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Aquaman

SgathaichMy readers I don’t normally review films that just came out, especially at this time of the year but let me give you a history lesson. Aquaman is awesome.   Aquaman is the ruler of Atlantis.Wielder of the Trident of Poseidon (or was it Neptune?), was bullet proof, super strong oh and yes RULED MOST OF THE PLANET, yes he could compel aquatic life to help him which includes giant sea monsters.

Are you fans of Cthulhu?Well guess what Aquaman can summon him too – take that Batman. However in the 70s a cartoon came out called the Super Friends where his only real ability was to talk to fish, not even the sea monster part, and he was thus played as rather a joke. Now for years this was the ONLY mainstream media appearance which wouldn’t have been bad BUT it was massively inaccurate even for the time. This meant anyone not reading the comics (one of the few good things the new 52 era had was addressing this right away) main image of Aquaman was that of a rather lame hero. This was NOT helped by the fact that his appearances in the amazing Justice League cartoon was stopped because of a failed attempt at a live action Aquaman series that was basically Smallville with Aquaman.

Now the DC cinematic universe has not had a good start. They messed up both Superman and Batman with Wonder Woman being the only good one and Justice League had been a massive, MASSIVE failure. So we were all gritting our teeth with Aquaman a character known for having a bad rep coming into a series of movies known for getting characters wrong.

Aquaman

OH GOD THIS MOVIE WAS WHAT I NEEDED!!

This movie got Aquaman right! Finally a mainstream depiction of the character I love. So for this special long awaited occasion I am going to review…

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does whatever a spider can.

Spins a web, any size, Catches thieves just like flies.

Look out!

Here comes the Spider-Man!

Excuse me…what are you doing with those Spider-Man posters?

Plastering them all over the walls. Sorry Sgathaich but I’m hijacking the article for a week. Have a week off! It’s mandatory!

WHAT!? I’ve been waiting literal decades to talk about anything that gets Aquaman right. You can’t kick me out now…I will have my vengeance!

NephriteSpider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse: A Discussion

So this is what I mentioned recently as a surprise I was working on. Now I highly doubt I need to explain to you who Spider-Man is. Peter Parker, radioactive spider bite, great power and great responsibility, you all know the rest! But the script was flipped somewhat recently with the announcement and release of Into The Spider-Verse, an animated film made by the brains behind the – much better than it had any right to be – Lego Movie. Because Peter Parker isn’t the only Spider-Man and it was time to introduce some of the more recent arrivals to the Spider Family. So that’s probably how I should start this discussion (It’s not really a film review! Trust me I tried it didn’t work!)

First is Miles Morales, a half black half Mexican character who was introduced during the restructuring of the Ultimate universe in the year 2011. The Ultimate universe was created in 2000 to act as an alternative universe for beginning readers where new versions of old characters could be created with different personalities in a setting that was much closer to then modern society. This setting was also designed to not require years of previous knowledge to understand what was going on.

It didn’t stay that way for long due to a variety of factors but Miles was quite literally the biggest success story of the Ultimate Universe. EVERYONE loved Miles to the point he had multiple crossover story lines with Marvel’s main universe, worked with some of the biggest heroes and was almost certain to be the one person you had heard of from the Ultimate Universe if you were a somewhat casual comic reader. He is also one of only a few Ultimate characters to survive the death of the Ultimate universe when that finally occurred a few years ago.Quite literally it was only kept going for its final three years because they couldn’t get rid of Miles. He was TOO popular.

Now for Gwen Stacy. Gwen has been in Spider-Man comics since December 1965 but she didn’t initially do much beyond being the rather boringly nice girlfriend to Peter. In June 1973 her character was famously killed off marking the end of the Silver Age Of Comics (The age where the most bizarre things happened. Trust me the Silver Age was usually rather silly or at points outright insane). For decades Gwen was only ever famous for having died. Eventually in 2014 during the Edge Of Spider-Verse event there was a single issue depicting a world where Gwen Stacy became the Spider-Man/Spider-Woman equivalent for that universe. This issue was INCREDIBLY popular to the point they couldn’t print the damn thing fast enough to meet demand. Due to the unbelievable popularity Spider-Gwen as she is commonly called got her own series and has stuck around ever since thankfully. I’m quite the fan of Miles and Spider-Gwen but it’s time I discuss the film itself. There are other Spider characters in the film but you can discover them yourself.

Spiderman

Into The Spider-Verse is a very highly animated film. There are several artistic moments and the film makes it clear that visually it will be very trippy. This completely works for a film with Miles as the focus character. Granted Gwen and a version of Peter who between the two of them play love interest and mentor figure respectively very well although Miles as played by Shameik Moore is definitely the focus. The film’s version of Miles is very true to the original version with many similar hang-ups and issues as well as a practically identical reaction to his Spider powers! It’s good to see a different person in the Spider-suit for a change!

I can’t really discuss this film’s version of Peter (Jake Johnson) because of spoilers (on the chance you are reading the article but haven’t seen the film yet) but I can safely say that they found a good way to include him. This Peter is somewhat unique compared to others but he IS Peter Parker and he fits the story wonderfully. Him and Miles have a rather fun and somewhat irreverent banter together for most of the film but it becomes clear that Peter really cares for Miles and wants to see him realise his best potential. Towards the end of the film the various Spider characters make a decision which visibly eats at Peter thanks to the excellent animation and you can hear the way that what they have to do tears him up inside. There are several similarly excellent moments (A personal favourite being one that happens between Miles and his father after the previous scene I mentioned with Peter.) to the point I kept trying to analyse the film and just got caught up in the story again and again.

Getting away from Peter and onto Gwen once again, this IS Spider-Gwen. For reasons of personal trauma that come from her comic series she has a lot of trouble connecting with people and as she puts it “I don’t do friends.” The reasoning behind this is mentioned in a rather appropriate fashion in the film but quite literally it feels like the version of Spider-Gwen we see in the film jumped right out of the pages of her book onto the set. That’s why I repeat this IS Spider-Gwen. Hailee Steinfeld does an excellent job characterising her both with her attempted loner attitude and her connection to Miles.

Their character dynamic in the film is rather similar to their various meet-ups in the comics and the film’s romance element can be read as one of several references – some obvious, others not so much – to events in the comics. Miles and Gwen did attempt a relationship in certain comic stories and it was one of those things that people are rather keen to see come back even if the odds of it actually happening are probably quite low.

In short the versions in the film were true to the characters. Not necessarily ‘true to the comics’ as that would be different for everyone’s interpretations of the comics but true to the spirit and soul of the written character. Miles, Gwen, Peter and the other characters I deliberately haven’t mentioned all feel like they walked off the page or comic panel as the case may be. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Spider-Man fan or comics fan since the 60s or if you couldn’t tell the Kingpin from the Prowler or The Skrulls from The Heroes For Hire and just don’t give a toss about superheroes the film is still a very enjoyable film and one I would highly recommend. There is a reason I was planning on doing a project based on this film since I first saw it in the theatre! I just hope Sgathaich will forgive me hijacking their article for once.They’ll probably get their revenge soon.

Sayonara!

Nephrite, Article Hijacker

 

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