Post 3: Spider-Verse
I was always a fan of the Spider-Man movies and comics, as I used to dress up like him as a kid. Being my favorite superhero by far, I was excited when Into the Spider-Verse was announced. I didn’t know much about the main character before seeing the movie, except for the most noticeable observation — Miles Morales is a Black teenager. Upon watching the trailer, I felt nervous, as I wanted this “Black Spider-Man’’ to be well received by audiences. I felt a significant connection to the character before seeing the movie. Miles Morales greatly resonated with my identity at the time. It was an even stronger connection than the one I felt towards Black Panther, which came out earlier in that year because Miles was around my age. At this time there were virtually no characters that looked like me that I felt could relate to. Even though Miles Morales had existed since 2011, the writers of his original comics didn’t do the best job of making his character compelling enough to pull in a large Black audience that I assume they were going for. They made the same mistake that I see time and time again with Black characters. A lot of writers feel the need to create Black characters for representation but then refuse to flesh said characters out with interesting storylines that aren’t just related to the color of their skin, but have some relation to their identity. Many were skeptical that Into the Spider-Verse would just be a repeat of the those same habits in Hollywood. However, the movie greatly exceeded my expectations when it debuted in 2018. Miles’ struggle came from the fact that he had to live up to being the new Spider-Man. He made a promise, and to break that promise would be the literal end of the world. Additionally, the movie effectively balanced Miles’ hero problems with his real-world problems, which were displayed and intertwined in his relationship with his Uncle Aaron and his father. Since it came out, I’ve watched the movie more times than I can count. It has grown to be my all-time favorite work of film, affirming my desire to be a writer and making me realize the importance of Black superheroes for people like me. Seeing someone who looks like me do all the same things that my favorite fictional hero does was eye-opening. I appreciate that they made a point to say that Miles Morales was The Spider-Man, not “Black Spider-Man’’ as I previously referred to him. There was no mention of Miles’ race in the movie, as there was no need to. This film showed me the blueprint for how all Black characters should be written. There was one essential scene that affirmed my desire to be a writer. Everyone who has seen the movie refers to this as the “What’s Up Danger” scene. It is the climax of the movie in which Miles lets go of his doubts, embraces the unknown, and takes his leap of faith. It was the first time I had ever seen a character unlock their full potential through meaningful dialogue rather than a training montage. Starting at the middle of the movie until the climax, every line served a purpose toward Miles’ character development. We got to witness Miles Morales come into his own identity in that scene. This film was also essential for me when trying to figure out my identity. It may seem a bit arbitrary to say that a film is one of the reasons why my Blackness is such an outward aspect of my identity. Seeing the success of this film and Black people in the entertainment industry in the past few years especially has had a very large impact on me. It has allowed me to view my Blackness as a superpower and I don’t believe I would be nearly as content with my art without this impact. The most important impact, however, is the inspiration gained from Into the Spider-Verse — to make my art have the same effect on others that this movie has had on me. No matter what kind of art it is. Whether it’s music, fashion design, or something I’ve written, I wish to evoke strong emotions that uplift people that look or feel like me.