Is Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse a Black Action Film?
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
With the release of Spider-Man: Miles Morales video game on PS4 & PS5 last month, it's a nice time to revisit one of the most critically beloved animated comic book movies of all time, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The film was released in 2018 from Sony Pictures and was a runaway success. Not quite the box office smash of Marvel Studios' films but against it's $90 million budget, it turned quite a profit and will produce sequels as we speak. The movie, itself, was a blast. Technically and narratively daring and exciting, while set against a backdrop of racial diversity and social consciousness in modern New York City. So my question is this: Is Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse a Black Action Film?
My answer, of course, is yes. Technically, on paper, it's an animated action film first. But when you look at the animated cast of characters (full of African-American and Latino faces that's very accurate of inner city, especially NYC, population) and the voice cast it becomes crystal clear. Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), Miles' Uncle (Mahershala Ali), Miles' Father (Brian Tyree Henry), and Miles' Mother (Lauren Velez) are all played by people of color and that in and of itself is progressive. But to depict and comment on diversity and race relations in such a vibrant and uplifting film in a mainstream studio film is a step in all the right directions.
And the film itself is a wonder to behold. Full of a comic book, pop art aesthetic that's at once vintage, retro, and modern, it's visually arresting. The fact that Miles aka Spider-Man, our hero, is of African-American and Latino descent says something and is indicative of how Marvel sees the future of our culture. Representation is important, especially in the eyes of our youth. Marvel Studios knows this and by putting the first African-American Superhero film (Black Panther and Blade - if you want to get technical), the first female led Superhero (Captain Marvel), the first Asian-American (Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), they are doing their part in spades. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse may be animated but it's a Black Action Film and a great film.