Among Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s many wall-crawlers, the movie marks the debut of Spider-Man Noir, voiced by Nicolas Cage. And while Cage's old-fashioned, pulp detective Spider-Noir doesn’t have the largest of roles in Into the Spider-Verse, he's going to have plenty of fans leaving the theater hungry for more.
As it is with many comic book stories and character, Spider-Man Noir has been subtly altered in his journey to the big screen. Due to of his limited screen time Spider-Man Noir’s formative days are mainly skipped over, which means his unusual, mystical origin story only alluded to, but never fully explained. Does Spider-Man Noir’s portrayal do justice to his original stories? Here’s a breakdown of everything that you need to know about Spider-Man Noir’s comic book origins, and his arc within Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Man Noir's Movie & Comic Origin
Created by David Hine, Carmine Di Giandomenico and Fabrice Sapolsky back in 2009, Spider-Man Noir was introduced as part of the adult-orientated Marvel Noir mini-series, which re-imagines many of their most famous heroes, from Wolverine to Daredevil. Set in the 1930s, these minimalist stories downplay superpowers, focusing more on the antics of hard boiled detectives, genre fiction, and morally bleak situations. As it is in the mainstream Marvel Universe, Spider-Man proved to be one of the most popular mini-series in the imprint.
In his original story and its sequel, Eyes Without a Face, Peter Parker tackles mobsters in Prohibition-era New York (officially the alternate reality designated Earth-90214), before eventually taking part in the comic book Spider-Verse event to defeat the inter-dimensional threat of the Inheritors. Much like his mainstream counterpart, Peter Parker is raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May... but from there on, things get very different.
As recompense for organizing a strike at a sweatshop, Ben is eaten by the cannibalistic Adrian Toomes, one of Norman Osborn’s henchmen - a villain re-imagined as 'The Goblin,' a mob boss who cultivates New York’s corrupt status quo. Furious and vengeful, the idealistic, hot-headed Peter is trained as a Daily Bugle reporter by Ben Urich. When Peter tracks one of Goblin's shipments, mystical spiders bite him after their antique casing breaks whilst it is being unloaded. As a result, Spider-Man Noir retains many of the original wall-crawler’s powers, though with several differences.
He isn't as strong as the original Peter Parker, but he can produce organic webbing. In contrast to his fellow Spider-Men, Noir can only spray wide nets instead of ropes. As a result, he prefers to tackles the city's organized crime via parkour, as opposed to web slinging. And if we're being literal, the Spider-Man Noir comic favors muted browns, blacks and greys in its coloring. Yet Into the Spider-Verse opts for a complete black-and-white aesthetic (Noir and his world are so starkly un-colored that he is entranced by the hues seen on a Rubik’s Cube).
In terms of Peter himself, Into the Spider-Verse tones down his use of lethal force, to ensure that the film remains family-friendly. Plus, the film depicts Noir as a humorous character, with Nicolas Cage mimicking the dialects and expressions of Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney to emphasize the stereotypical world that his Spider-Man is from. It's a bit of fun for the movie version, since the comics present Spider-Man Noir's lead as one of the most serious and level-headed of all Spidey's many incarnations.
Spider-Man Noir's Movie Future?
Though Spider-Man Noir’s published future is uncertain after "Spider-Geddon" depicted his death against the dreaded Morlun, it seems that Noir will continue to have a bright future within the Spider-Man mythos, thanks to Marvel's other media. From Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions to Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, Noir frequently appears as an alternate costume or playable character. Moreover, in the latter game he was voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, who also starred as Spidey in 2018’s blockbuster Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 game, where Noir’s costume was one of the earliest skins players unlocked.
Prior to Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man Noir also featured in Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, where he’s played by Milo Ventimiglia. But Spider-Man Noir will almost certainly return to the big screen again, in some shape or form. Spider-Man: Far From Home won’t feature any dimension-hopping (as far as we know) yet it will see Tom Holland’s Spidey acquire a movie version of Spider-Man's stealth suit in his fight against Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). The stealth suit’s lack of Spider-insignia - and its minimalist design - are clearly call-backs to Spider-Man Noir’s outfit.
It’s doubtful that Spider-Noir is popular enough to receive his own movie spin-off, akin to Spider-Gwen's plans for a solo movie. However, given that Spider-Man Noir has already proven to be a hit with audiences, and that many other Spider-People are sure to cameo in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s sequel, it seems likely that Noir will be seen once again. Learning about color, as he attempts to save the multiverse.
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018