Fans of Marvel and of its comic-book character Spider-Man had plenty of reasons to rejoice when “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” a co-production by Marvel Studios and Sony-owned Columbia Pictures premiered last July. It was considered a return to top form for the web-swinging hero following Sony-Columbia’s failed cinematic reboot of their original film trilogy (directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire) with two movies starring Andrew Garfield. Regarding the agreement about film usage of Spider-Man between Marvel Studios and Sony, the former could include the character in their MCU verse as part of an ensemble, while the latter remains responsible for solo cinematic outings.
It’s therefore in that vein that Sony Pictures Animation is preparing to release “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” next year, a feature-length 3D-animated film featuring New York City’s wall-crawling crime-fighter. Polygon reports that a trailer has been put up online that had been receiving a lot of positive reactions.
For those who are worried about character dilution, given that the present live-action Spider-Man/Peter Parker (portrayed by Tom Holland) is reappearing in “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018 too, “Into the Spider-Verse” avoids that landmine by making its main-character the other prominent Marvel character using the Spider-Man name nowadays, Afro-Hispanic teen Miles Morales (here voiced by Jamaican-American rapper-actor Shameik Moore).
Further details on the movie’s plot have yet to be divulged by Sony Pictures Animation, but “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” appears to be taking plot elements from two main sources. First is the now-defunct Ultimate Marvel comic book imprint, wherein Peter Parker dies in action as Spider-Man (2011) leading Miles Morales, who also received spider-powers from a different genetically-enhanced arachnid, to take up the mantle in Peter’s place.
The Ultimate line ran from 2000 to 2015, wherein Miles and several unique characters from the imprint were carried over as characters in the main Marvel comic universe, causing him to co-exist with a still-alive and older Peter Parker, and sharing his costumed identity.
Also providing material for this animated movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is the 2014 crossover storyline “Spider-Verse,” where Peter and Miles (still in separate comic universes at that point) along with a multitude of more alternate-universe Spider-Men (and Women) join forces in a desperate alliance to stop the inter-dimensional being Morlun from killing them all. This is quite reinforced by taglines from the trailer (“Enter a universe where more than one wears the mask.”) and the final scene where Miles incredulously asks another Spider-Man, “How many of us are there?”
Comments on the trailer have praised the detailed CGI animation, although some reviewers were leery of the intentional jerky frame-rate during character movement, though some would defend the style as trying to emulate comic-book frames, like Miles’s free-fall sequence. Commenters are near-universal though in declaring this preview of “Into the Spider-Verse” as being superior to Sony Animation’s more recent entries, the critically-panned “Emoji Movie” last July, and the November-premiering Christmas film “The Star” which earned mixed reviews.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” also stars the voice talents of Mahershala Ali (from Marvel-Netflix’s “Luke Cage”) as Miles’s uncle Aaron Davis/The Prowler, Brian Tyree Henry as Miles’s dad Jefferson Davis, and Live Schreiber in a yet-unrevealed role. Directed by Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti and Rodney Rothman, the movie is due to premiere one year from now, on December 2018.
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