I realize I’m alone in the (Marvel) universe when I say I’m not a fan of the tiresome outburst of comic book/superhero movies, and I see no point in differentiating the two descriptors because they, more or less, follow the same tiresome formula: Arrogant hero + desensitizing CGI +/- obligatory love interest + forgettable villain who always possesses one less level of power = box office points.
Other than a few dramatic genre benders and self-parodic surprises (the masterpiece, The Dark Knight, maybe Logan, the subpar but hilarious Deadpool, and rewatchable Guardians of the Galaxy), most of Marvel and DC on screen are the same $14 show (enter reader groans).
Well, enter “Spider-Verse.”
For the first time in my movie geek life, I experienced what comic book/superhero movies should be about: a celebration of comic books and superheroes. It was enthusiastic, bombastic, funny, and to my greatest surprise – extremely unpredictable! Although the plot is minimal, the viewer is given training wheels to ride on Spider-Man’s back and enjoy pretty much every genre supplied by a movie. The best part: different versions of the Spider-Man “hero” (including a Loony Toons pig) are given different interpretations of animated mediums. The frames per second are adjusted according to the “age” of the animated figure, and the juxtaposition of different textures, colors, and speeds results in a dreamlike experience.
In short, this is original stuff in cinema.
This is essentially a comic book come to life, not a bunch of actors flexing their muscles in costumes in a series of the same movie with 20 different titles. And, paradoxically, “Spider-Verse” may have cracked the comic book/superhero genre wide open while remaining an entity unto itself. Not a sequel or another costume movie will supersede its power.