Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse is literally out of this world. It’s set in a different universe explains Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) AKA Spider-Man. This Hispanic / black Spider-Man debuted in the so-called Ultimate Universe.
The Multiverse gets cracked open like an Easter egg in the opening scene of the trailer. DC universe superheroes Batman and Superman adorn Miles’s bedroom wall. And Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) offers Miles advice that sounds as though is was lifted straight out of the Justice League movie.
Peter cautions, “You can’t think about saving the world, You have to think about saving one person.” It echoes Batman’s advice to Flash to “Just save one person.”
The original live-action Spider-Man movie had a similar tongue-in-cheek reference. Aunt May attempts to take some of the weight off her nephew’s shoulders after she’s hospitalized during a fight between Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man. “You’re not Superman, you know,” she says unaware of his secret identity.
Miles’s secret identity is similarly unknown to his mother, Rio (Luna Lauren Velez), or father, Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry), a police officer gunning for the vigilante. Jefferson presents himself as an upstanding citizen but he has checkered past along with his brother Aaron Davis (Mahershala Ali). He only goes straight after the birth of his son. Aaron, on the other hand, becomes the super villain known as the Prowler. The cat burglar is hired to steal from Osborn Industries and unwittingly brings home a genetically engineered spider that bites his nephew.
In addition to the standard proportional powers of a spider, Miles gains two unique abilities. He can make himself invisible with a Predator-like camouflage and release an electric shock known as a Venom Blast (no relation to that Venom).
The Centenarian Spider-Man
In his comic book debut, Miles assumed the mantle after the presumed death of Spider-Man, who was only slightly older than him. However, the film version of Spidey is alive and kicking though much older. He sports gray hairs and has a weary voice that’s far different than wisecracking goofball we’re accustomed to hearing.
Old man Parker has presumably be through a lot over the years as hinted by his trophy room, which displays many other costumes. Despite having a Spider Cave, he’s no Bruce Wayne. Miles’s common sense tingles when his sketchy mentor asks him to pick up the check.
Peter isn’t the only thing that’s old school about this movie. The 3D animation is contrasted with classic comic book techniques such as captions, sound effects reminiscent of the Batman television show, and Halftone & Ben-Day dots. Together with crazy camera angles they give a surreal sensation like playing a video game.
The ultimate team up will be when Miles meets his soulmate, Gwen Stacy AKA Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), yet another spider-person from yet another universe. Hence the “Spider-Verse.” The character was originally just the girlfriend of Peter but in Spider-Gwen’s universe she was the one bitten by the radioactive spider. She likewise hides her secret identity from her father, police captain Stacy.
Miles met Spider-Gwen while searching the multiverse for his father in Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen: Sitting In A Tree. Gwen explains that part of her attraction to him is that he doesn’t remind her of her universe’s Peter, who tragically died after transforming himself into the Lizard. During their travels they land on a future Earth where the pair are married and celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. Miles insists that he already has enough responsibility. He suggests they just be friends. Gwen agrees, “Just friends . . . for now.”
The Ultimate Universe also has it own Gwen, who was killed by the offspring of the Venom symbiote known as Carnage. She was later resurrected as a clone hybrid possessing the same abilities as Carnage before eventually being depowered.
The Spider-Man Universe is notorious for its convoluted clones and throwing in Multiverse counterparts into the mix could make for stickier situation than a web parachute. My spider sense tells me they’ll likely simplify the story and leave Ultimate Gwen dead . . . for now.
Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse release date: December 14 2018