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The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse shows the importance of being unapologetically yourself

Image source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

WARNING: contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

In 2018, Sony and Marvel teamed up on one of the most ambitious animated film projects of all time with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The film was met with high praise from fans and critics alike, winning dozens of awards, most notably the 2019 Oscar for best animated feature film. It captured the hearts of millions with its humor, diversity, visuals, soundtrack and lovable characters. Name a quality a film should strive to excel in, and the first Spider-Verse movie did it. 

Five years later, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has arrived. Miles Morales is older now, and more accustomed to his role as Brooklyn’s one and only spider-man. The film follows suit, taking all the elements that made the first movie such a groundbreaking masterpiece and improving on them. The most obvious of these features being the once again stunning visuals and world building that make each of this film’s locations have their own unique feel. In certain universes, the colors in the background and surrounding the characters will change to show the emotions they’re feeling as the story unfolds, which is a nice touch that adds to both the viewing experience and the story of the characters in each world. 

Beyond just the colorful scenery though, this film has a way of tugging at your emotions through its wonderfully written characters and storyline, which gives every important character just enough room to breathe within their own story and develop as the film progresses. Overall, the movie perfectly expresses the importance of being unapologetically yourself, even if everyone else around you is telling you it’s wrong. Sometimes it’s okay to be a trailblazer and have your own story, and Miles Morales is the ultimate example. 

This is shown during the scene where Miles is running from an entire multiverse of spider-people after failing to convince them that they need to let him return home to save his father before he dies. These spider-men are led by Miguel O’Hara, who is a sort of “spider in charge” trying to protect the multiverse. The reason that Miguel is trying to stop Miles is because in every spider-man storyline, losing someone close is part of their “canon”, a part of what makes every spider-man learn the valuable lesson of “with great power comes great responsibility.” These are referred to as “canon events”, and when they are disrupted, they damage the fabric of the universe they’re in. If enough canon events are disrupted, the entire multiverse could be destroyed, or in this case, the “spider-verse”. 

It is revealed during the chase between Miles and Miguel that Miles is the original anomaly. Miguel reveals that Miles was never supposed to be spider-man and that the spider that bit Miles came from a different universe, where it was supposed to bite an alternate version of him. When Miguel finally is able to pin Miles down and tell him all of this, Miles gets frustrated before responding with the defining line of the film. 

“Everyone keeps telling me how my story is supposed to go. Nah, Imma do my own thing.” The reason this line is so important is because it embodies the entire message of the film in two lines. No matter how many canon events Miles disrupts, no matter how many people tell him he’s not supposed to be spider-man, Miles is unafraid to be himself and do what he thinks is right.

This theme is also foreshadowed in the moment that Miles and Gwen Stacey share while looking out over Brooklyn together. Gwen says that in every other universe, Gwen falls for spider-man, and that in every other universe, it doesn’t end well. Miles responds by saying there’s a first time for everything, a line so simple yet so powerful upon rewatch. It’s a line that not only develops the relationship between Miles and Gwen, but also embodies Miles’ entire character. It also may imply that although Miles wasn’t supposed to be spider-man in the “canon”, there might be a first time for that as well. This is what makes Miles’ character so easy to root for and so likable in both movies – he’s not like all the other spider-people, and that’s a good thing. 

Just like how the first spider-verse movie showed the importance of overcoming struggles in life through the buildup to its iconic “leap of faith” scene, this film’s buildup to Miles doing his own thing is equally impressive in its story and payoff. Although the film does end on a cliffhanger and many key plot points won’t be resolved until 2024 when the final part of the trilogy releases, it feels like this spider-verse insert still gets its own unique message across without bloating the runtime with too much for the viewer to handle. Although a lot is packed into the final ten minutes, it’s more so to set up what will be the biggest events in Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse next year. 

The creators of this movie had a difficult task trying to live up to the beauty of Into the Spider-Verse. Yet, somehow, they managed to pull off not just an equally impressive film, but outdid the first one in many key aspects. It’s a movie that can make any viewer feel like they can be their own “spider-man” in everyday life. You don’t need a mask or superhuman abilities to control your own narrative and be fearless in your pursuit of being your best self. 

While the first movie naturally had a better ending since this film left many key plot points open for the end of the trilogy, it still does exactly what it sets out to do. It’s a wildly fun and emotional ride filled with everything a spider-man superfan could dream of, and it’s another triumph in the animated film department. For that, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse gets a perfect ten out of ten. 

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