Comics on Film: A New Spider-Man Swings Onto the Big Screen

Comics on Film: A New Spider-Man Swings Onto the Big Screen

Jan 20, 2017

Here at Comics on Film, we've spoken about our love for Miles Morales, aka the "Ultimate Spider-Man," for a long time.

While in the past we've speculated about whether or not the character would make the transition to the big screen in live-action, fans of Miles were given a pretty awesome consolation prize in the form of confirmation that he'll be heading up Sony's in-development animated Spider-Man film, due out next year.

One of the coolest things about this news is that it has the chance to provide longtime fans of the character's movies with an entirely new dimension of Spidey's world, especially considering that even immediately upon his debut, Miles was seen as a welcome new perspective on Marvel heroism with deeply relatable stories and a protagonist who's just so darn likable.

So, what might a Miles Morales-led animated Spider-Man film be like? We have a few guesses, and thought we'd share them.

 
Peter Parker May Fit Into the Occasion Differently from the Comics
 

As we've explained before, in the comics Miles was introduced into what was called Marvel's "Ultimate Universe." It was different than the mainline Marvel Comics Universe appearing in ongoing comics titles like The Amazing Spider-ManThe AvengersCaptain America, etc. and allowed creators to tell stories more freely without the drag of fifty years of Marvel continuity to constrain them. The Ultimate universe as a concept began with the Ultimate Spider-Man title in the year 2000, which featured a newer, younger version of Peter Parker compared to his mainline counterpart.

Eventually, the Ultimate line included alternate versions of the vast majority of Marvel characters, including the Avengers (known there as "the Ultimates"), Daredevil, the Punisher, S.H.I.E.L.D., etc. In a massive 2011 Ultimate comics crossover event, Peter Parker was killed defending New York City from the Green Goblin, having already been worn down earlier that night by taking a bullet intended for Captain America through the back from the Punisher.

By the time Ultimate Peter Parker died, a kid named Miles Morales was already well on his way to becoming that universe's newest Webslinger. Some time later after the massive universe-shattering crossover Secret Wars, the Ultimate universe was folded into the main Marvel Universe. As a result, both the traditional Peter and good ol' Miles both serve as Spider-Man in the current Marvel Comics Universe.

Given the fact that the film is animated, the creative team behind it (Phil Lord and Chris Miller of The Lego Movie fame and upcoming co-directors of the Han Solo Star Wars spin-off film) will likely try to avoid the heavier parts of Miles' origin, in that it likely won't react explicitly to the gruesome death of Peter Parker. The film has been billed in the past as an animated comedy, while also purporting to "break new ground" in both the genres of animation and superhero films.

Will Peter probably be referenced or included somehow? We would guess so, but we just think he'll be included a bit differently from the source material.

 
 
The Film Would Benefit from Establishing Miles' Origin from the Comics
 

While there were plenty of fans who were unsure about Miles' introduction in the comics -- even if those same fans were still free to read about Peter Parker in the main Amazing Spider-Man title -- a fair amount of doubters were proven of Miles' worthiness as Spider-Man by virtue of the origin story told in his first ongoing series. Written by Brian Michael Bendis with beautiful pencils by Sara Pichelli, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man devoted its first year to establishing Miles, establishing his powers and his family, and making him the fully-fledged new vision of Spider-Man.

Yes, he was also bitten by an unusual spider, but Bendis and Pichelli play around the beats and make something that feels both unique and appropriate. It was still a Spider-Man series, after all.

Now, it's true that you likely couldn't do a straight adaptation of Miles' origin, especially if the movie is going for a more comedic angle. But, one of the more fun aspects of those first 12 issues was in Miles' sometimes awkward behavior concerning the changes that he was going through.

One of the reasons that Peter Parker became so popular with movie audiences so fast back in 2002 is because of his sense of humor, right at the forefront of who he is. While Miles and Peter aren't simply the same guy, they have enough similarities that help illustrate the fact that their senses of humor, as well as their brands of heroism, come from similar places.

So far no Spider-Man movie has been made that does a direct adaptation of a comic book story. This has generally been a good approach for the most successful superhero movies of the last 17 years, and though the Miles Morales animated Spider-Man movie will likely follow that path, hopefully the creative team will take a long, substantive look at Miles' origin story.

What do you think of Miles Morales making his cinematic debut in animation? Be sure to leave a comment below, and we'll see you next week for a brand new edition of Comics on Film!


Chris Clow is a gamer, a comic book expert and former retailer, as well as a freelance contributor to The Huffington Post and Batman-On-Film.com, as well as host of the Comics on Consoles podcast. You can find his weekly piece Comics on Film right here at Movies.com. Check out his blog, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.

Categories: Features, Geek
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