With Venom rolling into theaters like a turd in the wind this weekend, Sony Pictures has released their second trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as a means to make amends. We’ve had a lot of questions surrounding their Spider-Man movie strategy (aka the SUMC), but we’ve never doubted what they’re crafting over on the animated front. For the first time, the comic book experience appears fully realized complete with zip zap zop sound effects, word balloons, and action lines.
Having already experienced eight films featuring the character, and with three different actors portraying him, you would think we would have reached a peak saturation point. Not so. Give us all the Spidey comic books, cereals, Christmas albums, and so-so popsicles we can devour. It turns out one Spider-Man is not enough to satiate our appetite, we need at least five more.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse looks pretty weird on the surface. I mean, yeah, Peter Porker the Spider-Ham voiced by John Mulaney. Never thought I would live to see that day. In this age of Infinity War and the impending Kree/Skrull invasion, we should probably stop being shocked. Given the right talent involved, even the silliest and most earnest comic books can be realized cinematically.
For all its quick shots of Kingpin, The Scorpion, The Prowler, and Green Goblin, the film seems to remain focused on the emotions of our heroes. Directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman understand that Spider-Man is more about the awkward/painful relatability of the character and less about his rogue’s gallery. We crave the punching, but it’s really essential that Peter Parker makes it home to Mary Jane, or that Miles Morales aces that science exam.
We demand superheroes with the same pedantic problems that trouble us all. That’s the gift that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko gave the comic book world. How do extraordinary people balance absurd costumed confrontations with getting the laundry done, or paying for web-fluid?
Now, Hollywood demands that the stakes skyrocket for each entry in a neverending franchise. Breaking down the walls of the multiverse and unleashing Spider-geddon upon New York City fits the bill. However, sequels often struggle in concocting a stable script for so many characters. Which makes the biggest question I have for this Spider-Verse: “Will Spider-Ham have enough room to achieve an emotional arc?”
Miles Morales is the heart of this story. He’s new to the superhero business, and he’s struggling with the equilibrium between crime-fighting, school life, and family. His relationship with his father is typical teenager stuff, and it’s only going to become more complicated if/when his secret identity as Brooklyn’s wall-crawler is exposed.
The word “Love” is exchanged between father and son on two occasions in the trailer. That is critical to the success of the character and the film. The cynical fan can enjoy all the grunting/grimacing action of BvS, but Spider-Man has to live in the saccharine and the hopeful.
I’m excited to see Spider-Gwen, Spider-Nicolas Cage, and the mech-armored Peni Parker, but if the film fails on the heart of that relationship, then it fails the entire Spider-Verse. Based on the trailer, I’m feeling confident that Sony will deliver on all aspects with this film. I’m certainly more excited by the Spider-Verse than any Kraven, Silk, Black Cat, or Rocket Racer spinoff they’ve got cooking over there.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hits theaters on December, 14th.