‘Across the Spider-Verse’ may be a visual masterpiece, but it’s also a legitimate health risk for some viewers

‘Across the Spider-Verse’ may be a visual masterpiece, but it’s also a legitimate health risk for some viewers
Spider-Man through the Spider-verse

Picture via Sony Pictures

While Sony remains woefully incompetent at live-action adaptations of Marvel characters – Morbius still gives me nightmares while I’m awake – it got all the love for its lively portions Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and now, Spider-Man: Through the Spider-Verse the studio is experiencing appreciation again. But no matter how many critics have painted the latter as yet another visual masterpiece, it poses a very real risk to a portion of the Marvel fandom.

It all started with the years 2018 Into the Spider-Verse.

Yes, the animated superhero flick has a 97% rave score on Rotten Tomatoes, but what many reviewers failed to point out in their descriptive reviews was quickly brought to light by aggrieved moviegoers. I’m talking about the flashing images and flashes of bright light in a few scenes in the film that tended to induce seizures in a very small but very real percentage of people who showed up to watch the film.

The severe strobe effects in question can and have caused headaches, dizziness and, in the worst cases, seizures in people with epilepsy, migraines, lupus and other chronic illnesses. Many were caught off guard as the studio reportedly decided to not attach a warning about the film’s inclusion of such effects at the start – although some moviegoers have reported that signs in cinemas warning of the same do exist.

But the damage had been done and it sparked a firestorm of tweets, heated articles, Reddit posts, Tumblr posts and more. to call Sony and warn other Marvel fans to avoid watching the film if they also suffer from conditions that may be aggravated by flashing lights.

The issue has also led to the creation of petitions asking Sony to mark a warning for viewers before the film’s credits roll, if not out of concern for others then at least to avoid any potential legal hassles it might end. by cause.

“Issue an epilepsy warning won’t necessarily hurt the film’s box office numbers (Incredibles 2 has made over $1 billion), and it will help protect otherwise misinformed viewers with epilepsy (and others with photosensitivity-related health issues), protecting Sony from lawsuits by moviegoers. who have had health issues triggered by this film due to lack of warning.

Another viewer shared how ‘the whole movie strobes non-stop, even the credits’ and confessed the experience left them ‘severely disoriented even an hour and a half’ after they left the theatre, while a sufferer epilepsy spent days recovering from the adverse reaction caused by the visual effects.

It remains to be seen whether Sony heeded the backlash and opted to add a disclaimer this time to Across the Spider-Verse, which also contains several scenes with flashing lights, without expecting the negative feedback and causing serious damage in the process.

But the saddest reality is that in their desire to win when it comes to serving up cutting-edge visual effects, the studio simply decided die-hard Marvel fans with photosensitivity disorders weren’t worth the hassle. be taken into account and have simply chosen to exclude them from attending an important event. cultural touchstone.

Is it really necessary to use such extensive strobe effects in a movie? Is opting for a flashy presentation the only way to make a film exciting? At this point, with the expectation of a change or complete exclusion of these effects hanging in the balance, we’ll have to make peace with a mandatory warning before the movie starts because those much-needed words of caution are still often missing. despite the risk of such scenes poses.

Spider-Man: Through the Spider-Verse hits theaters on June 2, 2023.

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