Thanks to my dad, I grew up on Comic Books. I remember eagerly waiting for my dad to get home from the shops because it was almost guaranteed that he would be bringing home a Comic of some sorts for me or just being excited to go to the shops with my parents because I knew that I would be allowed to sit and go through all the Comics a store had to offer while my parents did their shopping.
Comic Books were always something that brought my dad and I together. He used to read them when he was my age and after he was finished reading them he would spend hours drawing the characters and making up his own stories to go with them. A habit and love affair that was proudly passed down to me, along with a rather sizeable Comic collection that I still add to and cherish to this day. As I grew older fewer of the general stores stocked Comics anymore and unless you were lucky enough to have parents who loved Comics like me, or you lived close to a specialized Comic retailer – the harder it became to just pick one up whenever you were out, something that while it never affected me, has had an effect on a lot of children today.
Which brings us to a really important question, in a world where an entire generation of children aren’t easily exposed to the wonders of Comic Books and aren’t growing up with them around anymore, how do we introduce them and make them relevant again?
This is a question I’ve been pondering for awhile. It all started back when I was still a full-time Dance teacher and I realized that the only reason most children knew about the Superheroes that I fell in love with as a child and that helped shape me into the person I am today is because of the movies and that very few of them, if any at all, had ever read a Comic in their lives… They simply didn’t come from families who bought them Comics and it isn’t something they were exposed too.
But how do we go about changing that? How do we get an entire generation to walk into a Comic Book store for maybe the first time ever and pick one up?
I believe Into the Spider-Verse is the answer and that’s why it might just be the most important Marvel movie you will ever see and the start of something wonderful.
Without going into any spoilers (an almost impossible task) let’s talk about Into the Spider-Verse:
For anyone who doesn’t know what the Spider-Verse is, it’s a Comic storyline that was created in 2014 where multiple different versions of Spider-Man, from all the different dimensions, and styles, exist together in one world, working to stop a threat to reality as we know it. This movie is set in that Spider-Verse. The story focuses on a young boy, Miles Morales, who loves Spider-Man and tagging buildings with his art. One night while tagging a wall he gets bitten on the hand by, you guessed it, a radioactive spider and shortly thereafter he starts developing all the classic Spider-Man abilities and, along with it, witnesses the death of the reigning Spider-Man and the introduction to a whole bunch of new ones (including Spider-Gwen, one of my all-time favourite heroes).
“What makes you different is what makes you Spider-Man”
That’s the tagline for the movie that looks to break every rule and boundary and succeeds, helped in no small part by the amazing characters and the all-star cast that brings them to life. Notably we have Shameik Moore as Miles, our young teenage protagonist; Hailee Steinfeld as the forever awesome Spider-Gwen; Jake Johnson as the most depressing version of Peter Parker; Kimiko Glenn as the bad-ass anime Peni Parker and Sp//dr; Nicholas Cage as the detective Spider-Man Noir; Lily Tomlin as the forever enduring Aunt May and John Mulaney as ADORABLE Spider-Ham.
Into the Spider-Verse is a fast paced, action packed and emotional roller coaster that will keep you enthralled from its dorky opening scenes to its tear-jerking cameo by Stan Lee – it doesn’t matter how old you are either, Into the Spider-Verse offers enough for everyone of all ages to relate to and love. One of the things that separates Into the Spider-Verse from the Marvel animated movies that have come before is its unique style and the approach they took to telling the story. Instead of just taking the Comics and turning them into a movie, it’s like they took the movie and worked on turning it into a Comic.
The entire movie has that very specific Comic Book shading to it, and every version of Spider-Man is animated in the same style that they were originally drawn in – this makes for a visually diverse and stunning film. You wouldn’t think that the different styles would transfer into one movie so seamlessly, but they do and a big part of tying all these styles together is the storytelling. Each time a character is introduced to us they take us through their origin story in a way you would only expect to see from a Comic strip: the use of thought bubbles, written sound effects and the recognizable strip format just helps to tie everything together and creates such a unique experience that its honestly incomparable to anything else I’ve ever watched. The only comparison that feels fair is to the actual Comics themselves and even then, this stands alone somewhere light years ahead.
This is a movie that any Spider-Man fan NEEDS to watch and it’s filled with so much nostalgia and lore that you’ll find yourself wanting to go back and watch it again and again. It’s also a movie that’s so pretty, entertaining, and funny that it will be responsible for creating a whole new generation of Spider-Man and Comic Book fans.
With Into the Spider-Verse, Marvel and Sony have found a way to breathe a new life into Comic Books while still maintaining all of the magic and wonder that Comics have always held.
This is honestly the future of Comic Book movies and how we get an entire generation to fall back in love with Comics and with it reading and art. I can’t wait to go watch this again with my friends and family once it hits cinemas and share this experience with them!
Disclosure: Contantine104 was invited to the press preview of the movie.