2018 was not awesome.
Whether it be from radical political controversy, loss of friends or family members, or just general disappointment, we all had some low moments of this last year.
But just as we were crawling to the finish line, barely escaping the end of 2018, something happened. Something so hopeful and redeeming, coincidence is out of the question; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was created to give us hope.
On December 14, Sony Pictures released Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Directed by Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr., and Rodney Rothman, the film takes place in Brooklyn when Miles Morales is bitten by a radioactive spider.
Sound familiar? That’s because Miles’ universe is only one of several, each with a different version of “Spider-Man.” With the voice talents of Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld and Nicolas Cage, the diverse cast builds an unstoppable spider crew against the revenge-seeking Kingpin, creating a never before seen plot in the Marvel universe.
But a unique idea and fantastic ratings (97% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes!) are not enough to have saved us from the hell that was 2018. Fortunately, “Spider-Verse” has groundbreaking animation, a killer soundtrack, and a message of the importance of individuality, which sets it apart from any other film I have ever seen.
Using techniques usually considered non-traditional, Sony animators were able to create a moving comic book. Each character is uniquely designed differently from the other, sceneries are complicated and detailed, and unexpected speech and action bubbles are constantly complimenting the entire feeling of the movie.
After seeing the film, it’s easy to understand how it took over 800 people four years to make this masterpiece.
Persichetti said, “…if it looks and feels like something from an animated film, it’s not our movie”.
One can only expect other animators to take note.
As I’m writing this, I hear artists like Post Malone, Nicki Minaj, and Jaden Smith coming through my headphones as they sing songs from the film’s soundtrack. With a blend of current hip hop and pop, this soundtrack is the pad of butter on top of a hot pancake. The sound of smooth voices melting to the action of Miles swinging through the air is unlike any other superhero movie. That coupled with the intense and blaring sound effect made when villain, Ultimate Prowler, enters a scene, the film successfully creates a fun and suspenseful environment, which can be enjoyed over and over again (I know because I’ve seen this three times).
The last, and possibly the most important reason for participating in this event (yes, event), is the hopeful message it gives to ALL viewers.
First of all, I was so happy to see an Afro-Latino young boy as a relatable, struggling, real protagonist. The film also features female superheroes and villains, multilingual speaking families, and several different portrayals of loss and trials experienced through life.
While watching this at the end of a hard year, I was immediately reminded of the difficulties I experienced during 2018. My grandpa died. Several family members got sick, including myself. I started to understand what it really means to have anxiety and depression. The hard part of life just became real in 2018. And as silly as it sounds, this animated film captured the feeling of confusion and loneliness so well. But more importantly, it captured the feelings of individual importance, love and support from family and friends, and meaningful success in life. It teaches that even when you feel at your lowest, someone else has been there too.
Just because we won’t wake up one day to have supernatural abilities, we do have the power and obligation to radiate positivity and change the world for the better, even when it feels really, really, hard.
As Miles says, “Anyone can wear the mask. You can wear the mask. If you didn’t know that before, I hope you do now”.
Story by: Amanda Walton