It seems old dogs can learn new tricks. Sony has made a move worthy of the Marvel brand. Sony’s past films have been all about how to leverage story to sell products. This time it's a character-driven story and it’s outstanding. It has a great mix of action, humor, and tenderness. This film is a proper origin story that focuses on the character, not the powers.
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is the new Spider-man but he has to learn what this means for him. We also get to see a glimpse of the origin of other Spider themed heroes as they all get pulled into one dimension. Our hero doesn't follow the normal origin as both of his parents are living but he does have an uncle he looks up to, Uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali) and he seems to be a normal kid. I think this makes him more identifiable.
The filmmakers put their characters in difficult situations with hard choices. Watching Miles navigate this world and become a burgeoning hero is very compelling. Heroes need good villains and this one has brought in some excellent talent to voice King Pin (Liev Schreiber), Tombstone(Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III) and Doc Ock (Kathryn Hahn).
Villains need to have depth and their motivations need to be logical to be good, I mean a good bad guy. We can see what King Pin is doing and why he is doing it. He needs to be stopped, but his motivations make scenes. This is what completes this film so nicely. All the characters have clearly defined motivations.
Zoë Kravitz gives a memorable performance of Mary Jane. Her eulogy of the fallen hero is one of the reasons Miles feels the need to carry on the name of Spider-man. She inspires the best in all who remember Spider-man. Having Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) in the film as a love interest /mentor to Miles really ties up a lot of the characters we expect to see in a Spider-man film.
This is the first film to screen after the death of Stan Lee and I admit, it was hard to watch his cameo without feeling a wave of grief. Stan Lee made the superhero a normal perosn and therefore made them easy to connect with as if they could be among us. Some believe when you die you will live on in the memories people have of you. If they are right Stan Lee is an immortal and will never be forgotten.
This gives me hope we can see more because I am down for any direction they want to take from this point. This is a outstanding foundation to build a completely new franchise on. Swing by the theater and see this on the big screen, you won't regret it.
The artwork is outstanding as well. They masterfully use different styles of animation to emphasize a character or show backstory or even to take us out of our normal reality to share in the experiences of the main characters. What stands out is how engaging all of the different spider heroes were, I could stand to see more films of each of them. Yes even Spider-ham, OK maybe a TV show for him.
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