I have to admit that when I saw the second preview of this film, I thought this movie would be awful. Spider-Ham threw me off and I was less inclined to go see the film. I still planned to go but I got too busy with life and missed it in theaters. This past weekend, I got it at Redbox. Here’s what I thought.
Let’s start with what I didn’t need. We really didn’t need Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Mam and Peni Parker. I feel like the purpose of these three additional characters were to one, show the different dimensions that were in danger by using various types of animation to convey the background of these characters. Also, it was very ambitious to include all these forms of animations, but somehow, it came together beautifully. I say all that to say that the story would have been just as impactful with just Miles, Gwen and Peter. Although Gwen, Peter and Miles are from parallel universes and you would miss the severity of the situation without the other three, I could have done without them. I also would have loved if Miles spoke more Spanish. He is Afro-Latino and for middle American, they have no real idea what that means. We’re progressive as Americans but this is still more of a foreign concept for people. He spoke Spanish like five times the whole movie and it was stuff that I learned to say in high school.
On the flip side, I loved that we finally get a Miles Morales movie. I love that the studios, producers and writers even ventured into making this film and making it animated at that. I also thoroughly enjoy the fact that Afro-Latino children get a superhero that looks and moves like them. I am a black woman and it’s great that the black community is getting black superheroes; however, being black is not just one thing. So not every superhero relates to all black boys and girls. Miles is a game changer, in my opinion, in the world of superheroes, animation and Marvel itself. I want to see more Asian, African, Hispanic, Indian or even Native American superheroes. I want to see the powers that be get out of the box of a white male or white female superhero. I want more Black Panthers, Aquamans and Into the Spider-Verses.
I want to take this time to get a special shoutout to a couple of voice actors in this film: Shameik Moore, Mahershala Ali, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III and Brian Tyree Henry. First, I love Shameik and I think he did a brilliant job as a confused and scared Miles. Mahershala Ali should already know he’s flawless but in case you and he doesn’t know, he’s the greatest and voices Uncle Aaron. We only got to hear Krondon for a second but whenever you hear his voice, you know it’s him. Brian Tyree Henry has had a blissfully successful 2018 and will have an eve better 2019. Henry voices Miles’ dad. Also, does Liev Schreiber ever play anyone besides a villain? I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a good guy role.
Let’s talk about the relationship between Miles and his dad. As a black woman, just to see that Miles had a dad in his life who was a police officer and loved his son was powerful. Small history lesson. The dynamic of the black family, where there is a mom and dad present, started to disintegrate in the late 70’s, early 80’s. There were a variety of reasons why but most people agree that it was drugs and jail. I say that to say that it is refreshing to see a black man present in his black child’s life. It also made that “Say I love you, dad” joke much funnier to me. There was also that struggle for influence between his dad and his uncle. We all have similar struggles at one time or another between maybe mom and a favorite aunt or dad and grandpa or any combination of the sort. Either way, I loved that that was a focus for this film, the story and journey of a black man and his son.
Lastly, as a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, I love Stan Lee. My favorite cameos from Stan in these movies have been when he was the delivery guy looking for “Mr. Stank” and when he was in the casino in Black Panther and took all the chips. His cameo in this film would probably come in third. His cameo in this film was perfect. He was the owner of a comic book store where Miles comes in to get a Spider-Man costume so he can assume his role as the new Spider-Man in his dimension. Miles asks Stan will the costume fit and Stan tells him that the suit always fits, eventually. Now, a second after he says that we see the sign that the signs says no returns and refunds ever but I love this line. Later, if you remember this line, when we get to the end of the film and Miles officially introduces hisself, it becomes more impactful. I also loved the quote from Stan that they ended the film with.
I now understand who this won an Oscar over Incredibles 2 (I still love that movie and thought there could have been a tie) and I applaud the animators, writers, producers and directors for making this both a fun film and a message film for kids. Miles was right, “You can wear the mask”.