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“I can relate to a teenager having anxiety at a new school, having trouble making friends,” writes 15-year-old VOX ATL writer Taj McKnight. “I can’t compare myself to an African King who has to win a civil war to stop his cousin from killing all white people.” (Photo: Sony Pictures)

‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ is Better Than ‘Black Panther’

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“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse” is the best animated film this year. OK, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let me start from the beginning.

I had the pleasure of seeing “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” last week at a press screening. I was greatly surprised by the appearance of film lead Shameik Moore (who plays Miles Morales). While speaking about the film, Moore revealed that he is in fact from Atlanta, which made this movie even more personal for me. Enough background, let’s swing into this (Yes, pun intended *wink*).

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse” is an animated Sony film from directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman. Along with these three directors, this film is brought by the powerful duo of Phil Lord (screenplay) and Christopher Miller (producer). These two have made some of my favorite projects, including the “The Lego Movie,”  “The Lego Batman Movie,” “21 Jump Street,” “22 Jump Street” and most importantly, the short-lived early 2000’s classic “Clone High.” I say all of this to say that Lord and Miller’s track record is nothing to scoff at. They bring their signature charm to this film as they have with all the others.

OK, now movie time. This film is incredible, to say the least. For those who don’t know, this film is about Miles Morales and his journey to become his universe’s Spider-Man with help from Peter Parker himself. Miles is the first Afro-Latino superhero to make it to the big screen and this is the first time Morales has been portrayed in a feature-length film.

If you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen other spider-people including the likes of Spider-Ham/Peter Porker (John Mulaney), Spider-Man Noir/ Peter Parker (Nicolas Cage), Spider-Woman/Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Sp//dr /Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and Spider-Man (Jake Johnson). But don’t get it wrong — Miles Morales is the star of the show and this movie is not a team-up flick. Miles is amazing as a protagonist and could definitely drive more films. Shameik Moore brings a certain energy to the character that’s invigorating (I actually got to meet Moore after the movie, if you wanted to know).

“Besides Miles, why should I see this movie?,” you are asking yourself right now (I know because I’m psychic). Two words for you, buddy: animation and soundtrack (technically, that’s three words but whatever).

This movie is black, no question. One of the main ways it shows this is through the music. Some of the artists featured on this soundtrack include Nicki Minaj, Jaden Smith, Vince Staples, Post Malone, Juice WRLD, Lil Wayne, and many many other artists of color. Unlike “Black Panther,” every song on the soundtrack is featured in the movie. And it’s not like these songs are put in the movie just to attract hip-hop lovers. Each song either has a role in the plot or greatly enhances the scene.

The animation in this movie is so good I can’t even express how good it is, and that’s wild because “Into the Spider-Verse” comes from the same studio that made “The Emoji Movie.” The animation is so fluid, and colorful and comic booky. You could never replicate these specific frames in a live action movie. Right from the beginning, they suck you into this world full of color and expression. There’s a part in the movie where actual comic panels and thought bubbles come out of nowhere. ONOMATOPOEIAS, everyone! Actual words will pop up on screen to describe an action like Pow, Zip, Thwip, Boooom!!

Honestly, this movie surprised the crap out of me. It’s one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen (Yeah, this superhero movie is Pixar level). I’d even go as far as saying this movie is better than another 2018 influential superhero movie about a certain cat-themed hero.

“Black Panther” was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture. Besides that, it’s won a Saturn Award for Best Comic-to-Film Motion Picture, a BET Award for Best Movie, a Critics Choice Award for Best Picture, an MTV Movie Award for Movie of the Year and many many others, 25 other awards in fact. So, you’re probably saying what audacity does this 15-year-old kid have to say that “Black Panther” is not as good as some animated kids film. You’re right — I am just a 15-year-old kid but I know my feelings.

I wasn’t a big Miles fan but now I want to be. Isn’t that what a comic book character needs to be able to do? Introduce the mainstream audience to new characters and drive them to learn more about them? I love this movie because I felt something while watching it. I want a movie to make me feel and “Into the Spider-verse” does just that. I can relate to a teenager having anxiety at a new school, having trouble making friends, and small stuff like not knowing all the words to a song.

The fact that I can relate to the protagonist alone makes it one of the best movies. I can’t compare myself to an African King who has to win a civil war to stop his cousin from killing all white people. I’m sorry T’Challa, but I can’t see myself in you.

Why does it matter? Why does it matter if ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ is better than “Black Panther?” Short answer — it doesn’t. In 2018, we got to see two incredible POC Superhero movies that deserve praise and recognition. “Black Panther” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” are both nominees for the 2019 Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture — Drama, and Best Motion Picture — Animated, respectively. Best of luck to both of these incredible movies.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” by directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, and starring Shameik Moore hits movie theaters Friday, Dec. 14.

Taj is a 15-year-old sophomore who will definitely be cosplaying as Miles Morales at next year’s Momocon.


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comments (5)

  1. TC

    You wildin bruh. T’challa got left for dead and came back to take his kingdom back. Miles cool, movie might be cool too, but nah.

  2. Brenda W. Lamar

    Wow Taj this is great…a well written review. You really draw the reader into the movie. Good job!

  3. Nicole

    I feel like I’ll like this movie better too because the characters seem more relatable.

    1. Kayla

      The movies aren’t about being “relatable” wtf. It’s a whole ass superhero movie?

  4. Monica Cooper

    Ok, Taj, you convinced me! I am curious to see the story-line and I am excited about the music.
    I am also proud of you getting your point of view out there! It takes courage to do so. Keep it up!
    Dr. C