"My name is Miles Morales. I’m the one and only Spider-Man. At least that’s what I thought"
Written by Ollie C.
Note: This retrospective doesn't contain spoilers for 'Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse'
There aren't many films like this one. There certainly aren't many films that left me feeling the way I did like this one. This film may not only- in my opinion- be the best Spiderman film to date, but one of my favourite films of all time. This is my retrospective, this is my love letter, this is my thank you to everyone behind the making of Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse.
As mentioned above, this film left an impact on me. Even after the emotional torture Avengers: Infinity War put us through, I wasn't prepared for another film to top it in almost every single creative department. But before I talk about my post-viewing feelings, I will discuss my feelings before I saw this film. Upon arrival to the cinema, I was relatively excited, not expecting much but happy to see a Miles Morales tale on the big-screen. The characters seemed fine, but to be honest, I was a little miffed that it was revealed to include 5 other Spider-people. Boy, how wrong I was. This film delivered. And it delivered sublimely.
Even after the film's opening credits, I was sold. The attention to detail that had gone into crafting this movie was undeniably something to behold, the craftmanship seen in every second was applause-worthy. I was overcome with an emotion not felt with many (if any) films before, I was just in absolute awe. And this wasn't just in relation to the BEA-UTI-FUL visuals before me, but the music, the characters, the acting but most importantly the care- the care that had gone into producing a virtually perfect piece of cinema.
I cried. Yes, I cried on multiple occasions throughout this movie. It's not the film that first comes to mind when you think emotional but for some reason this film grabbed me, and it grabbed me like hell. You may be asking: "Where?" or "Why?" or even "How?" but trust me, this film has so many layers, so many themes, it was hard not to find parts of the film associating to our real lives. One of my main reasons for this was just pure happiness (yes cringe, I know) but this film was an absolute masterpiece, a treat for comic book fans that wasn't heavy on nostalgia yet felt fresh along with familiar. I was so happy that this film was even created, I just couldn't keep it in.
There was also a strong sense of pride with this film, I was proud, so proud that finally, a character that had been sidelined for years was finally getting the film he deserved. Miles Morales, voiced by the wonderfully unique and brilliant Shameik Moore, gave this character so much life and energy and vibrancy that made me connect with him more than I could have ever imagined. I severely underestimated the power of animation, I naively thought that I would never feel the same emotional connection to animated characters than I would with live-action, and again, I was so (massively) wrong.
The multiplicity of themes and layers within this movie was unreal, with one of the main themes being identity, something which- myself included- has struggled to deal with in the past, feeling like you don't fit in, or just simply don't belong. And yes, while I haven't had the same identity struggles as Spider-Man, I recognise the underlying societal messages that the film was addressing. And it couldn't have been summarised any better than in the quote:
"One thing I know for sure. Don't do it like me. Do it like you."
This, along with the beautiful quote from the late and loved Stan Lee, that "[the suit] always fits, eventually" conveys the sort of self-appreciation life lesson that is found in many of Lee's comics from the 60's. It was a beautifully poignant and encapsulating quote that reinforced we may not be superheroes in this reality, but we are all superheroes in ourselves, and there's nothing stopping us doing things the way we want to do them.
This film was a turning point. Not only a turning point in animation- and rightly so, it deserves all the awards it has been winning- but a turning point in movies, wholly. This film highlights the importance of family, friends, independence and interdependence. It highlights the importance of love for those close to us and the need for respect for those different. It most importantly highlights the importance to love ourselves, and if we can love ourselves for who we are, then we can grow. It may "take you long enough" but "eventually, the suit will fit" and we will be who we truly are. So let's embrace that. Embrace the spark in ourselves and know that whatever you choose to do with it, you'll be great. We can be our own superhero.
Thank you, Spider-verse team. You exceeded on delivering a movie that I could have only once wished for.
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