Spider-Verse: Characters as Concepts


I think you would be hard-pressed to find
someone who has seen Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse and had no cultural awareness of Spider-man beforehand. The huge majority of people who saw that movie
already had a relationship with Spider-man, and the film acknowledges this right off the bat. “Look, I’m a comic book, a cereal, did a
Christmas album,” “I have an excellent theme song,”
*Spider-man, Spider-man!” “and a so-so popsicle.” Plain ol’ Peter Parker tells the audience
a lot of things that the audience knows about Spider-man, and by doing so, he ends up telling us these are also the things Miles Morales already
knows about Spider-man. With Miles being the main character, this
means most of the people in the audience already have something in common with
Miles. “… y’know, with great ability, comes
great accountability!” “That’s not even how the saying goes, Dad!” “I do like his cereal though” “Spider-man?” “It’s not up to me!” “Is that Green Goblin?” RIPeter to represents THE IDEAL SPIDER-MAN, maybe even the pure concept of Spider-man, or the concept of doing the right thing when
you have the ability to. He does his intro before Miles because the
concept of Spider-man exists before the film begins,
as we all knew before we sat down. We all knew who Spiderman was before the movie
started. RIPeter addresses the film adaptations before
him, as well as the marketability of Spider-man that exists in our universe. Within the film, his purpose is not only to
tell the audience “Miles knows the same Spider-man as you,”
but also to Yet in other ways, the next Peter is even
more connected to the audience, but Miles is more important because… Miles is the only one of the Spider-squad who already knows about Spider-man before he’s bitten. Everyone is a different version of Peter Parker
forced into the collider, except for Miles, who is himself. He’s Miles. Not Peter Parker, not Peni Parker, not Gwen
Stacy who knew Peter Parker. He’s Miles. He has a degree of separation from the rest
of the Spider-squad for that reason. No matter how you spin it, Miles is the audience. He is the character whose change is the primary
focus of the story. He has a relationship with the idea of Spider-man
even if it is one of indifference at first. “Uh, Spider-man. I mean, this guy swings in once a day, zip-zap-zop in his little mask and answers to no one, right?” “Yeah, Dad, yeah.” Yet Miles is Spider-man, despite the differences. Differences that were set in stone thanks
to that contract quietly signed between Stan Lee, Marvel, and
Sony stating that Peter Parker must always be male, white, and
heterosexual unless presented as an alternate version of
the character. Because of that, Miles’ is the perfect candidate
to tell the audience that “You can wear the mask”. Miles doesn’t look like Spider-man is contractually
obligated to look, and odds are neither do you. But Miles still is Spider-man. Miles does the right thing when he has the
ability to, and you can to. Because with great power comes grea- “Don’t you dare finish that sentence!” “Don’t do it! I’m sick of it!”
(Sorry, I had to!) If RIPeter is the Ideal Spider-man and exists
to make Peter B. look inadequate, Peter B. Parker is the Realist’s Spider-man. He got old, and he’s a little jaded about
the job no matter how good he is at it. “Disinfect the mask. You’re going to want to use
baby powder in the suit, heavy on the joints.” “You don’t want any chaffing, right?” “Anything else?”
“Nope, that was everything.” He’s added a beer belly and a broken nose. Aunt May died, he’s lost MJ because he doesn’t want kids. He made some bad decisions and is a more underfunded Spiderman. As cool as RIPeter’s Spider-Cave is,
it’s part of the fantasy of the perfect Spider-man. How else are you going to put a huge basement
under your aunt’s back shed in Queens without drawing any attention to your job? Peter B. is probably as close to a real Peter
Parker as you can get. This makes him almost an even more wonderful
mentor for Miles. Miles is a more modern Spider-man in many
ways and nowadays we don’t really look as favorably on goody-two-shoes
superheroes. Even the article that broke the news about
the Stan Lee/Marvel/Sony contract spent as much time pointing out the insensitivity
of it as making fun of Peter Parker for being a
dork. Peter B. reveals that contract for what it
is; old, and tired. To balance out that old and tired is Gwen
Stacy, “Oh, you know her?” “Very cool.” Gwen is like Miles. She’s about his age and stands in direct
contrast to what is required of Spider-man’s alter ego, a difference that is equally mirrored in their versions of the suit. Gwen’s modern, from her asymmetrical haircut
to her piercing, to her hobbies. “I liked your joke.” “Really?” “I mean, it wasn’t funny. That’s why I laughed.” “But it was smart, so I liked it.” She’s introduced in a way that’s relatable
to Miles, just a normal middle schooler who is also
‘the new kid.’ When her true identity is revealed so is her
role; Gwen is everything Miles has the potential
to be. Despite not having the parts that make up
a single Peter Parker, she still manages to fulfill her role as Spider-woman,
proving it can be done. And she’s able to break one of the cardinal rules of Spider-man; the ‘man’ part. And she’s still good at the job! She also reminds the audience of one of the
most important morals of the story; that you are not the only one going through
your struggles. “I know how hard this is.” “To have to figure this stuff out on your
own.” “It’s kinda nice not being the only Spider-person
around” This culminates in Miles learning to use the
parts of his powers that make him unique to his advantage
and reach the skill level of the Spider-squad. By having characters like this that kind of represent ideas and morals as well as fully fleshed out characters with their own lore, It works in conjunction with every other perfect corner of this film to drive home the core values; Everyone has the potential to do better and improve, What makes you different is a strength, You are not alone, or the first one to struggle, And Stan Lee was, at heart, a profit-driven kind of guy. Thanks so much for watching this whole video! Really grateful you stick all the way through on this one, Also big thanks for watching my first non-Harry Potter video I’ve definitely not said all I have to say about Potter, but But I also have a lot of things to say about other things so… I have an Instagram if you want to keep tabs on me in the long months before I make another video, I’ll probably put it up here somewhere. I can answer any of your questions down below!
Thanks again for sticking around for the whole thing.
*distant meow* Sorry if this was a mess! And sorry if you can hear my cat. *distant meow* Meow into the mic!

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