‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse’ Is A Lesson On What It Means To Be A Hero

The cast from the newest and boldest 'Spider-Verse' movie share their hero stories.

The multiverse is taking the world by storm! There have been countless shows and movies leaning on the idea of many lives all being lived simultaneously in different dimensions, but let us remember that The Spider-Verse was one of the first cinematic animation experiences of it. The offering of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse in 2018 was so brilliant it took home an Oscar. 

And finally, we get the followup to the award-winning film with Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse. It’s been five years since its predecessor, but Across The Spider-Verse is here, and it’s a bold and emotional followup to the giant that came before it. Did someone say another Oscar win?

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In the film, we follow Brooklyn’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Miles (Shameik Moore), as he teams up with lil’ crush Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) to try to save the Spider-people and multiverse from a threatening super-villain named The Spot. The cast also includes Brian Tyree Henry (Jefferson Davis), Issa Rae (Spider-Woman), Daniel Kaluuya (Spider-Punk), Lauren Velez (Rio Morales) and more. We sat down with them to discuss their definition of a hero and the benefits of being a rebellious teenager with a vision like Miles Morales.

“Teenagers are trash,” Brian Tyree Henry, who voices Miles’ dad, Jefferson Davis, said boldly. He elaborated, “I think about the teenagers today and what they deal with juxtaposed to what we dealt with being teenagers and…it is truly a different world. So there's sympathy and empathy for them, but I'll also choke you. A lot of that reflected in what we had to do dealing with Miles because I think what teenagers deal with now is such a sense of identity. They identify with so many things and it's like, well, hold on, but who are you? Do you feel loved? Are you able to care? So I now, being the adult that I am, I'm trying not to pass as much judgment on teenagers as I do, but I just try to come from a place of understanding.”

Across The Spider-Verse has everything one could ever want from comic book cinema: Easter eggs with just the right amount of wink wink nudge nudge for those true Spidey fans, expert comedic timing, the kind of cameo that makes you scream in glee, jaw-dropping adventures and in this case, a list of people and Spider-people alike to root for–because they introduce so many new characters. But it’s that leading character energy from our Brooklyn born and bred Spider-Man, Miles Morales, whose journey of self-discovery and redefining of what it means to be a hero, all while navigating the life and load of a teenager under the thumb of his doting parents that deserve our hooting and hollering.

Visually hopping across expansive styles from universe to universe and sometimes within the same universe, the film offers us the feeling of being animated ourselves; as if we’ve been yanked inside their multiverse as honorary Spider-people helping Miles Morales define his heroic stance.

Being a hero is a leap of faith, and watching an Afro-Latino kid like Miles grapple with the weight of what that means to and for him tests that very faith. Shameik Moore, who voices the lead, Miles Morales, shared, “I think there's levels of being a hero. With great power comes great responsibility and I think that's why everybody loves Spider-Man. It's an honor to be a vessel for this story for Miles.”

As stubborn and headstrong as Miles Morales is, it’s evident that these are the heroic qualities that made him stand out amongst the Spider-people. In a room of many, he’s the one. Velez, who voiced Miles’ mom, Rio Morales, summed it up perfectly, “Just thinking about what I think heroes do…there's strength, kindness, love, compassion, and the willingness to see beyond your own needs and what is the bigger picture, what the needs of the family are, what the needs of the world are and being able to say I got this and I'm going to be able to do it and hold whatever I need to hold for someone in order for them to get through.”

Across The Spider-Verse is now playing at theaters.

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