Animated Movies, Character Development, Character Structure, Characteristics, Comic Book Movies, Concepts and Ideas, Creative Writing, J's Writing Corners, JRPG, Main Characters, Narrative, Narrative Structure, Plot Structure, Sequels, Square-Enix, Uncategorized, Video Games

J’s Writing Corner: Main Characters

Allow me to introduce you to the first of many articles focused on the scope of writing and development within storytelling. These Writing Corners will act as my personal interpretation into distinct elements for storytelling and other topics that align with the main focus of the centered article. While most of the examples that I will use will be related to video games, I will outline the most important parts, aligning them in reference to written literature structures, and using them as a base to universally connect the two forms of art together. In this week’s WC, I’ll start us off with a concept that is essential to creating a story, a fundamental that is necessary for direction and establishing forms of narrative: Main Characters.

What makes the Main Character the main interest of a story?

In many stories, if not all, there’s a directive notice to the plot in which the MC is either apart of or has a hand in playing which leads to the events that create the story. Their appearance is used in a way to narrate the story, illustrating points and/or details that would’ve had otherwise been overlooked through the eyes of multiple characters. The main character could be considered the “missing puzzle piece” within the story that prevents further conflict from arising within the world or could be the very thing that is causing conflict and is unaware of it.

When introducing the main character within your story, it’s important to remember simple concepts and structures that are to be used with every character:

  • Story and Character Development: A character within a story deserves every bit of detail and attention to their appearance within their works. This application doubles in priority for the main character as they are our eyes and ears to the situation within their titled works. A knight that is tasked with saving a princess and slaying a dragon would be informed about the dragon, how powerful it is, whether it’s safe to fight it now or later, and if it can be defeated. As much detail can be given about the dragon that hasn’t been seen on the screen/page, the same amount of detail can be given to the titular character that isn’t aware they are the main focus for us, the readers/players, as the tale unfolds.dragon-quest-viii-journey-of-the-cursed-king-444835.2 A good example of story and character development for the main character that I found to be one of the better standards was in Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. The synopsis of the tale accounts to a cursed king, cursed into a toad-like monster, and his equally cursed daughter, who’s been turned into a horse, roaming the land alongside a single guard who was unaffected by the curse that had been cast by a vengeful jester wielding an ancient and powerful staff. While the title of the game states that the cursed king might have some importance within the game (Which holds true in some degrees) it’s treated as a red herring but, in a twist, it’s subverted in the direction of our silent main character. With the king and princess in their altered states, one more hostile to civilians than others, the guard acts as their liaison, representing the kingdom, fighting their battles, sharing in part their troubles as a soldier, and continues to follow the king and princess, instilling hope in their advances to defeat the man that caused this conflict, lifting the curse and bringing peace back to the kingdom.

    Now, without saying a word, the main character has already shown a distinct sign of loyalty to his king and princess in helping them regain their kingdom. The game follows up with the player in revealing more about the main character as a knight that has served the king faithfully and has suffered from amnesia since appearing at the castle as a young child; showing proof in further testimonies to his development as a character – un-wavered by these memories throughout the entirety of the story. Along the way, he’s met with other characters that join in his quest to help the cursed king. He’s shown immeasurable trust amongst these characters, which furthers develop his ability to lead as the game progresses, and is even recognized through the efforts of the cursed king who deems him worthy as a candidate for marriage with his daughter; something which is exclusively forbidden since commoners are unable to marry royalty without their own royal backgrounds within this setting.


    Despite his silent disposition, he’s established his character as a righteous knight that travels with the remains of royalty from a cursed kingdom and sees the journey to an end in the hopes of making things right once more. His story has a definition to the role he plays within the game, he’s developed from that of a guard into that of a leader while engaging in liaison affairs on behalf of his cursed king, and these developments are made prominent from the involvement of other characters as they progress to the endgame. Not bad for a silent protagonist, huh?


