Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse

Spiderman was never my hero. Don’t get me wrong, I never disliked him… He just wasn’t my spirit animal, as it were. He was one of the many, many heroes I saw and respected, even liked. But he’s not the one I wanted to grow up to be. Superman was that guy… Now before you go and get upset thinking I’m in the DC side of that great DC-Marvel holy war, I owned and read far more Marvel comics than I did DC, but the thing is I read what I liked to read, and I looked up to who I wanted to be. For me, that was Superman/Captain America, though I recognize and respect the fact that we live in a world that needs Batman/Iron Man more. (Someday I’ll make my case for those parallels here, but this is about Spidey, so…)

I have friends that are diehard Spiderman fans, and I have frequently tried to stay awake while they explained why he’s the best. I have to admit that I loved a number of the mythos’s villains, and found a number of the stories interesting. But it wasn’t mine or for me. I kept in touch with it primarily for the various connections to the X-Men and Avengers, but I don’t think I ever ran out and bought a Spiderman t-shirt or hat or even keychain. I enjoyed, for the most part, the Toby McGuire films — Thomas Hayden Church’s Sandman was the best character in any of them though! Fight me! — but I couldn’t even tell you the name of the guy in the Amazing Reboots. And I’m not interested enough to look it up. I think Tom Holland, if he can keep himself from being banned from Hollywood films, is doing a great job as the current iteration, but still, Spiderman just wasn’t really for me.

I saw the trailer for Into The Spiderverse early this year, I don’t remember what movie it was in front of, but I thought the art style and idea was a bit weird. I mentally wrote it off, and wrongly assumed it was a videogame.

I just got out of the theater and all I can say is Spiderman still isn’t “my hero”, but this is my Spiderman movie.

I already knew of Miles Morales and his status as “ultimate Spiderman”, though honestly I didn’t know much about him. I also knew about Spider Gwen, and there’s some part of my brain that remembers Peter Porker… But what I didn’t anticipate was how well all these different takes on Spiderman would work together, and not feel redundant. Hell, at least 3 of the Spidermen present in the film were different versions of Peter Parker himself, just from different eras or different lengths of time having been there web slinger we all know. My favorite version, honestly, was Noir Spiderman, who was simply put, black and white in terms of costume and morals, and in his own words, the wind goes wherever he goes… So his trenchcoat was perpetually flapping in the wind. And as luck would have it, he was voiced by Nick Cage… God bless him!

Any way, the different takes on the character were just one facet of the film. It wouldn’t be a Spiderman film without a heavy dose of morality, character building for both the audience and the hero, and the moment of truth/rise to the occasion birth of the hero climax. We get that. We get that in a lot of films, frankly. But it was different in Spiderverse because it was actually fun instead of intense or over the top. The film made it a point to show that Miles is a kid and that none of the other Spider-peeps expected him to just go out and fight the bad guy. Peter even points out that he just wasn’t ready yet towards the end of the film. Perhaps in one of the most grown up moments I’ve seen in a comic book based movie, I’m an animated movie period, Peter chooses to sacrifice himself to save all the other Spider-peeps because it was the only way since Miles wasn’t ready. And he demonstrates to the kid that he just wasn’t ready without being brutal or unfair.

I’m rambling and have lost all sense of form but suffice it to say, I liked this movie. I’ll be happy to add it to my collection once it’s available.

Smallville: Michael Rosenbaum Returns as Lex Luther

Although I’m a fan of many things, I have always consistently been a fan of Superman. I confess that I haven’t often picked up Superman comics, nor have I bought a lot of Superman memorabilia or spent a lot of money on my Superman interests. But I have always been a fan of Superman. Naturally, I’ve been watching Smallville since the show debuted ten years ago, despite the often tedious formulaic nature of the show. None of the negatives mattered, the show was and is great! And you couldn’t have a better villain than Lex Luthor, portrayed by Michael Rosenbaum. Eventually, Mr. Rosenbaum left the show for multiple reasons, and the producers panicked, and tried to keep Lex Luthor a part of the show without recasting the role.

I think the idea was that they would eventually convince Mr. Rosenbaum to return to the show, so they didn’t want to recast his role. Of course, he left right after filming a season finale centered around Lex Luthor’s final discovery of Clark Kent’s secrets, so they couldn’t just go on without the character either. As a result, they played games with us… Having an actor act out the role, but never showing him from the front, or always in darkness with only enough clothing visible to reveal that it’s supposed to be Lex.  As they probably expected, and you certainly expect, this sucked. Badly. So after a while, they killed off Lex, which completely screws the continuity of the Superman/DC Universe. Since the death of Lex, we’ve been visited by a lot of major Superman villains, and none have had the same staying power as Lex had. I’m sure Smallville‘s ratings have suffered as a result, and they finally scheduled the end of the series with season 10.

But that’s not where the story ends. In season 9, new Lex Luthor clones sprung up, and rumors began to surface that Mr. Rosenbaum was returning for the final season. Those rumors were repeatedly squashed by both sides, but they persisted nonetheless. We eventually saw a clone of Lex that was an old man, and began to think that they finally decided to recast the part, especially since a younger clone was growing up so rapidly.

Then the news finally hit about two weeks ago (when I originally started writing this post): Michael Rosenbaum is returning to Smallville as Lex Luthor in the series finale! This past Friday, Mr. Rosenbaum had this to say via his Twitter account: @mrosenbaum711: “Guess who’s on the SMALLVILLE set right now? Good to see some familiar faces. What a day!!!!!!!!”

Indeed, welcome back Michael, and thank you very much! If I may speak for the entire Smallville fan community, WELCOME BACK!!