The question has been asked; is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse the best Spider-Man movie? Today we’ll be answering that question.
Is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse the best Spider-Man movie? Arguably. I caught the movie a couple of days ago and I’ve been sitting in meditation, contemplating the truth of this question. And the short conclusion I’ve drawn to is that yes it is for two main reasons. Firstly it’s a fantastic film in it’s own right (but you can read a review on that if you want to know why) but it’s also a Spider-Man film that plays to the audience and the current atmosphere behind the Super-Hero genre.
How Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse compares with the other Spider-Man films
Just to get it out of the way, this is how I’d personally rank all the Spider-Man films, so call me out as you like. (If you’d like the Digital Fox ranking, have a read of this article)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Spider-Man 2
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- Spider-Man 3
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
But Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse tops them all. It’s better than The Amazing Spider-Man in nailing the struggles of being a student. It is nowhere nearly as cliched as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series. Spider-Verse’s mentor-mentee relationships trump Homecoming’s. The action sequences are the best I’ve ever seen (but then again you have a lot more to work with when using animation). The soundtrack is also at least ten times better than the mess which was the collaboration of Hans Zimmer and Pharrell William’s in Amazing Spider-Man 2. But Spider-Verse isn’t afraid to comment and critique on past Spider-Man films either.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is just so choc-filled of references that it’s hard not to love. I lost my mind with all the call-backs to ‘that scene’ in Spider-Man 3 (you know the one I’m talking about), old comic-book clichés which forced the audience to “…Step 3: Re-evaluate [your] personal biases” and so much more. It feels like Sony learned quite a fair bit from Deadpool’s fourth wall breaks.
But there is a reason why people are calling Spider-Verse the best Spider-Man movie. And the realise why that’s the case, we need to go back to where it all began.
A quick lesson on comic-book history
Debuting in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962, Marvel introduced the first teenage superhero. This was huge. The previous 20 years of comic-book landscape was filled solely with adult superheros alongside teenage side-kicks. The adults, Batman, Captain America, The Flash, were getting all the action, accompanied by a young protégé to ramp up sales in the youth market. Because who didn’t want to imagine they couldn’t be Robin, Bucky (Barnes), or Wally (West) teaming up with their heroes. Which was cool, you’d get action and you’d get a break from reality.
But Spider-Man’s introduction was something to watch out for. Now there was a super-hero that teens could relate to, they could think “Wow, I can be Spider-Man!” And it’s not hard to understand why – here’s this 15 year old ‘nerd’ who studies by day, fights crime by night!
Sure the crime-fighting was cool, but audiences were hooked on his love interests. Would he end up with the ‘girl-next-door’ Mary Jane? How about his school romance Gwen Stacy. Yes people loved the web-slinging and ultimatums, but they also craved how Peter faced adversity in high school, how he managed to balance fighting crime, studying for exams, finding love, family, friends, all while trying to be Spider-Man!
And that’s why the youth of the ‘60s going into the ‘70s and ‘80s loved Spider-Man! They couldn’t web-swing around New York, but they could be Spider-Man in the classroom, at home, with friends, anywhere!
But that’s over 50 years ago and there’s been a lot of history since. Today the comic book industry has hit a massive resurgence after nearly collapsing in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s and sales are booming! But the majority of people don’t read comics. They watch the movies.
The current age of comic-book stardom
As of 2018 I think it’s safe to say that Superhero/Comic-book movies are a Juggernaut in the film industry. But it’s also a juggernaut which is getting old. Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine for over 17 years crossing nine films. Sir Patrick Steward as Professor X has been seen for the same amount of time over six films. We’ve seen two Batmen, Supermen, Magnetos, in the space of 10 years. Two Quicksilvers in one year. Robert Downey Jr. has played Iron-Man for 10 years, Chris Evans as Captain America for 8 years.