  • Involvement within the story: Plot twists and secret developments aside, the involvement of a character, main or not, is credited as having some sort of part to play within the story. Whether they were a simple cattle boy that tended to a farm before being visited by an intergalactic samurai of the distant past (Star Wars) or a primate that travels across lush jungles while fighting off anthropomorphic reptiles that have stolen his bananas (Donkey Kong Country), the prologue of their beginnings are made clear.job-classes-skills-stat-bonuses-chart-octopath-traveler



    Octopath Traveler
    is a game that uses this concept as its main form of storytelling and focus, giving you control over eight characters whose individual tales play an important narrative in revealing the world to which they inhabit. Unlike that of the pride and true method of some stories, the main character for this game is split amongst the eight party members that you can choose from when starting the game. Each is given their own specific narrative which provides them with a background to their story, a goal they are in pursuit towards, and a climax of events which leads to their stories conclusion.


    While playing a character, the involvement of other characters is virtually unseen within that character’s story. While this could be seen as inefficient to the establishment of character it actually does the opposite. Their narrative is uninterrupted by outside sources, creating a raw and tangible continuation in their tales. For example, Cyrus, an astute scholar, begins his adventure in search of a missing book from his kingdom’s library that’s known for its dark magic; he’s blissfully unaware of this little fact, mind you. Each chapter, in his narrative, showcases that the individuals who had possessed the book had been wrought with great power but with the price of their humanity as the cost. By the end of his journey, he learns that the book was being used to convert humans into a red crystalized substance and that those who knew of this power, which is revealed to be a nice handful of individuals amongst the eight storylines, could lead to the very resurrection of a demonic monster that nearly brought ruin to the world from a millennia ago.

    These events mark an endgame that never occurs within the main story. Yes, I’m not joking, an awesome setup that could lead to our eight heroes fighting against an apocalyptic monster is an optional quest that never interferes with the character’s main narrative. Cyrus’s goal in finding the book, meeting old acquaintances that promote his character along the way, revealing his intuitive detective skills that could even impress Sherlock Holmes, his persona of a high-educated scholar whose goal in life is to teach others in hopes that they will one day become teachers in some way, and his obliviousness to social situations is the life’s essence within his narrative and that of his traveling companions; individually different, narratively sound.


  • The Characters are Extensions of the World: Whether it’s one or two main characters, a character is supposed to represent something new and different; Different parts of the world, different cultures, different groups, etc. The diversity of establishing characters as something unique, distinctly different than the cliche of making them the main focus of a story because of A, B, and C, is an on and off again occurrence within acts of fiction and written literature.ID - MCs

    One example from a film that was executed well in using two protagonists was Independence Day (1996). This particular film as a summer blockbuster used the dynamic star power of Will Smith as Captain Steven Hiller and Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson, to tell a story from two different perspectives in a story about aliens invading from space. Steven Hiller’s role within the movie was to encapsulate a certain crowd and a distinct measure of authority for his character. He was in the armed forces, a captain, an African American, his girlfriend-turned-wife is a stripper, he had a child, respected as a leader and experienced survivors remorse (In a more angered fashion) all throughout the entire film. On the other hand, David Levinson used to work with the government, now working for the people, an untypical nerd archetype, conflicted scientist, riddled with guilt from his past mistakes (Love and Success), survivors remorse (Incredibly emotional) and an
    evolving mind.


    The two individuals come from entirely different backgrounds, sharing very few similarities in regards to their unknown positions as main characters. They start from the opposite side of the continent, a West Coast-East Coast comparison, which eventually leads them coming together in a place that doesn’t exist, however, is used to center their assault on the alien forces (Area 51) by using the unknown to create a new future (Defeating the aliens). A union of two characters, different personalities, familiar goals and attention to details within their own specifics; he shoots and he will science.


  • Personality: That last thing that any character needs, ESPECIALLY A MC, is the lack, or interest, of having a personality. In my earlier thoughts, I explained how a silent character, whose personality is pretty neutral, can be demonstrated by their actions; this is used to convey an “actions speak louder than words” prerogative. On the other hand, the implication of giving the main character a personality is what sets the tone of their story.Travis Touchdown

    In a game called No More Heroes, the title card protagonist for this game is a man by the name of Travis Touchdown. His personality is a unique blend of social tropes, doused with a bit of realism, subversion of cliches, and a mockery to multiple stereotypes. In other words, he’s the anti-hero to your general perspective of heroes; hence the title. He becomes an assassin just for the hell of it, indulged upon with the idea of getting some “naked tango” lessons from another character if he ends up becoming the number one assassin amongst them all, all while giving very little details about himself including his past and his motivations. He uses this persona to engage the audience that’s clearly playing the game, messing with the meta, yet again, in regards to the 4th Wall Breaking format.


