This is an animated addition to the Spiderman universe. In this version, teenage Miles Morales is given the Spiderman powers. He is then aided in growing into his role as a Spiderman by several alternate reality Spidermen, and battle supervillians in order to save all the realities.
Sounds confusing, yes? And on paper, I suppose it is. But watch the movie, if you haven’t already. It works on many levels. We have the intelligent, somewhat idealistic teenage Morales given the chance to use his new superpowers to do the good he has always wanted to. He is also just as confused and unsure of those powers as any newly minted (or bitten) Spiderman. The juxtaposition of Miles’ awkwardness when his powers bloom unexpectedly at school with a comic book version of Peter Parker in the same predicament gives us a familiar hook to go forward with. There are differences, of course. Miles is African-American and Puerto Rican, his family is alive, and he doesn’t seem to have the super-angsty personality that marks many superheroes. Still, this is a Spiderman who feels familiar and is a good fit into the Spider-Verse.
Perhaps the best part of the movie is the relationship between the older Peter B. Parker and Miles. Parker here is in his late thirties, overweight, depressed, and sure he has become a failure. Miles is fresh, young, and eager to learn. It’s a flip on the usual superhero mentor scenario. The mentor in this case is down on his luck, experiencing a middle age crisis, and feels he has nothing left. In this case, the kid has as much to teach the mentor as the mentor does the kid.
The animation is wonderful- lush, colorful, and dramatic. Scenes jump out and rush by like the panels in a comic book. Supervillians are just that- super. Action is never far from the camera. The cast is more than capable of building their roles into believable characters. The little nods to some of the Spiderman iterations in the comics that might not be as well known to those only familiar with the movies were added well, and shouldn’t have been confusing to those of the movie only fandom.
Overall, a good movie and a fitting addition to the world of Spiderman. ===============================================================
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