I've seen every Spider-Man movie in theatres. Every single one. Spider-Man is my favorite fictional character, and the original comic book run, written by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, is what got me into reading and appreciating literature (and now, at the end of 2018, I've just graduated WWU with my degree in English Literature, so really I should thank Spider-Man for whatever future career I get later down the road).
Point is, I owe a lot to this character. The world of Peter Parker has been a source of adventure and wonder for me, from his colorful super-villains to iconic supporting cast, I always feel at home when picking up a random Spider-Man comic book.
Going into "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," I wasn't expecting too much. I loved the soundtrack, had heard it was well-received by critics and fans alike, so I knew it was going to be a good time with some great humor and solid, animated action.
10 minutes into the movie, I started crying. Now, I won't give away spoilers, so don't worry about that. I'll just say this: never in my life has a film felt like such a "homecoming" for me.
The day before I saw the film, I graduated from college. As I said, I majored in English Literature. I love to read and that's largely due to the influence of Steve Ditko and Stan Lee's work on the initial run of "The Amazing Spider-Man" comic book series. I still have thousands of pages of collections of their work back in my childhood bedroom. I remember even writing my own Spider-Man comics as a kid, I just couldn't get enough.
It wasn't the action and adventure of the stories that got me, either. It was the story of Peter Parker, a character who endures the toughest hardships, makes the worst mistakes, and seemingly gets crapped on by every possible person in his life. Despite all of this, he is a character that persists and stays loyal to his calling to love and protect others.
This same character trait is expressed in each main "spider" character in the new movie (which is funnily mocked in the film when a situation arises: a character needs to perform a dangerous, life-threatening task, to which every alternate spider character starts arguing that of course *they* will be the one to risk their lives to save everyone).
At the core of the Spider-Man comics is (or should) be an inward exploration of what it means to persist, and that heartbeat is ever-present in this film. Leaving the theatre, I felt confidently that not only was "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" my favorite Spider-Man movie, but more than that, I felt inspired and encouraged, as someone who confidently saw my favorite character reflected in his/her/their truest form, encouraging me to see and hope for that same persistence and calling of loyalty within myself.