HEAT VISION

2018 Has Become the Year of Peak Spider-Man

The 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' trailer is the latest in a string of hits for the wall-crawler.

It’s no secret that Spider-Man is having a pretty stellar year. With web-slinger holding down a central role in the year’s biggest film, Avengers: Infinity War, an Amazing Spider-Man comic book relaunch from Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley and an upcoming Miles Morales: Spider-Man relaunch from Saladin Ahmed and Javier Garron, a record-breaking video game for the PlayStation 4, and spinoff character Venom set to take a bite out of the box office this weekend, 2018 couldn’t be more favorable for our friendly neighborhood hero. And that’s the case before we even get to what will surely be the grand finale of this year’s Spidey extravaganza: the animated feature, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

The latest trailer for Sony Animation’s film introduces us to a whole lot of dimensional weirdness and establishes the comic book multiverse in a way that no theatrical superhero release has attempted before. We’re introduced to Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) through a montage that highlights several iconic moments from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004), including an upside-down kiss with Mary Jane and stopping a runaway train. But this version of Peter Parker seems disenchanted with his life as Spider-Man after all of his heroic efforts and there’s a sense created that his best days are behind him, that is until he’s given a new purpose as a mentor.

While there’s been numerous ways that Marvel’s heroes and villains have crossed into other dimensions in the comics, here the source of the rift between dimensions will be a super collider that plays into the schemes of the Kingpin of Crime, Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber). Although the Kingpin is primarily known as an adversary of Daredevil, he began as a Spider-Man villain, one whom fans have waited years to see face off against the web-slinger onscreen. With Vincent D’Onofrio’s exceptional take on the character seemingly relegated solely to Marvel’s Netflix properties, it seems unlikely that we’ll see him face off against Tom Holland’s Spider-Man anytime soon. But Into the Spider-Verse, like the PS4’s Spider-Man, is taking full advantage of Wilson Fisk’s presence in Spider-Man’s life.

With as many heroes as the film features, six confirmed so far, it would stand to reason that the Kingpin won’t be the only threat. Could a showdown with the Sinister Six be in store for the Spider-people while they also try to prevent all of reality from collapsing? Previous footage gave us a glimpse at the Green Goblin, while this latest trailer provides a brief look at the Scorpion along with Miles’ uncle, Aaron Davis, who also leads a double life as The Prowler (Mahershala Ali). That leaves two more villains unaccounted for if the Sinister Six is indeed on the horizon. Doc Ock seems like a safe bet as we see his extra appendages in Parker’s rundown of his greatest hits. In the comic event, Spider-Verse (2014), Morlun, a hunter of spider-powered heroes known as Spider-Totems, took center stage as the villain. It seems like a safe bet that Morlun can’t be far behind, but whether he’ll appear in this movie or be set up for a future installment is another matter.

Fisk’s machinations not only create the scenario for Peter Parker to cross paths with Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), but also a host of other Spider-people including Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney) and robot-equipped Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn). As the trailer teases, one of the biggest highlights on this move will be seeing these very different takes on Spider-Man and Spider-Woman interact with each other.

Miles seems likely to be the heart of the film, but Spider-Ham may steal the show if this trailer is any indication. While these six appear to be the central characters, at least according to the announced voice cast, there’s a whole multiverse of other Spider-Men still waiting in the wings, including Mangaverse, steam punk, comic strip, U.K. and Punk Rock versions of Spider-Man. Not only would it be great to see some of these characters in cameo appearances, but the idea of live-action Spider-Men, Nicholas Hammond, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland lending their vocal talents to these characters would be exciting Easter eggs for Spider-Man fans of every generation. Whatever surprises Into the Spider-Verse has in store, the film is promising to be an amazing, spectacular, superior, ultimate Spider-man experience.

  • Richard Newby
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