    He uses his personality to subvert expectations to which the story might imply, leading the player along in a world that is, without question, a cliche and stereotyped obstacle that he, our main character, is going to break down. If Travis had no personality, or refused to develop one by the end of the game, his actions to do what he does and his ability to connect with the player, or the audience – as he puts it, would disengage the player and make the game less of a contrived story with flaws that held inner meanings – rather than a game that was just being played because it had an interesting title and story, but with a protagonist that was a dull as loose board.


 

Animated Movies, Character Structure, Comic Book Movies, Creative Writing, Narrative Structure, Plot Structure, Spiderman, Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, Uncategorized

Spiderman “Into the Spider-Verse” and The Narrative of Relationships. – Part 1

milesmoralespeterparker

With the ongoing successful accolades and success of the newest Spiderman film and the praises it has received since its premiere back in December; including a Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Motion Picture. The idea of dissecting the film and its characters that created such a wonderful adventure with breathtaking experiences is to be expected, which is why I’ve decided to do a little analysis of the film’s characters. For this article, I will be going over the relationships seen within the movie. These include the relationships between Miles Morales and Peter Parker (The Acknowledging Spidermen), Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy (Building of Friendship), The Alternate Spider-people (A Shared Identity) and various others that some have questioned but have yet to come to a correct conclusion in terms of their relationship for the film.

The system of analysis that I will be overseeing for this article will be based on three structures of relationships: Movie Structure, Comic Structure, and Narrative/Representation Structure. Through the use of these three, a clear and cohesive analysis can be made for the characters that reference both their movie and comic counterparts; alongside their impact in and out of the film.

——————————————SPOILERS AHEAD! SPOILERS AHEAD!————————————-

 

  1. Miles Morales and Peter B. Parker (Acknowledging Spidermen)
    peter and miles - spidey
    It should go without saying, or not, that the main relationship within the entire narrative of the story is cast around the building and budding relationship of Miles Morales and Peter B. Parker. What starts as a unique meeting for the two in regards to their shocking introduction, quite literally for Peter, begins the foundation for a teacher-student role that was quite different from its comic book origins for the two. In this adaptation of the story, both Spidermen are considered students to one another and proceed to learn new things throughout the film after their rocky start, which leads into the development of different roles of mentoring and being a mentee.Movie Structure: The dynamic pairing of Miles and Peter makes sense towards the narrative of “Teacher and Student”; alongside the entire premise of the movie as Miles learns how to become Spiderman. With Peter in his 30’s, tired and clearly tired from his superhero antics over the years, it sets up a quintessential choice and image for the budding student: “Do you really want to be Spiderman?” This question builds the foundation to which both Peter and Miles experience; both as a newbie and as an expert to the mantle. Mile’s enthusiasm to the cause of being a superhero, by neglecting his means of success in the real world, is similar to that of Peter’s resolution near the end of the movie with his plan of staying behind and sacrificing himself. After Gwen asks him, “Peter, you don’t have to stay. I’ll do it” and with his response of “It’s okay… I’ve made up my mind” could be paralleled to the same thought that entered Mile’s head the moment Peter’s words of taking ‘a leap of faith’ had questioned his own integrity as Spiderman; as both of their lives would change – for better or worse.

    Comic Structure: Transitioning Peter and Miles from the comic pages for the movie must have been a critical headache for the filmmakers to make sense of in the writers room with Miles debut on the big screen (Invoking the idea of a black Spiderman; much less a bi-racial one) and with a bigger audience, including those of the comic community, waiting to see how it would pan out in animation. Mile’s relationship with Peter in the comics are, for the most part, grounded after his death. With crossover events from the main continuity universe and Mile’s universe (Known as the Ultimate-verse), creating the symbolism of Spiderman teaching another Spiderman, while still being a young superhuman, creates a dynamic that relates from one age gap to the next. So when the transition of characters are older, such as Peter B. Parker within this story, the familiarity of “being the same” is taken differently from the Peter of the comics; in comparison to his and another universes’ Spiderman.

