7/8/2020 2 Comments
I usually don't like doing shit like this. Writing "articles" that is just a list of reasons for something. But I had to get your attention somehow, so here we are.
I chose my words very wisely when creating the title. I was going to say "of the 21st Century." But I figured I'd lean all the way in on my claim.
I've yet to see EVERY children's movie ever made, so if you have some suggestions, please shoot them my way.
A brief history of my admiration for Spider-Man. I was introduced to him as a kid when my dad bought the extensive collector's edition DVD set of the original 1967 television cartoon series. (This set now goes for $250+ new and $120+ used)
What's crazy is that even he isn't that old. The show came out before he was born, but still ran on television once he got old enough to watch and understand.
It effected him in such a way that it stuck with him some 40 years later. They even had to recreate the show in color because it was originally aired in black and white.
After we watched the entire series together, it became very clear to me that this was the best version of Spider-Man ever created. The original. He had no competition, even if Stan Lee was the one recreating him every time. This hero was a legend.
So as time went on, I would watch the new Spider-Man movies and television shows, but they never could touch the original Spider-Man.
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is one of the most unique takes on how to recreate a superhero character. It breaks down social, racial, and gender barriers all across the board.
It teaches you multiple lessons, while keeping you captivated with action. Let's swing into it.
5. Teaching children the inevitable truth about death
This one is number five because we've seen death occur in many children's cartoons. But the only one I would be able to compare this too is in the original Transformers cartoon movie when Optimus Prime dies in the first half of the movie. That was just some fucked up shit.
In this movie, our beloved superhero dies, and the entire state of New York mourns his death together. A man who was always trying to do the right thing was murdered at the hands of Kingpin.
A villain who is a "businessman" (better described as a crime lord) who would stop at nothing to achieve everything in not only his world, but spanned across multiple universes. His greed and selfishness nearly ended reality as they knew it... Sound like someone familiar?
Minutes into the movie, he breaks Spider-Man's neck with his bare hands. A gruesome scene that catches the viewers by surprise. You never think the superhero would get murdered, but in a strange way it is a good lesson.
No matter how much you stand up for other people who can't stand up for themselves, you will still find yourself fighting a fight that will most likely end in violence.
They murdered Malcolm X. They murdered Martin Luther King Jr. They murdered Tupac.
But the death of one Spider-Man led to the rise of many. Similar to what we're seeing in our world today. The wrongful death of one man can spark change for the whole world.
4. Presence of female villains and superheros
Once again, this isn't new. But it's the manner in which they present it.
There's a scene when Peter Parker is explaining to Miles Morales how they're going to take down Doctor Octopus (Doc Ock) and he keeps saying "He" when referring to the scientist. Miles then interjects and tells him that the scientist is actually a woman. Peter proceeds to say "Step Four: I re-examine my personal biases."
This is where we're at in today's America. How easy would things be if people just "re-examined" their personal biases? Women are always put into a box by the media, movies, and society. This is just one small feat, but they put it in there for a reason.
The only reason we think certain jobs are for certain genders is because that's what we're taught. And in this universe, Doc Ock is a woman. And she's a fucking badass.
Another strong female presence is Spider-Woman aka Gwen Stacy aka Wanda aka Gwanda. She found her way into this universe and fights to save the Multi-Verse. She is one of the more powerful ones in the group, and definitely the most caring.
Her experience helps Miles' open his mind to his true powers, and she also helps the other Peter Parker understand his place as role model.
3. Miles' mom speaks Spanish
For any idiots out there who say "Speak English because you're in America" YOU'RE IGNORANT. There is no national language in America, and Spanish is second most spoken language in our country.
They not only made Miles' mom hispanic, but they let her speak her native language to her family. The only time we've seen cartoon characters speaking Spanish in American cartoons is in Dora the Explorer.
Now we're talking about a large scale movie for children that breaks down those barriers of "English is our national language." It's not.
She plays the mom role up just like any other great mom we've seen in these movies. She listens to her son when he's hurt, holds her husband accountable when he isn't being a good enough role model, and even gets mad like a real mom when Miles isn't ready for school.
And it doesn't look like Miles is going anywhere, so y'all better start breaking out that Google Translate.
2. They denounce Nazis
OK, find me a children's cartoon movie that denounces Nazi's and I'll reconsider my claim about this movie.
Nicolas Cage plays a Spider-Man from the 1930's that is better known as Spider-Man Noir. His quote is both hilarious and admirable.
"In my universe it’s 1933 and I’m a private eye. I like to drink egg creams and I like to fight Nazis. A lot."
Once again, we're seeing a correlation to our world today. There are still people who believe in this Nazi agenda. I saw a guy at Costco the other day who had "NAZI" tatted on the back of his bald head. So don't tell me it doesn't exist. This guy was in public, so just imagine how many of them are out there hiding, waiting for their moment.
In this iteration of Spider-Man, he doesn't just fight crime, he fights an entire terrorist organization that is a threat to all of mankind.
It's vitally important or the youth to always know the horrific things Nazi's did to the world. For ignorance is NOT bliss. So I commend Marvel immensely for bringing up this topic, even if it is just one line of the movie. I hope kids everywhere said "Mommy, who are Nazi's?" And I hope every parent was honest.
1. Miles Morales is Black and Hispanic
The glaringly obvious, BOOM right in your face, reason why this movie is so transcendent. We have seen Black superheroes. We have seen Hispanic superheroes. But I will explain to you why this is different.
As I said before, I love the original Spider-Man. I never wanted him to change. But this all went out the window when I watched this movie and his story.
Not only did we get a hero of color, we got a completely new version of Spider-Man. It's not some new superhero that happens to be Black or Hispanic. It's the same character we know and love, reinvented to be a role model for minorities.
We're used to seeing similar racial households as well. Black parents, White parents, Hispanic parents. But this is different. His dad is Black and his mom is Hispanic. A mixed household that gave birth to a kid that can save the world. He's bilingual, biracial, and has a budding love story with a White girl who happens to be Spider-Woman.
So for all the people who say "I don't see color," you better open your fucking eyes because this kid is full of color. It's all about being inclusive, and celebrating that our country is built upon the fact that we have so many different races that bring different backgrounds of beautiful culture.
This movie dives into even more issues we have in our country, including the lives and biases of police officers. (Miles' dad is in the Police force) But we'll leave you with those five reasons.
If you can find a more transcendent children's movie, let me know! I'd love to watch it with my kids!