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This Is The Most Important Superhero Movie Of The Decade

Superhero movies have been around for decades, from the early days of adventure serials to the dawn of the modern blockbuster era with the likes of 1978's Superman and 1989's Batman. However, the subgenre really started to take off in the 2000s with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy lighting up the box office. A turning point for the came in 2008, the year that gave us both The Dark Knight, proving superhero movies could offer both blockbuster entertainment and critically-acclaimed drama, and Iron Man, which would set up the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the direction pretty much all superhero movies would go in the years to come.

The idea that characters like Thor and Doctor Strange would appear in the same scene together in a movie would've been inconceivable back in 2002, but now, it's just another day in the MCU. Formerly C-list superheroes are now household names, and audiences are more than willing to accept a talking raccoon and sentient tree traveling the galaxy together. The superhero landscape at the cineplex has become incredibly diverse, with plenty of instant classics arriving in the past ten years. 

There are plenty of contenders for the best superhero movie of the 2010sBlack Panther brought newfound depth to the kind of stories superhero movies could tell, while Avengers: Endgame was arguably the biggest cinematic event of the decade. The idea of crowning any one film as "best" is open to interpretation, but when it comes to "most important," there's one film that shows what superhero movies are capable of, and where they need to go in the future to stay relevant and fresh — Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse breathes new life into a classic character

There have been plenty of Spider-Man movies, and many of them are excellent. Spider-Man 2 is arguably the best live-action interpretation of the character, while Spider-Man: Homecoming offered a fresh take on the hero's origin story, but there's just something about Into the Spider-Verse that makes the character — and the art of the comic book movie — come alive in a whole new way. 

This time around, our hero is an Afro-Latino high schooler by the name of Miles Morales. He also gets bit by a radioactive spider, and he soon learns he has a lot to live up to by the Peter Parker in his universe. He's quickly joined by Spider-People from other universes due to Kingpin's Super-Collider going haywire, introducing him to the likes of Peter B. Parker, Spider-Gwen, and even Spider-Ham. Together they'll have to work together to prevent the multiverse from collapsing. 

While the storyline sounds like it could've gone off the rails at any second, it manages to be accessible without ever feeling convoluted. It even dives into intense scientific principles — an impressive feat for what's ultimately a children's film. That's not even getting into the astonishing, eye-popping animation. Every single frame is like a painting, making it one of the most visually-arresting movies (superhero or otherwise) in recent memory. 

Into the Spider-Verse knocks down the idea of what a superhero is supposed to look like, and what kind of story you can tell within the confines of the genre. Films like Avengers: Endgame and Justice League may be bigger, but for our money, the movie to look to as superheroes enter a new decade is Spider-Verse. With a sequel on the way, we can't wait to see where Miles Morales goes next, and every other superhero franchise would do well to realize there are always new ways to tell stories.