    Narrative/Representation Structure: In the end, Miles and Peter’s representation within the movie is nurtured towards the success that’s gained in life through accomplishments. The sides of this similar coin are displayed through Miles’ recklessness in trying to become something that he wasn’t intended to be, however, it was a challenge as to whether he would succeed in his endeavors to uphold this one truth: Can I be Spiderman? This same question resonates with Peter in his endeavors after having the mantle and when he questions towards the end with “How do I know I’m not going to mess it up?”; which is immediately acknowledged by Miles and is further acknowledged by the acknowledgment of Peter before returning to his own universe; accomplishing his task of a renewed vigor in Spiderman and for Spiderman.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————

  2. Peter B. Parker and Gwen Stacy (Spider-Gwen) ~ (Decisions, Decisions)
    peter and gwen - spiderThe second relationship for this article is one that a lot of fans, including myself, were really interested to see in animated detail. Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy are no stranger to one another, both in the comics and in the movies, but for the two to have the mantle of Spiderman (Spiderwoman in Gwen’s case) and to essentially have the same role that comes with being the heroine of their story, it’s to be expected that the chemistry of these two would be uniquely portrayed within this adaptation of the Spider-verse.

    Movie Structure: Despite the age differences between the two heroes, Gwen and Peter’s relationship as heroines for their universes shows them on equal footing as heroes. The banter they share is tied with respect and this respect comes from their unannounced past to the origins of their original tales from the comics. It’s through the dynamic of an older Peter (which seemingly appears to be similar to the Peter Parker of her reality – more or less aging from the serum that transformed them into the Lizardman) that a sense of dependability and renewed faith in her acknowledgement of Peter Parker, in taking the mantle of Spiderman and helping others in much the same way she has been doing in her dimension, which creates the dynamic duo for this film. The theme behind these two is built on second chances and the established trust in changed fates.

    While the chemistry between the two was unannounced on screen, a mutual respect and blossoming relationship as superheroes was being established through covert acknowledgments between the heroes. Peter B. Parker’s notices of Gwen are few and far between due to his past with Gwen Stacy and since this particular version of Parker uses humor as a means of deflecting conflict (amidst physical and emotional confrontations), making his only interactions with the young heroine to be straightforward outside of their introduction. He quips at Mile’s surprise at Gwen’s reveal but showcases a silent and positive approval at the two of them getting along; showcasing a sense of detachment to the loss of love and to the welcoming of new love for Miles and Gwen. He furthers this approval as the movie reaches its climactic finish with Peter’s choice to stay behind and essentially die in Miles’s dimension; all the while Gwen acknowledges Peter’s decision, never rallying with Miles against Peter and furthermore acknowledges his decision to do what’s right; even at the cost of his life and the unfulfilled conflicts that resonate for both himself and Gwen personally.

    On Gwen’s side of this unique relationship, it’s to be assumed that the Peter Parker of her world appeared similar to one another; aligning to the idea that Gwen’s take to the older peter, mocking the appearance of a serumed Peter from her world, is a reminder of her failure and is a consistent reminder in trying to prevent her greatest failure from ever occurring again. She, in furthering her respect and trust in Peter, also acts as his light in regards to various situations that he, on his own, wouldn’t have faced; mimicking a significant other in addition to Peter’s divorce from Mary Jane, losing his way as a superhero and the death of his Aunt May – something to which she would’ve known in seeing Mile’s Spiderman’s (Before taking the mantle) death in this dimension. In leading him to Aunt May (Supporting him emotionally), rallying him to be a leader (Reminding him of the great responsibility and power that he has; indifference to what Miles doesn’t have yet) and preventing him from being caught up in the past with MJ and his future (His denial coming to bare with his feelings, internally conflicting him, alongside his mind’s decision to “be a hero”). Her self-sacrifice when Peter says “It’s okay….I’ve made up my mind” after suggesting that she could stay behind creates depth for their relationship, allowing both heroes to acknowledge their mistakes as a past and present dynamic that keeps them strong and keeps them as Spiderman/Spiderwoman.

