When I was 2 years old I saw my first ever movie. It was Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. I was amazed by everything. It was my introduction to the character. I quoted Uncle Ben’s famous line every day, to the point my parents were sick of it. Action figures, DVDs of the tv shows, you name it, I had it. I was a super fan. I’ve seen every single Spider-Man movie, I’ve watched the character evolve over the years, but I never thought it would go in this direction. An animated movie staring alternate versions of the character was something I could never have dreamed of. When the reviews came out saying it was great I knew I had to see this one. The reviews left me with one question; is it better than Spider-Man 2? This is your spoiler warning.
It is phenomenal, each character is given a distinct personality, they each have certain mannerisms that really tell you a lot about the characters. Miles is unpolished and scrappy, Peter is lazy and really good at what he does, Gwen is elegant, Noir is an old-timey stereotypical fighter, Peni is very exaggerated, and Spider-Ham is very cartoony. The plot is simple but effective, it isn’t dumbed down for kids and is more mature than I would have predicted. Spider-Man is murdered in the first 20 minutes, you don’t normally see that in a kids movie.
Every joke in the movie landed, I was constantly laughing. Its hard to find that in a modern blockbuster. The emotional moments hit hard, I almost cried when the Spider people went back to their own dimensions. Peter’s goodbye shows that Miles has the skills and the maturity to finally be Spider-Man, and it surprises Peter.
Miles is our main Spidey. It’s the first Spider-man movie without Peter as the protagonist. They had to make sure Miles felt different from Peter, and they succeeded. In the comics, Miles is super uninteresting and has no discernable differences from Peter other then him being black and having cooler powers. I know that’s hard to believe, but let me describe the comic book Miles and tell me if he sounds familiar. Miles is a pretty smart kid who keeps to himself, until one day he is bitten by a radioactive spider that gives him amazing powers. If you think that sounds just like Peter, you are correct.
But the movie doesn’t have this problem in any way, Miles actually has a motivation to be Spider-Man. He’s really passionate about his art, which really sets him apart from Peter. His costume is actually something he made himself and shows his artistic side.
Peter is probably the most tragic character in the movie. He was divorced and had to bury Aunt May. He’s addicted to fast food and is pretty lazy. You’d think that he’s kinda bad at being Spider-Man, but his experience is one of his defining qualities. He has a special name for any kind of bypass key, or override key, he just calls them a goober because it’s easier than remembering the hundreds of names for them. When he eavesdrops on Doc Ock and Kingpin talking about the collider, he can predict what Kingpin will say because of the stereotypes these villains have.
Miles’s Parental Figures
Miles’s Dad and Uncle are both very compelling characters. They each contribute to Miles’s personality in different ways. His Dad teaches him to be lawful and work hard, while his Uncle teaches him to express himself creatively. They aren’t the Angel and Devil on Miles’s shoulder, they each play a positive and negative role in Miles’s life.
This movie looks just like a comic book jumped off the page. I’ve never seen an animated movie like it, the visuals are breathtaking. The music gives each scene its own style and feel. The animation is unique in the fact that it’s animated on 2s, usually, 3D animated movies are animated on 2s, but the frames in between are made to glide to the next position, making it seem like its animated on 1s. But they took out that frame smoothing in some areas, so when a character does a very ungraceful movement they look a bit choppy. The best example of this is the scene where Miles learns to swing. Peter is animated on 1s since he’s graceful, but Miles is on 2s since he’s still learning. This, along with the speed lines, shading lines, and comic dots, help make it look like a comic book leaped off the page.
Go see this movie, it is just as good as Spider-Man 2, but its good in different ways. Which is great. I feel good knowing that kids today have a great Spider-Man movie to see, this movie for them will be what the first Spider-Man movie was for me. Spider-Man is an icon that kids can look up to, and this movie shows them that they can be Spider-Man, no matter what race or gender they are, and that is a message worth spreading.