Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

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As a one-time publisher of Marvel Comics, it was always challenging for me to come up with new ways to tell the same stories. You had to be respectful of the canon that Stan Lee created, but how could you give it fresh twists in order to keep selling Spider-Man comic books?

Well, Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures have come up with a gimmick to give you a new Spider-Man movie with several versions of your favorite web-swinger.

Simple – just put Spidey in a shared multiverse.

The new animated film is called “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” And to give it a new storytelling twist, Spider-Man is black.

And he’s an older version of Peter Parker.

And he’s a pig.

Among numerous other incarnations.

Here we have Miles Morales (voiced by rapper-actor Shameik Moore), a half-Puerto Rican, half-black teenager from Brooklyn who has spider-like abilities. He’s being mentored by Peter B. Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson), an older Mr. Miyagi version of Spider-Man.

To confuse identities even more, Miles takes on the superhero mantle after the real Spider-Man (voiced by Chris Pine) dies.

Other Spider-Men in the film include Peter Porker / Spider-Ham (voiced by John Mulaney), Peni Parker (voiced by Kimiko Glenn), and Spider-Noir (voiced by Nicolas Cage). And there’s a brief appearance in the post-credit scene of Spider-Man 2099 (voiced by Oscar Isaac).

Everybody’s getting in on the act in these shifting universes.

Need more proof? Look at the supporting characters: Aunt May (voiced by Lily Tomlin). Gwen Stacy (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld). Mary Jane Watson (voiced by Zoe Kravitz). The Prowler (voiced by Mahershala Ali). Wilson Fisk (voiced by Live Sheiber). Vanessa Fisk (voiced by Lake Bell). Doc Ock (voiced by Kathryn Hahn). The Green Goblin (voiced by Jorma Taccone). And Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee has a posthumous role in the film giving the Spider-Man costume to our hero, Miles Morales.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is introducing this new pantheon of superheroes this week at Tropic Cinema.

The plot is fairly familiar: Our new Spider-Man “must juggle his high school life with his status as a superhero.”

The hook here is that in the Spider-Verse there can be more than just one Spider-Man.

Let’s just hope it’s not too much of a good thing.

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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