WARNING: Spoilers for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse fixes a failure of the MCU version of the character. The Sony animation is not only one of the best Spider-Man movies, but one of the best superhero films in recent memory, bringing together multiple versions of the webhead for an incredible, heartfelt adventure.
At the center of the action is Miles Morales, who takes on the mantle as his dimension's main Spidey after Peter Parker is killed by Kingpin. Much of Miles' story is specific to his origin – his policeman father, his uncle being the Prowler - but there's one crucial overlap between Miles and Peter that Into The Spider-Verse acknowledges: in the film, Morales constructs his own suit, completing his journey into accepting the mantle and owning his new heroic role.
For all the neat new ways the Marvel Cinematic Universe re-contextualized Spider-Man, one of the ongoing additions that stands out against the comic book source is Peter's constant use of suits given to him by Tony Stark. As a prodigy in his own right, traditionally Parker builds his own suits, going through version after version before creating some variation on the iconic blue, red and black look we're all familiar with. It's always been a rite of passage for the teenage hero, and a solidification of his independence in a universe filled with teams and alliances.
Having Stark give Peter his suit in Captain America: Civil War was a good move thematically; Stark being a father figure to the fresh-faced Avenger-to-be was an effective way to bring the character into the fold. It helped, too, to avoid things we'd already seen in the previous big-screen versions, among them being a montage of designing the suit. But the reliance on Stark tech has meant the MCU's iteration of one of Marvel's flagship creations is living under the shadow of the franchise a bit more than necessary. A sequence of Peter putting on the mask and firmly embodying Spider-Man on his terms is something we've missed in his MCU outings to date (so far, the only homemade suit is an early version).
In Into The Spider-Verse, making his outfit and choosing to enter the fray is something Miles does of his own volition, and the process truly emboldens his status as the new webhead. Morales takes control of a complicated situation, deciding he'd rather risk his life with the powers he has fighting for good than letting others decide for him. And part of that is the ritual of making his own distinct spin on the mask and body-suit, so everyone knows it's Spider-Man, but different.
That he uses Peter Parker's lab and resources only makes it that much more gratifying, because it's an intertwining of the new and the old. Spidey is one of Marvel's biggest superheroes – his iconography has been a central part of the company's branding for years – and there's no getting away from the weight of that kind of history. Miles is picking up a hefty torch from someone who's carried it for decades, but Peter would want to help anyone stepping into his place as much as he can, because nobody knows more than him how tough the job of being Spider-Man is.
It'll be interesting to see what Spider-Man: Far From Home adds to Tom Holland's Peter Parker, given that it's expected that, at the very least, Tony Stark will be taking a backseat in the franchise post-Avengers 4. Perhaps there we'll get to see what kind of suit that Spider-Man would build for himself (apart from the rough DIY prototypes). But among all the things Marvel Studios should take away from the enormously positive response Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is getting, not overlooking some of the most tried-and-tested symbolism is definitely a key factor.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019