I’m glad my daughter is experiencing cinematic diversity like Into the Spider-Verse
In the blink of an eye, the Christmas break came and went. Much of it was spent stuffing myself silly, drinking gingerbread gin for no real reason other than the fact I could, lounging around with the family and going on the odd walk when not sat in front of the TV.
So with the new year here, that means new opportunities. And one of those presented itself this morning when I decided last minute – as in I booked the 11.30am screening at 11.25am – to take Roma to the cinema for our first visit of 2019. We saw new animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which was helmed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the team behind The Lego Movie.
Into the Spider-Verse was released mid-December but, given my love of inducting Roma into the way of the superhero and cinema, I was keen to take her and thought it would be wise to wait for the hype to die down rather than go to a packed screening – just in case she decided to have a meltdown that’d prompt us to leave. After all, while most outings have been a success, the visit to see The Grinch did not go well and the screams that kicked off 45 minutes in still haunt me.
With Into the Spider-Verse, rather than walking down the beaten track and telling yet another Peter Parker story, it follows the footsteps of Miles Morales, mixed race son to an African-American father and Puerto Rican mother, breathing new life into the age-old character. He’s an intelligent and talented kid and, like many, he’s trying to find his place in society – then he goes and gets bitten by a radioactive spider to add to his pubescent confusion.
The film’s fun, vibrant and looks and as though it was plucked from the pages of a comic book with a sound that’s equally as colourful. And I’m happy that, although we missed the beginning – my bad, I did say I booked last minute – we made it through to the end. God bless the crackers, rice cakes and milk I took along for the ride to pacify Roma.
Looking at the film from a broader perspective, in the short space of time since Roma was born, there’s been a massive amount of cinematic diversity that’s taken place in the superhero-sphere. Of course she’s too young to appreciate it but, as the black / mixed race father of a mixed race daughter, seeing characters like Miles on the big screen is encouraging. Of course, raising a girl, having characters like Gwen Stacy and Peni Parker in the fold is no less important.
In my day it was just the Power Rangers that showed any kind of diversity on screen – which was even questioned for political incorrectness – so it’s truly heartening to see how far things have come. From Wonder Woman to Captain Marvel, Black Panther to Miles Morales, Shuri to Okoye and now Aquaman being given an overhaul, she’s going to grow up in an age where women and people of different colours and cultures can be seen doing anything. And I think that can only be a good thing for us all, as it truly reflects the world we’re living in today.