    Comic Structure: The basis of trust between the two Spider-people are established through the origins of their comics. When introduced to one another, the two found that their relationship, as comrades, was based upon their faults in their alternates deaths. They share a mutual and founded respect for one another, knowing one another in some tangents, which creates the dynamic duo through their chronicles of both “Spider-Verse” and “Spider-Geddon

    Narrative/Representation Structure: Peter and Gwen’s relationship for this movie is arguably needed as a base for the light and darkness within both characters. The two of them play off of one another but with founded respect, newly found by the discovery that they are in fact Spider heroes, which creates the unique connection that makes them the main leads for the film. Peter showcases the gruff and gritty perspective in growing up, while being a hero to others for over 30 years and Gwen showcases the beginning aspects of taking up the mantle to be a superhero; something to which is necessary for Miles to learn in his ongoing quest to do what’s right for Spiderman; both the name and the person.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————–

  3.  Peni Parker, Spiderman Noir (Peter Parker) and Peter Porker (Spiderham) ~ (United We Stand)Spider-Verse CastNow, who could forget the colorful cast of characters in addition to the big three Spider-figures of this film? The highly animated styles of Peni Parker, Spiderman Noir, and Spiderham were probably one of the most festive looking characters throughout the film as they borrowed respective coloring and highlighting from their comic universes.

    Movie Structure: In addition to being supportive characters and heroes on the screen, the trio of Spider-people represent something that is essentially linked with the film’s animation – their own. In their first appearance on screen, re-telling their backstories, as humorously as it is to the audience, the animation of their backstories are highlighted in the shading that theirs premised behind, with Noir’s being that of a black and white setting, Peni’s contrast of colors with shading imitating the style that you’ll see in eastern animated cartoons and with Porker’s being the classic representation of early animation that’s similar to that of Looney Tunes. When stripped from their original dimensions, unlike that of Peter and Gwen, their style is consistent with their animation and this representation speaks volumes in regards to their origins; in addition to their representation within the film. From Peni’s ever shaking eyes, or expressive changes, to Porker’s cartoon antics with his punches and hammer/anvil tactics, resonates to the adaptation of different animations styles in today’s society.

    Comic Structure: Linking back to the previous statement, representation in animation was the main focus for these heroes on screen, however, their interpretation in comics was just as pivotal to their on-screen appearances. Characters like Peni Parker might, at least for movie-goers, seem like the first Asian Spider-Woman, however, her appearance in comics is seemingly different from that of her big screen appearance; going for more of a “Kawaii” (Cute) appearance than that of her older and more reserved look; this is seemingly the case for her mech, Sp//dr in terms of its interpretation from the comics to the movies.

    Peni Parker Differences

    Noir’s interpretation from page to screen was respectively transitioned with his initial look, with the famous detective raincoat and hat, included in his outfit. On the other hand, Porker’s transition was more than likely the most appropriate from his origins in various media. While in the comics he is a spider, bitten by a radioactive Aunt May pig (Yep, you read that correctly), his appearance within the comics presented him in the most cartoon-ish fashion of a pig that seemingly had the powers of a spider; including the idea of giving him incredibly long ears, a large extended snout and a body that was lengthy in some degrees to a spider’s form. This transition into a more Porky Pig, or Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon adaptation, gives the character another realistic touch to their pig appearance rather than the artistic take of how pigs looked in one dimension; which in itself is another question.

    Narrative/Representation Structure: The narrative for these three was established pretty early as other Spider-People, establishing roles within their own universes, but the general dissection of their appearance in relevance to the plot, and its representation, is a fundamentally sound lesson. Whether you are young, older or just a little bit different, you’re capable of showcasing so much more of yourself. Peni’s intelligence and the will her father gave to her with manning the Sp//dr is her own responsibility, as is the same that goes for Noir Peter Parker and Peter Porker in regards to their Uncle Ben/Benjamin. With great power, comes great responsibility, no matter where you’re from – something to which these three illustrate with pride.

