I decided to make my first review a light one: Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse. Like many people, I have been taken in by the Marvel craze. Then again, given my penchant for their comics when I was younger, this was probably predictable. I have to confess, though, to not being the biggest fan of animated movies. Being usually catered to children (and there is nothing wrong with that), I find the familiar tropes all to predictable. The animation is usually fine, although with Marvel’s latest iteration there were moments when parts of scenes were out of focus, so much so that I wondered if I was supposed to be looking at it with 3-D glasses. But that is enough technical mumbo jumbo.
What helped me to overcome my premonitions of doom was to see whether or not they were going to try to fit Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse into the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe it has been putting together since who knows when at this point? In short, it did not. Instead, it slipped into the madness of alternate realities and colliding space-time continuums and some other quantum physics jargon thrown in for good measure. To this humble viewer, it seems that Marvel was trying to cover its tracks with previous franchises that were not tied into its current universe building cinematic empire by telling moviegoers that alternate realities are a thing. Hence we get not only three Spidermans (Spidermen?), but a Spiderwoman, a sort of Spider-noir detective, an anime Spider-robot, and a Spider-ham of all things. For those who pay attention to such things, there have been many different versions of the famous web-slinger, but seeing them all thrown together into one film was a bit much.
This is not to say that the film lacked fun. Spiderman is supposed to be a wise-cracker, something close to being on par with Deadpool, but without the dark, murderous side. Still, my radar went up when my ears were treated to samples of Biggie Smalls and Blackalicious. This movie was clearly intended to be a lighthearted Marvel movie, though with some weighty themes (more about those in a moment). Perhaps this is making a mountain out of a molehill, but should kids be hearing the music of a rapper like Biggie Smalls? His music is not innocent. Blackalicious is fine, though. Go listen to “Make You Feel that Way” if you do not believe me.
Where Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse really shines, though, is in an oft-repeated phrase: leap of faith. One of the Spidermen (it does not matter which) tells Miles Morales (this film’s nominal star) that in order to realize his full potential is the wall-crawler heir apparent, he has to trust in his own abilities. This spoke to me on a faith level. God has given all of us certain talents that we can either utilize to our benefit, or ignore to our detriment. Part of life, of growing up, is coming into those skills. Thus the movie becomes a classic coming-of-age story, despite all the chaotic colors and alternate realities.