Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Down to Earth

There is a certain amount of satisfaction to be derived from attending a production of a movie in which the driver speaks nonverbally about the importance of the cast and crew, and of the craftspeople who make the film. They must feel like breathing someone else’s air, if only briefly, in the West End productions.

The Sony Pictures Entertainment production of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is just such a production. It is a superhero movie, but only the hero is a superhero: Spider-Man, as well as a second-generation Peter Parker and two various versions of an Aunt May. There are other webslingers: Silk, Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy, with Mr. Parker’s clone, Aaron Davis, and Ms. Stacy’s murderer, Mysterio, also prominent.

At the center of the various stories are Miles Morales, a Latino teen making his way from New York City’s Rivington Projects through a mixed, interracial family.

To arrive at this point in Miles’ life, the filmmakers have to fly him back in time, to his original age, which is when he first met his father. The experience of seeing the teenager lost in a childhood of violence and neglect sets him on a path to become a hero and run afoul of old enemies who are now his allies.

The underlying thread here, as with any Spider-Man story, is Mr. Parker, and that path to adulthood begins by digging deep into a past that has been almost always played out in absentia. The circumstances of Miles’ conception and life are kept a secret for an extended period of time, until we eventually find out — or almost find out — just what it was.

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