This concludes the first part of this ongoing article. If you enjoyed this, comment, like and support me by following me at my Facebook at J.Arthur’s Roundabout for updates, new stories and so much more!

Animated Movies, Comic Book Movies, Spiderman, Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, Uncategorized

Spiderman: “Into the Spider-Verse” Review: A Step in the Right Direction

Representation in media and comics for minorities has always been a topic of interest. Where one idea represents a race or ethnicity, such as the impacts of Black Panther and Black Lightning has had during the year of 2018 with its meaningful and relatable matters on racial issues and circumstances in the African American community, the continued trend of representation is upheld by another figure: Miles Morales. In Sony’s newest film “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse” it’s starring protagonist is of African American and Dominican descent. This combination of hero shows a different representation and the mixing of cultures is presented well with Miles’ story as he learns how to become a better person; in and out of the costume.

The Story:

spiderverse_cropped.0

For anyone that hasn’t heard of Spiderman, a brief synopsis of the hero is introduced for the moviegoer with his exploits in being a superhero, how he received his powers and a convincing explanation of his accolades as the masked hero for over two decades. Flashbacks of his efforts, including some memorable moments from the past Spiderman films and actual real world memorabilia that has existed, are artfully directed to the narrative of this Spidermans’ tale. After concluding his tale of heroic efforts, the scene is immediately shifted to our main character, Miles Morales (Voiced by Shameik Moore), as he’s jamming out to Post Malone and Swae Lee’s song “Sunflower” while showing an enthusiastic youth to which the audience can relate towards. Miles is further introduced as a student at a highly qualified charter school in Brooklyn, New York and is shown to have a rather stressful life with being from two different bureaus of life; socially and ethnically.

The story’s pacing is worked from the perspective of Miles perspective from being at school, hanging out with his Uncle Aaron (Voiced by Mahershala Ali) after his first day to discuss about how it feels at a new school and one which he is unfamiliar with, alongside the issues that paint Miles life with conflict. This is further enhanced after Miles comes into contact with a mysterious spider with the number “42” on its abdomen, biting the young youth and mutating the cells within his body and making him into something different from within. While I could dive into the story and explain all of the moments that make the film and its story incredible, I’ll leave my take on the story as a cliffhanger for those that haven’t seen, however, to those that have seen the film – the story and how it was managed from beginning to end was orchestrated well and was tactfully directed in regards to race, a branching storyline and the accompaniment of different elements towards the storytelling for its characters.

The Characters:

spider-verse-_-spider-people-voice-talent

A powerful movie should also have a cast of powerful characters, and the voices gifted to the cast of ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ is no exception.  Backtracking back to the story, Miles’s adventure begins when he encounters Spiderman and is thrust into an array of dangerous complications that give weight to the main narrative of the story for most of its characters. This leads to the arrival of different “Spider People”, as Miles politely points out in one scene, that originate from different universes; hence the name. This is the meat and potatoes of the movie, as are the same ingredients for the comics; minus a table full of bloodthirsty vampires trying to hunt them down, however, that’s an analogy for a future post. In his quest to make things right with Mile’s Spiderman (voiced by Chris Pine), he’s assisted and taught by an entirely different Spiderman from a different dimension who, unlike the comics, is a more a seasoned and older hero that’s experienced conflict. This Spiderman is voiced by Jake Johnson and really gives attention his performance by using his broad sense of comedy (a staple of the hero) and his detachment to serious motives as a setting to Spiderman that Miles and moviegoers are unfamiliar towards. In addition to his role is the additional hero to which actress Hailee Steinfeld portrays in that of Spider-Gwen. Her addition to the cast is both intuitive to the perspective of female superheroes and can be seen as a fan favorite to the comics with a different take on the Spiderman mantle; replacing the antics of Peter Parker with the distinct differences of his female interest, Gwen Stacy; creating a narrative that was reciprocated in kind by the community and was an added investment of female representation within the film.

