What if? That is the premise of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. We live our lives stuck with the constant question of, “What if I had done something differently?” We doubt our current reality in hopes that somewhere in some other reality, we made a better choice and for that we hate ourselves. “It could have been better if I had done something differently,” creeps into our thoughts during times of disappointment and failure. That is the heart of this movie, providing a wonderful, biblical response, if you are willing to look for it.
Without giving away the entire movie, and saving the ending for anyone reading this who has yet to watch this movie, I will just be giving a few plot points and refrain from a resolution. On a side note, I would rate this movie PG-13 instead of PG just because of the tone of the movie, the intense fighting sequence and the almost psychedelic effects of the amazing animation could scare someone under maybe ten or eleven. Also, the idea of the permanency of death is very prevalent and strong.
Let’s cut to the chase, a machine is made that opens a portal to multiple dimensions, and Spider-man is pushed into the energy beam that ends up pulling multiple versions of Spider-man from other dimensions or alternate realities of what could have been or what will be. In the reality that the movie takes place in, our young hero Miles Morales is bitten by a radioactive spider and then witnesses the real Spider-man's death after the machine making the portal comes crashing down.
Miles, a young black kid whose father is a cop and his care free uncle is his idol, starts to question everything around him as his body changes. This is where the movie hits its highlights, it borrows from the hip-hop culture through music and art, and combines it with comic book imagery galore and tells a very compelling story of accepting reality. Each spider-person, not all men or even human, has a very similar story to Miles. Each character serves to teach Miles something different about life, about his powers, about his choices and about courage when the odds are stacked against you.
Every scene is carefully crafted with something that is either a throwback to a Spider-man movie, an old comic book story line or newer comic book story, it also creates a rhythm of its own. In one universe, Spider-man survives and gives up on being Spider-man and becomes overweight because he isn’t ready to settle down with Mary Jane and have kids. They separate and so this version of Spider-man seems to be emotionally wrecked and unable to be a hero in his universe. However, through the course of the movie, he is the hero from the outset of his realization of what is happening and begins to rediscover what it meant to him to love his gift and stand for justice.
In another reality, there is Spider-Woman, where a former love of Peter Parker gets bitten by the spider instead of Peter, and that Peter dies. Gwen Stacey daunts the mask of an amazing female spider hero that is the perfect addition to the movie.
The best part of the movie, as Miles embraces his own powers that are unique and uncontrollable, he makes his own suit. He goes to Aunt May who has an awesome Spider-man Lab, grabs an original suit and spray paints it black and red. The logo of his Spider-man is a simple work of graffiti art of a spider. He has a hoody on with his sick kicks, the music is just about to start and the words of the Spider-man who had been coaching him is replayed, “That’s all it is Miles, a leap of faith.” He overcomes his fear because he knows that at some point, either now or tomorrow, people will need him. At that moment, his friends needed him so they could get back home and he was ready to take a risk that could end up in failure. Mile’s leaps away from a glass sided building showing his moment of acceptance with a slight hesitance, revealing the frailty even within the best of us.
He wasn’t supposed to be anyone else but the version of Spider-man that he was. You can’t live life if you are stuck in the “What if” mind set. The only thing all these heroes could do was embrace the pressing reality of the moments they found themselves in. Not letting the past hang over them but accept new beginnings. Miles, a young black kid from Brooklyn, New York embraced the truth that you can’t get anywhere without action. Good people must do something and those that are able need to fight for the weak. As our heroes were trying to literally piece their realities back together, we find our biblical truth that one day, God will fix what man has broken. We live in a broken reality, the spiritual and physical realms are two separate spaces for us and one day, God will restore all things by bringing heaven to earth. Amen.
In Truth & Love,
Matthew J. Diaz
For an awesome synopsis and breakdown of the “Spiderman leap of faith” scene, read Jennifer Scheurle’s break down here.