Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse

This article was originally written for the East Brunswick High School newspaper “The Clarion”.

By Ian Clark

Since Tobey Maguire first hit the silver screen as Spider-Man in 2002, several more film iterations of the iconic wallcrawler have come soaring off the pages and into theatres. None however, change up the Spider-Man movie formula more than the recently released Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Spider-Verse is an animated take on Spider-Man but instead of following Peter Parker as our main character, we instead follow Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), an Afro-Latino Spider-Man created in 2011 as a part of the alternate Ultimate Marvel Universe.  Morales is being mentored by an old and jaded Peter B. Parker (the main Marvel Universe Spider-Man, played by Jake Johnson), while grappling with his new spider powers and also trying to take down Kingpin before his interdimensional collider destroys the multiverse.

The story very loosely adapts the 2014 comic event “Spider-Verse”, though it only stays true to the aspect of alternate Spider-People in the form of Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham and Peni Parker with the robot SP//dr.

The film uses a unique animation style, using techniques found in comic books such as lines or Benday dots (to simulate shading), motion lines, expression words like POW! when a character hits or animating ‘on twos’ in order to give each tiny movement feeling and importance.

Needless to say, this film has garnered stunning reviews commending it’s art style, music, writing, acting and more. It has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and even earned the Golden Globe for and an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Picture.

Students here at EBHS feel similarly about this film.  Sophomore Andrew Petrocelli noted that Spider-Verse “was absolutely amazing to say the very least. From everything to the pacing of the film to the character development throughout, there isn’t a dull moment. This movie gave me an emotional thrill from a Spider-Man movie that I haven’t received since Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man 2”. Petrocelli compares this movie to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 released in 2004 which is/was regarded by many fans to be the greatest Spider-Man movie ever and one of the best superhero movies ever.

Another sophomore, Jade Enna, calls Spider-Verse “one of best movies I’ve seen in years. It was so good that I needed to see it twice. The animation was so beautiful and made the movie feel so alive. I would 100% recommend watching it” Enna talks more about the animation, commenting on how it brought a sense of livelihood to the movie that rivals the styles found in movies from Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks.  Where some animated movies strive for hyper-realism, Spider-Verse is able to use a style that seems true to its comic book roots that aids in conveying a compelling story.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman and is produced by the duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller of The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street fame.

This groundbreaking animated movie featuring unique visuals, an amazing soundtrack and a star studded cast is definitely a must see for any fan of the webhead.

Excelsior!

This article was originally published in the East Brunswick High School newspaper “The Clarion” in November, 2018.

By Ian Clark

On Monday, November 18, the world lost a legend with the passing of Stanley Martin Lieber, or as most people knew him, Stan Lee. Lee created and co-created some of the most iconic characters who filled the pages of comics and movie screens alike, and helped define pop culture from the 1950’s well into the 21st Century.  Some of the characters developed by Mr. Lee include Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Thor, Black Panther, and Iron Man.

Mr. Lee rose from an intern at Timely Publications to become the creative director and driving force behind what eventually became Marvel Comics.  Working with equally legendary editors such as Joe Simon, artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and publisher Marin Goodman, this team single handedly created the ‘golden age’ of comics in the 1950s-1960s, and established a whole new way to create characters and tell stories.  Mr. Lee was key in the development of the “Marvel Universe” where all the characters lived in the same ‘world’ with normal humans. This was a new yet exciting concept.

Lee’s work has touched millions around the world, whether you are a die hard comic fan or have only seen a Marvel movie or TV show.  It was the unique way Mr. Lee’s characters related to the audience that helped them become some of the most important characters ever created. Avid Marvel fan and EBHS sophomore Andrew Petrocelli is one of these people, recounting how Lee “provided me  the greatest gift I could ask for, an endless imaginative playground that allowed me a place to escape. These characters he invented even taught me lessons such as the value of standing out and being different.” Indeed, Lee’s timeless characters inspired children, artists, and writers for decades and is a testament to the personalities behind the characters Lee developed.  Lee’s work was able to push ideologies that carried on throughout time. He was instrumental in pushing boundaries in the early years of comics, enabling Marvel to develop more realistic and emotional stories, like Spider-Man saving a drug addict or Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) battle with alcoholism. These storylines helped the characters become more relatable and realistic. EBHS sophomore Spencer Longo, notes that he’s “thankful that Stan Lee’s comics were able were able to emblazon the ideologies of humility and compassion into my father’s mind, so he could teach me the same principals. It is truly heartbreaking that such an influential man passed.”

Stan Lee was a creative force of nature, creating some of the most recognizable characters in fiction. His influence on society will be felt forever more as his characters will continue to flood the pages of comics, as well as TV and movie screens. Stan Lee redefined superheroes and is arguably one of the most important creative figures ever. Excelsior!

Venom Review: What do EBHS Students think of Venom?

This article was originally published in the East Brunswick High School newspaper “The Clarion” in October, 2018.

By Ian Clark

Venom, the Spider-Man villain from Marvel Comics has received his own solo movie to join other superhero films. Venom was met with negative reviews from most critics, earning 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and 35% from Metacritic.  Marvel and Spider-Man fans were not surprised by this as several Sony produced Spider-Man projects have had similar abysmal reviews.

EBHS Sophomore Casper Godlewski backs these reviews, saying “the only person who cared was the guy who played Brock.  There was potential, but it was wasted”, criticizing it for points like how “the first time Venom took Eddie over, [Eddie] should’ve lost control, allowing for Venom to properly maim and maul people like the comics”.

Another EBHS student, Ian Artenstein (Sophomore) says that he “liked it a lot but [didn’t] think it was a good film”.  He thought the comedic aspects were admirable but also that “too much time was spent developing the antagonist rather than strengthening Venom’s connection to human life”.  Artenstein’s comments demonstrate the mixed opinions of the film. People excuse the inaccuracies to the comics and flaws of the movie but focus on the positives: comedy, special effects and the Venom/Brock ‘relationship’.

Overall, opinions are decidedly mixed, though the more positive reviews shine though. With more positive reviews and a domestic box office gross of $175,314,542 (as of October 24, 2018), rumors have begun to spread about a sequel. Director Ruben Fleischer has hinted about plans for a sequel but no official announcement has been made.

For fans looking for more Venom content, some of the best storylines in the comics include Spider-Man: Birth of Venom, Venom: Lethal Protector, Agent Venom, Spider-Man #300, Maximum Carnage, Venom: Planet of the Symbiotes, Venom: Space Knight and Venom: Dark Origin.