And we haven’t even looked at the cross over between franchises! Ryan Reynolds’ has been both Green Lantern and Deadpool. Michael B Jordan as the Human Torch and Killmonger. Chris Evans has also appeared as the Human Torch, twice before becoming Captain America. Ben Affleck has been Daredevil as well as Batman! And we haven’t even touched television (but don’t worry we’re not going to)!
A critique on the cash-cow that is Spider-Man
Now let’s look atSpider-Man. Since 2002 (so 16 years now), there’ve been three reboots, and threedifferent iterations of Peter Parker. Let me first say on the record that TobeyMaguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland have done absolute justice to thecharacter. But in 16 years audiences have seen the same shtick again and again.
Tobey Maguire, a 27 year old who was supposed to look like an 18 year old was bullied relentlessly till he got his superpowers. His Peter Parker has been thrust with great power (ergo great responsibility) and focuses ultimately on the responsibility he has to the public, the ones he loves, and the sacrifices he must make in between.
Andrew Garfield, a 29 year old who was supposed to look like a 17 year old was bullied relentlessly till he got his superpowers. This interpretation of Peter Parker was more modern than the Sam Raimi version, and had a more contemporary take on the trials and tribulations of being a teen. As well as a side-plot relating to the death of his parents which didn’t pan out too well…
Tom Holland, a 21 year old who more or less looks like a ripped 16 year old wasn’t exactly bullied relentlessly till he got his superpowers? If anything Tom’s Peter actually bullied his Flash Thompson by continually showing him up with Flash retaliating in frustration. But I digress. Regardless, this Peter is faced with discovering how to be Spider-Man and where he fits in a world with Superheroes. (Also here’s a shameless plug of the Spider-Man: Homecoming review we did).
The point is, while each Spider-Man slowly becomes more modern, it’s ultimately a different play on the same beat. It’s old and it’s been done. And that is why Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is being held as the best Spider-Man movie – it’s on a new beat. And that beat is mostly hip-hop rap.
Why Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man movie
Let’s look at the character Miles Morales. Miles is the son of an African American and Puerto Rican living in Brooklyn rather than Queens. Miles is smart, but after moving schools feels isolated, alone, and under immense stress from a crazy workload. So as the millennials say “feels”, “ooft”, and “me”. But Miles is also more rebellious (but not too angsty), sneaking out of his dorm (to spray paint a mural), sticking his work all around the city, and has this chutzpah both as Miles Morales, and as Spider-Man.
Miles is new, Miles is fresh, Miles is cool. And while Miles is different in many aspects to Peter, there are a lot of similarities. Like his involvement with his uncles death.
More than that, Spider-Verse shows off just how rich the history of Spider-Man is. We get to see mid-life crisis Peter Parker, aging and having troubles with his marriage to Mary Jane.We get to see the introduction of Spider-Gwen (with her own tragic backstory).Then there’s Spider-Man Noir (with his own tragic backstory), Peter Porker (a spider bitten by a radioactive pig…), and Peni Parker (from the 32nd century, tragic backstory included).
The inclusion of all these Spider-People show that the Spider-Man mythos is rich and complex, and reflecting the films, are all very similar. So couple Miles’ character with the rich environment of supporting characters, landscape, and storyline that he’s in, you can’t help but to love this movie. Because it’s different.
One of the main morals to come out of Spider-Verse was that we all have the ability to be Spider-Man. We all inherently have the ability to meet adversity and rise above it. And it also ties into the fact that if we do have the power, we also have the responsibility to help. And I think that that fact is something that the audience can go away with over the other Spider-Man movies. For it’s predecessors, we saw that Peter Parker was Spider-Man, but for Spider-Verse we are shown that we too can be Spider-Man. And Miles Morales can as well.
Tl;dr – Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man movie because it is different, has a truly one of a kind animation style, an amazing soundtrack, killer references, fantastic characters, and it involves the audience in a way that no other Spider-Man has done before.
So is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse the best Spider-Man movie? That’s a strong yes. All in all I would give Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a rating of 8.5/10
If you disagree leave a comment down below or tweet me @ElliMiller17