I just got in from seeing arguably the greatest Spider-Man movie of all time; an early and biased opinion to be certain, but if nothing else this is the Spidey movie I need right now.
I’ll admit it, the idea of Miles Morales premiere Spider-Flick being an animated one surrounded by other Spider-Men through the ages sounded risky to me, though the genius behind it is right in plain sight. This movie is a big, fat, dripping-with-ink love letter to the Spider-Man mythos, and I loved every moment of it, even the ones that I thought I wouldn’t.
Giant, mutant, literate Green Goblin (and other top-tier villains) serving Wilson Fisk? Not the canon I’m used to, but I welcomed it completely. I opened myself up to this movie and gave it all my trust. Why? Because I’m not the purist teenager I used to be? Maybe. Because I constantly choose to love a movie for the sake of entertainment rather than nitpick? A little closer.
… because the movie literally starts with the Comics Code Approval Stamp?
Right through the gate this movie knows what it is and the vast history it represents and does it so well. From the thought bubbles that have a life of their own to the subtle onomatopoeia accents on any little thing. From the countless easter eggs sprinkled in Miles’ phone contacts to the enormous amount of characters seen and referenced (was that actually Crime-Master I saw on Peter’s wall?). There’s so much love for the genre and the character all throughout, and that’s just speaking for the decoration.
This movie has a whole lot of soul, and doesn’t short change itself. Yes, there’s zaniness and over-the-top happenings, especially with Spider-Ham and Noir (shout out to Nic Cage), because that’s to be expected from an animated movie – doing things that are impossible and giving us a laugh in ways only the animated form can. The great thing here is that this movie upholds the Spider-Man legacy and spirit just as good as we’ve seen it presented on-screen or on page before. We see the fun of being Spider-Man, but we also see the heartache that comes with it. We see a lot of death in here, folks, so maybe don’t bring your kids on that alone, because it gets pretty real in some cases.
What makes this movie succeed is it targets the importance of responsibility as Spider-Man always does, but it emphasizes the burden of expectation. Why… of course! Why wouldn’t it be expectation? All eyes are on Miles and what he’s supposed to do to impress us over what could some day become the status quo of Spider-Man, following in the footsteps of the other Spider-People that have come before. There’s so much attention to expectation that I half-expected them to do some sort of cheesy play on the ‘power and responsibility’ bit, but it never happens. It’s not needed. By the end of it the message gets across clearly – that no matter what is expected of us it’s about “taking a leap” and just doing your best with it, and do it they do.
This is Miles’ movie. The first minute establishes Peter as Spidey, but from the first moment Miles appears on screen humming and singing through a song, I’m sold. Miles isn’t my Spider-Man, but I accept this guy as the new Spider-Man, which is saying something. This is the first time in the midst of all these second-gen heroes like Cho Hulk and Khan Ms. Marvel that I could accept Miles one day being the only Spider-Man we read and experience. Talk about growing up.
Like I said though, Miles isn’t my Spider-Man, it’s Peter. I also mentioned that this is the Spider-Man movie I need right now, because Peter Parker’s arc through this movie really called to me.
Peter in this movie feels like a mock-caricature of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man. He’s an aged Spider-Man who got married, lost Aunt May, and then got divorced when MJ wanted kids (damn, dude, really?). It feels like a ‘what could have been’ for Raimi’s take, considering we left those kids off on the verge of marriage. So here we have Peter, more specifically, a Peter that I really gravitated towards while growing up at his lowest of low. He’s overweight and lazy and not being the best Spider-Man, or Peter Parker, that he can be. He’s also prone to heroic suicide a little too easily which is alarming.
It’s an interesting feeling where you’re sitting there seeing your biggest hero fallen and want nothing more than to smack the guy around the side of the head and tell him to snap out of it, and at the same time realize you’re saying it to yourself. Needless to say, Peter eventually snaps out of it and by the end he rectifies things with MJ. I’m not sitting here saying that I’m in the midst of a failing marriage (I’m actually mere months away from saying ‘I do’), but there are days where I feel like I’m a mere shell of my younger self, and walking away from this movie I was gifted a feeling I hadn’t received from a movie in a while: enlightenment. ‘Nuff said.
Like seriously, ’nuff said. If I go on anymore I’ll just start repeating myself. Go see this movie if you haven’t and if you feel like what I’ve said makes it worth while. It’s a hell of an experience as long as you take the leap and surrender yourself to it.
TL;DR Score: The post-credit scene brings it all full circle… like, literally. This movie might be perfect. It’s… it’s perfect. 10/10. Five Stars. Take my money. EXCELSIOR!