the now-infamous emo dance from Spider-Man 3, and the truly terrible-looking Spider-Man lollies you used to be able to get. It was at times bordering on ridiculous, but that only added to the charm. Oh, and by the way, Aunt May’s a badass.
The film, as a whole, was a perfectly woven web of enjoyment for me, and definitely reignited my love of Spider-Man. It’s definitely pushed me to look into the comics I’ve been too scared to look at (here’s looking at you, Spider-Gwen), too. For anyone who’s even vaguely interested in comic books, this is a film for you. And if nothing else, the film left me with this quote from the legendary Stan Lee to think about:
That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.