It was early 2018 when "Spider-Man: Homecoming" arrived at my house via an insistent Dane Kelly. Despite an amazing showing in "Avengers: Civil War" I was somewhat leary of seeing the movie.
After all, from what I saw in the trailer it looked like they were drawing heavily from Miles Morales's version of Spider-Man, which I was always lukewarm on. And of course there's that inherant resistance to change that everyone seems to hold onto, and which Kevin Feige has apparently sworn a blood oath to destroy.
That suspicious feeling doesn't come from nowhere.
Those of us who lived through the horrors of the non-Conroy Batmen of the 90's know: Too often we've seen Bat-suits given nipples or James Bond go to space as the franchises we love were bent and chipped until they looked like whatever it is Hollywood executives had convinced themselves that the kids were into. The bar more often than not lowers in the pursuit of popularity.
Yet Marvel has avoided this problem, and somehow that even extends to the properties still controlled by Sony. The Danes of this world keep convincing the Jakes that these movies are worth seeing, and they are right. Immediately after seeing it I declared that "Spider-Man: Homecoming" was my favorite Spider-Man movie of all time and insisted that Dane thank me to telling him that we should see it.
Then a game-changing game came out.
A few months later Dane recommended it to me, and I declared that "Spider-Man" for the PS4 was my favorite Spider-Man game of all time. And of course demanded a "thank you" for suggesting that we play it (I'm a bad friend.)
I found out I dig Miles Morales now.
This happened when "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" came out on video. I did not want to see it becase this was a full-on Miles Morales story, with a cameo by freaking Spider-Ham no less. I just didn't want to invest the few hours into it. But, Dane having been twice proven right was enough to convince me and mother of pearl what a film.
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is the best Spider-Man movie I have ever seen. It may be the best superheroe movie I have ever seen. It was certainly my favorite movie of 2018, and that was after seeing "Infinity War," which was a movie that 10 year old Jake would have thought could only be made by burning a wish from a genie.
This year, the bar is officially raised for Spider-Man stories.
It is now 2019 and you can see what are in my opinion (which is perfect and should never be questioned) four of the best Spider-Man stories-- "Infinity War," "Homecoming," "Into the Spider-Verse," and PS4's "Spider-Man"-- that have ever been made. All of this is in anticipation of more of the same level of excellence in "Far From Home" and possibly returning in "Avengers: Endgame."
2019 is Spider-Man's year not because it will have the most stories put out at once, but because if the next stories told with Tom Holland and the gang are on or even near the same level, we will have a new standard for our expectations. It is a rare example of the bar being raised, and I cannot wait to see what's next for the web slinger.