Alongside the two are other spider entities that included Spiderman Noir (voiced by Nicolas Cage) a Peter Parker from the 1930’s and Noir Universe (A universe that is…well…noir), Peni Parker (Voiced by xxx) who comes from the future of 2099 and fights in her father’s created mech known as the “SP//dr SUIT” (Equipped with a living spider on the inside of its system) and one of the most hilarious interpretations of the character in Peter Porker – otherwise known as Spider-Ham (Voiced by John Mulaney) – adding a distinct cartoon flair to an already animated cast; a play on a words to the different animation styles showcased from Noir, Peni and Porker when compared to the rest of the cast.

In contrast to the batch of heroes that the movie showcases there are also a few recognizable villains which make an appearance within the film. The main antagonist of the film belongs to Wilson Fisk (Voiced by Liev Schrieber) who’s entire narrative, as a villain, is represented in making his plans work and eliminating those in his way – sets the tone and the plot to which he follows. Additions to this include ‘The Prowler’, whose role is both dynamic and exquisitely showcased throughout the film, Tombstone, a forlorn villain of comics past that’s given a distinct style, The Green Goblin, whose appearance is more of a representation to the Ultimate Spiderman’s version of the character, Scorpion, whose surprisingly a Hispanic variation to his New Yorker counterpart in the comics, and Doctor Octopus’ surprising appearance are all unexpected and yet their presence is never without merit; symbolizing the ins and outs of villains from the rogues gallery for this version of Spiderman’s Sinister Six.

The Representation:

spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-dom-spiderverse_pef735.1187_lm_v1-1150x482

It’s easy to miss the signals that are scattered within the film amongst all of the action and storytelling that the cast does a wonderful job of acting and portraying with their characters, however, Spider-Verse also gets another thing right within the movie: Representation. With popular debates and news over the importance of representation among races, a popular superhero that has always been debated in regards to representing others is Spiderman. Under the mask, Spiderman is generally a white male that lives in New York City, going through school, hiding his identity and saving the lives of citizens within the city; even when slandered with hate by media and other officials that are against his vigilante ways. In some ways, the mantle of Spiderman is a representation of those that wish to do good but are against playing to the rules of the law, which is why Miles’ culture and ethnicity play a big role within this film.

Directors Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman and Robert Persichetti Jr. orchestrated a beautiful story and interpretation for the Ultimate Spiderman and the mantle of it being passed down to not only just Miles but that “anyone can wear the mask” which was a deep and inspiring moment for the filmmakers to showcase in times of strife and separation. I felt that the same narrative of storytelling, where it was showed rather than said, was similar to another animated film that came out earlier in the year – Incredibles 2. The story was dedicated to the material that it was based on – Superheroes that were seen as a liability to the foundation of human society – and built upon the future of the source material by including women’s rights and feminism representation with just a splash of realism. ‘Into the Spider-Verse” doesn’t shy away from the premise of storytelling as it showcases Mile’s discomfort in going to a new school, leaving his old one behind, discussing his lack of importance and ability to perform well; undermining his own abilities and trying to fail.

The mantle of Spiderman and the name “Miles Morales” represent something more within this film. By using the mantle of Spiderman to cover his shortcomings or the fact that he doesn’t believe he can be better as Miles Morales, it’s through the guidance of other Spider-people and the impending threat to the city, much less the dimension, that plays with the moral and social ambiguity that the film’s direction can take and that moviegoers can speculate over after watching it.

Overall Score: 11/10

spiderverse cast

A film that should not be missed whether you are a Spiderman fan or not. The narrative is easily understood by kids and the action pieces, combined with the visual effects that make it feel like a live-action story straight from the pages of its comics, is a welcomed breath of fresh air after a year of CGI mashups. The characters are relatable, the plot isn’t convoluted, the representation for Miles and the mantle for Spiderman are explored with detailed examples, and it’s overall a great film to see with friends, family or even by yourself; don’t let the absence of others be the reason you miss out on 2018’s Best Animated Film.

And also – A Happy New Year to everyone in 2019! Expect more content in the future for this year!