top of page
  • Writer's pictureAlta's Oyster

Miles Morales and the Worst Admission Price in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a beautiful work of art that raises the stakes for Miles Morales and challenges all of the spider heroes. There are spoilers ahead, so if you haven't watched the movie, save this article and come back after.

First of all: damn these people can draw! Draw, sketch, digital or otherwise, whatever the appropriate terms are for what was done here, the talent bled from every single frame. The visuals alone made this movie worthy of the five-year wait.

We're dropped into Brooklyn a year and four months after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Our boy Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, is now a high school sophomore who's balancing his academic career, being a present son, and being Brooklyn's one and only Spider-Man. It all makes for a stressed and lonely teenager.

The secret hero identity is predictably creating a rift between Miles and his parents Jeff (voiced by Brian Tyree Henry) and Rio (voiced by Lauren Vélez), who've come to see him as distracted, unreliable, and seemingly nonchalant about the important things. Their little boy is growing up, and with that comes independence, and with that comes the uncomfortable truth that he gets to decide how far to let them in.

Across the Spider-Verse does more with Rio this go around. Her insecurity about Miles venturing out to chase opportunities she never had access to is palpable. She's (rightly) fearful of the world rejecting her bright boy, telling him he's not good enough and maybe eventually convincing him that that lie is the truth. Man, I cried during the scene when she let him go. Rio's self-reflection, ownership, truth-telling, and prioritization of Miles' journey over her fear was touching and powerful. Jeff's comment that maybe they need to grow up as parents, too, was heartwarming, and his conversation with Miles as Spiderman after they fight Spot, voiced by Jason Schwartzman, is one of the highlights of the movie.

I would've never guessed that the figure who'd be yelling in Miles' face that he's not good enough, hot breath burning the kid's nostrils, would be another freaking Spider-Man. Spider-Man 2099, AKA Miguel O'Hara, was on his villain tip, wasn't he? Did the Society of Spider People and Other Creatures think about the best way to sell this to Miles? At all? Granted, I can't think of a great way to tell someone that they need to let their loved one die For The Plot, but surely how the Spideys executed here ain't it. 2099 called Miles illegitimate, a mistake, and for that I hope he stubs his toe on the corner of a coffee table.

Listen, maybe they're right. Maybe there are some things in the universe that just have to happen, but as is always the question when it comes to timelines and destiny: if the timeline changes, does that mean that's what Destiny wanted all along? Miles is proof that Destiny isn't written in stone (or is it?). As 2099 rudely told him, he wasn't supposed to become Spider-Man. The Peter Parker of Miles' Earth was supposed to keep living, but the timeline changed when the radioactive spider was sent to Miles' universe and bit him instead.

So, was Destiny interrupted or was Destiny fulfilled? Maybe Miles was meant to become Spider-Man in the exact circumstances that transpired. Who are they to say otherwise?

Well, they might be the appropriate experts to say so, for all I know. I've never read a Spider-Man comic of any kind, only watched most of the movies, so forgive me if I asked an obvious question.

But it's insane to expect Miles to accept what's basically hearsay. I saw a boy surrounded by a bunch of defeated people who are convinced that he must be emotionally brutalized before he can really be a hero. And they were pissed at him for having hope.

Now, hero convention does say they're right! Hero convention, story convention, does say that Miles needs to be emotionally brutalized and come out the other side all calloused and a better hero for all. But damn it, he lost his uncle! Isn't that enough scarring?!

Maaan, I'm scared for Miles. I don't want him to hurt! I don't want his innocence stripped away, his eyes haunted by the unique grief of losing a parent. I don't want him to have to console his mother. But what if they snatch Rio instead of Jeff?! I'm just not ready! I'm going to be a wreck during Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. My stomach will be in knots, and I will cry. And I'll be cheering for Miles while he fights like hell to save his dad, like I don't know any better.

I'm scared for Gwen Stacy (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld), too. The scenes between her and her dad were just gorgeous, the colors bleeding on the screen and getting darker and darker as she works through emotional turmoil and then brightening when she and her dad resolve things. And there was an uncomfortable finality to that resolution. There was an uncomfortable finality in her promise to Miles' parents that she'd bring him back. Gwen herself said that in every reality, Gwen Stacy falls for Spider-Man, and in every reality it ends badly. Whew!

Thankfully, we don't have to wait another five years for the continuation of this gripping story. Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse is slated for release on March 29, 2024.


bottom of page