By JD Phillips
In the last decade, Spider-Man has had some truly rough times. Between “Spider-Man 3”, the failed “Amazing Spider-Man” franchise reboot, and the utter failure by Sony to make an MCU styled shared universe around Spider-Man’s lore, it started to seem like the comic book legend was never going to rule pop culture the way it did when “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man 2” dropped again.
2018 was a biiiiiig turning point for the character in that regard. Like Huge.
1. Spider-Man: Avenger
The Tom Holland Spider-Man dazzled audiences with his youthful energy from the moment he stole Cap’s shield in “Captain America: Civil War”. This year, he completed his character arc and was finally dubbed a full-fledged Avenger. In “Avengers: Infinity War”, the character fought alongside fellow Avengers both in New York and in space, traded pop culture barbs with Chris Pratt’s Starlord, and met an incredibly tragic end. Of all the characters who were lost in the movie’s decimation, Peter’s was the most heartbreaking.
Also, his lines “I’m sorry” are much more tragic when you realize he’s apologizing for not pulling Thanos’ Gauntlet off fast enough. He thinks its his fault. It’s okay to cry. Why don’t you take a moment to compose yourself and then come back?
2. Playstation’s Exclusive Superhero
Spidey has had a very dicey track record with video games in the days since the great “Spider-Man 2”. 2018 was the year where Spidey kicked Batman off of his video game throne with “Marvel’s Spider-Man”. It set up a fantastic universe that might not just pave the way for future Spidey games, but also for Marvel to have a much bigger video game future.
It not only held its own with amazing gameplay but also with a compelling story that featured all of the high flying action and deep, character-driven tragedy that the character’s best stories are known for.
3. Venom makes bank (somehow)
The first Spidey-less Spider-Man film, “Venom”, is pretty god awful. It has a stitched together plot, massively cliched villains, and obviously had 45 R-rated minutes cut out in order to just make more money. None of that mattered though, because it was an enormous hit. The film showed that Sony can finally create its own shared universe that may or may not exist in the Tom Holland MCU.
This film may not be as great as films like “Spider-Man 2” or “Spider-Man: Homecoming” but it is still a landmark in the wider Spider-Man mythos. Expect to see a lot more Spidey spinoffs to come. Hopefully, they’ll get better with time.
4. Animation’s Superhero
The last Spider-Man film “Spider-Man: Edge of the Spider-Verse” is not only a great Spider-Man film but also the best animated film of 2018. “Venom” may have set the stage for a massive shared universe of live action characters but Spider-Verse manages to do that even better on the animated stage. There is definitely going to be a sequel to this film but it stands to reason that Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Man 2099 could all be getting franchises too.
“Black Panther” may be the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture, this movie has a solid chance at actually winning for Best Animated Film. Eat your heart out “Incredible 2” there’s only room for one animated superhero team this year.
If you’re counting, that’s one massive movie universe set up, one massive video game universe set up, and one massive animation universe set up. In a year that included a Deadpool sequel, Black Panther making pop culture history, and Thanos making supervillain history like no one has since Heath Ledger’s Joker killed that guy with a pencil or Darth Vader revealed himself to Luke Skywalker, Spider-Man reigns supreme.