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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse—Into Modern Childhood

Miles is shown in the context and in contrast of Peter Parker. The hero most of us grew up on, the hero who always gets back up no matter how many times he falls.

Miles is a younger hero, a kid that wishes he'd fill the shoes of his favourite hero one day like most of us have often fantasised, but of course when that responsibility becomes a reality anyone would coil into the scared little kid that never quite leaves no matter our age. Miles is one Spider-Man that truly reflects all of us. While the Peter Parker depicted in this movie only legitimises our fears of becoming failures were we to ever be burdened with that much duty.

 

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The redemptive acts towards Miles' fears and failures thereof come way too late in the movie, or at least when not expected. Which was rightfully intentional. The film makes sure to keep Miles' growth into himself and this newer Spider-Man as genuinely paced as possible.

He falls many, many times. He doubts himself. He doesn't want the authority of showing up and owning his own destiny, especially at that age. He's just a kid. This is where kids and the inner-kids in adults can draw the most similarities. We don't want to ever have to answer for this much in our lives no matter our age. I personally felt inspired by Miles' journey, which drew many parallels to my own and many others I know, because no hero has ever been this flawed and so... human.

This is a hero's journey that can speak to both kids and adults and still manage to communicate its message clearly without compromising either demographic or its own narrative design. In contrast to the other Spider-people that are already conversant to each of their powers and responsibility thereof, Miles' arc instead helps us connect with how universal Spider-Man truly is.

 

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He's not a diety that fell from the sky, he's not a soldier who was put on ice for a thousand years, he's just a kid. A kid who helps us realise that anybody can be behind the mask, anybody can buy the spandex and decide to be a hero to someone, to save the day even if it's just for the day. Even when it is not ideal.

A lot of kids will feel a new wave of excitement and confidence after watching this particular movie because they can reflect on themselves much clearer than they'd do with any other past animation. Miles' parents are realistically annoying and overprotective. He wants to be his own person even when he hasn't figured out what that means yet. He goes to school and feels awkward and anxious around the many opinions around him. He sings along to his favourite tunes in his room. And there's a girl he's infatuated with. Even when we pretend that kids are not concious enough yet to experience all these things, Spider-Verse makes us realise that that was most of our experiences during that age period. The creators of this film made sure that they'd capture childhood, innocence and the discordance thereof as authentically as possible.

 

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No trial is diluted and unwrinkled to make the audience feel better, we're meant to go through the motions, kid or adult. This type of scope isn't tonally explored enough in movies that are meant for kids. Often, we get a resolve to a trial before we can even feel the reality behind emotions that come with grief, loss and all the things that make up the flawed side of humanity.

But why then tell a story about a bad guy who must be rehabilitated and regulated when you're not ready to be wholly honest about what comes with being that bad?

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I can appreciate this movie more now, more than any other animated mainstream film in forever because there are themes that are rare in most films like this. The closest any angst and tragedy has been shown in a truly human way was in Disney's Inside Out and Up, and even then it didn't feel as connected to reality as the world that Miles Morales exists in- our world.

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