The Story Geeks blogger Ashley Pauls responds with an additional perspective to the same topic discussed in this week’s podcast – picking the best on-screen Spider-Man. Want to share your own take? Join the conversation in The Story Geeks Facebook group!
By this point, we’ve seen quite a few versions of Spider-Man on the big screen. Each actor has brought something unique and special to the role, and there are things that I like about each of the different performers, from Tobey Maguire, to Andrew Garfield, to Tom Holland.
However, my favorite on-screen Spider-Man is actually an animated one: Miles Morales, introduced in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and voiced by Shameik Moore.
“Into the Spider-Verse” was my favorite movie of 2018 and is my favorite Spider-Man film overall. There’s a lot to love about this movie — from the colorful, stylized animation to the perfect use of humor. But most important are the characters, and Miles Morales gives the film its heart.
I could go on and on about all the reasons I love “Into the Spider-Verse,” but here are the three main reasons why I think Miles Morales is the best Spidey:
1. Miles Morales is the best Spider-Man because he’s in the best Spider-Man movie.
I know that’s a bold statement, and in the end, everyone is going to have a different feeling about what film is “best.” There’s a lot of love for Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man films (at least the first two), and at this point it’s absolutely valid to label them as superhero classics.
Yet there’s just something special about “Into the Spider-Verse,” and I think it’s the best Spider-Man movie we’ve seen so far. It has all the right ingredients: it has moments that are exciting, sad, funny, and poignant, all blending together perfectly. It literally feels like you’re watching a comic book come to life.
We’ve seen a lot of superhero origin stories by now, so the fact that “Into the Spider-Verse” feels so fresh and innovative is noteworthy. The best superhero films have a great lead character AND a great story behind them, and “Into the Spider-Verse” definitely has both.
2. The family dynamic.
Miles comes from a loving family, and his parents are proud of him and do everything they can to support him. However, those relationships are put to the test when he discovers he’s been given the same powers as Spider-Man.
In addition to normal teenage challenges, Miles now has to figure out how to keep his new superhero identity a secret. Miles’ father is a police officer who is opposed to vigilantes, and he’s made it quite clear how he feels about the original Spider-Man. Even worse, Miles learns his Uncle Aaron has betrayed him and become a supervillain.
Even if you don’t have superpowers, Miles’ struggles are still relatable. We’ve all had family problems that put a strain on our relationships, and experienced moments where we’ve felt like we had to hide who we really are.
I was glad to see the reconciliation between Miles and his dad at the end of the film, and I can’t wait to see how his relationships with his family evolve in the sequel (at least I hope there will be a sequel to this movie!).
3. Miles’ “hero moment” is awesome.
I love when main characters in movies finally get their big “hero moment.”
It’s the moment where they finally break free from the burdens that have been tying them down since the beginning of the film. They’re finally able to embrace their destiny, showing the world exactly who they are and what they stand for.
For Wonder Woman, it’s the moment she climbs up out of the trench and fights her way across No Man’s Land. For Rey, it’s the moment she catches the legacy lightsaber and ignites it in the snowy forest on Starkiller Base. For the Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s the moment they grab each other by the hand and channel the power of the Infinity Stone — something none of them could accomplish alone.
For Miles Morales, it’s the moment when he’s sitting in his dorm room, tied up and unable to move. His uncle has betrayed him and is now dead. His friends have left to stop the villain without him, believing he’s not up to the task. Miles could have given up and just accepted defeat (and I wouldn’t have blamed him).
But he doesn’t, because that’s not who Miles is. After all he’s been through, he finally makes peace with his new identity and gains the confidence to step out into the world as a superhero and save the day. Freeing himself from his restraints, he spray paints a Spider-Suit and makes it his own.
Miles then climbs up to a skyscraper and allows himself to freefall, taking a leap of faith. Aside from the animation in this scene (which is absolutely gorgeous), this moment is also full of symbolism. To me, this represents Miles letting go of all his fears, hurts, disappointments, and insecurities. He throws out a spider web and swings through the city, a full superhero at last.