The unofficial trinity of superhero fiction—Superman, Spider-Man, and Batman—has always been represented in the best way possible in the animated adaptations of their adventures. Therefore, when the Disney-Sony dispute regarding the rights of Spider-Man was at its peak, which resulted in a number of mediocre to okayish entries of the character in live action to lukewarm audience response, a course correction became necessary to rejuvenate the hype around the webcrawler. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, released in 2018, managed to do just that and more, as the visual brilliance of a multiverse of Spideys took the pop culture world by storm and brought the rich legacy of the character to the forefront—something that has deserved to be explored for a long time. Five long years later, the sequel to the brilliant first entry is about to release worldwide, and it’d be wise to keep track of past events so as not to get confused among the plethora of spider characters who are about to appear in the movie.
Who Is Miles Morales?
Right off the bat, Into The Spider-Verse presents the original Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, as an already established superhero of Brooklyn, New York, in this version of the prime universe. The central focus of the movie is not Peter, but the most important legacy character of Spider-Man, a teenager named Miles Morales.
Miles is a kind, laid-back, academically callous youth and a Spider-Man fanboy who is trying to adjust to parental expectations, a hectic schedule, and his own pursuit of happiness—painting. The eccentric teenager shares a strong bond with his uncle Aaron, the only person, according to Miles, who gets him and encourages him to follow his passion, but Miles’ father Jefferson is of the opinion that his uncle is a bad influence. Once, while hanging out with Aaron, Miles makes a visit to underground subway tunnels, where he is bitten by a radioactive spider, which grants him spider-themed superpowers.
Miles struggles to get a hang of his newfound abilities and, as a result, gets into a tricky situation with his newcomer classmate, Wanda, on whom he has a crush. To find out what really happened with him, Miles returns to the subway tunnels and learns that the same kind of spider that had granted Spider-Man his powers has also bitten him. Hearing a commotion from further down the ground, Miles ventures further into the tunnel and finds out the supervillain Kingpin, aka Wilson Fisk, is running tests with a particle collider to create a wormhole to access other universes, as he wants to bring his deceased family back by communicating with different universes’ versions of them.
Great Powers And Greater Sacrifices
Miles also sees Spider-Man on the scene battling with Fisk’s forces, which include other supervillains like Prowler, the Green Goblin, and Tombstone, in a desperate attempt to stop Fisk from executing his plan. Miles gets caught in the skirmish, and as he gets rescued by Spider-Man, the latter realizes the similarities between them and promises Miles that he’ll train him later in order for him to control the abilities. However, the promise never gets fulfilled, as in the battle, a grievously injured Spider-Man loses his life when Kingpin beats him to death. A traumatized Miles escapes the scene, taking a particular flash drive given to him earlier by Spider-Man that can turn off the particle collider.
The news of the death of Spider-Man, whose real identity the city now knows as Peter Parker, spreads out, and people mourn the death of their beloved protector. Miles attends the funeral of the hero and gets inspired to take on the mantle of Spidey after hearing MJ ( whom Peter was married) state that the spirit of Spidey can be found among everyone.
Spider-Mentor And Spider-People
Wearing a store-bought spider costume, Miles goes to Peter’s grave to pay his respects. He accidentally electrocutes (one of his unique abilities) a different universe version of Spider-Man, aka Peter B. Parker. Peter B. is an aged, reluctant Spider-Man whose long crimefighting career has taken a toll in the form of his separation from Mary Jane and, overall, a downward slope in life. Turns out, Fisk’s universe-merging machinations have brought Peter B. Parker into this universe, and he is unable to get back. After learning Miles has acquired the flashdrive, which might be the key to stopping the collider and sending Peter B back to his universe, they team up, and Peter B reluctantly agrees to take Miles under his wing.
By infiltrating one of Fisk’s funded labs, Peter B. and Miles try to find a way to learn more about the collider’s functionality when they are suddenly captured by Olivia Octavius and get to know that denizens from a certain universe cannot survive in other ones. However, another new spider-character makes a timely appearance to save their lives and is revealed to be none other than Wanda, whose real name is Gwen Stacy. Gwen takes the duo to this universe’s Peter’s home, where Peter B has an emotional confrontation with Aunt May, as both of them have lost their respective universe’s counterparts. May reveals other versions of Spider-characters have appeared due to the universal glitch as well, which consist of Spider-Ham, Spider-Noir, and Sp//Dr, all of whom are skilled crimefighters in their own regard. The group decides to use the collider to get back to their respective universes.
Before the team of Spideys can get on with their mission, they decide to check whether the most amateur member of the bunch, Miles Morales, is up to the task or not, given the kind of risk the mission carries. Unfortunately, Miles is unable to gain control over his abilities, which results in Peter B volunteering to stay behind in this universe to close the collider, thereby saving others but dying himself in the process. Miles is unwilling to let that happen, but not being attuned to his powers, he cannot make demands to be in a situation that entails a life risk.
Miles despondently returns to his uncle’s place, only to discover the villainous Prowler is none other than Uncle Aaron himself. Miles flees from there, and Aaron, who is unaware of the fact that the costumed super being in costume is his own nephew, chases him. Miles unknowingly draws Aaron and the rest of Fisk’s villainous operatives to Aunt May’s house, and a fight ensues with the Spider-gang.
A Leap Of Faith
During the fight, Prowler catches up to Miles and pins him down, prepared to deal the final blow when Miles unmasks himself to reveal his identity. Appalled by the situation he finds himself in, Uncle Aaron startles and neglects Fisk’s direct orders, resulting in Fisk shooting him to death. As he breathes his last, Aaron apologizes to Miles for letting him down and affirms his belief in him, and the tragic fate of Spider-Man losing the most important people in his life continues.
After fending off Fisk and co., the rest of the Spider-gang prepares for a final assault and returns to their universes, but decides to leave Miles behind in his room due to his lack of control over his abilities and inexperience. Miles keeps protesting against their decision as he wishes to close the collider so that Peter B doesn’t have to suffer the same fate Uncle Aaron had to, and unable to reason with him, Peter B webs Miles up and leaves with the team. Before leaving, as part of his pep talk, Peter B tells Miles to trust his instincts and to take a ‘Leap of Faith’ to unlock his full potential.
Jefferson arrives outside his son’s door and lets him know about Aaron’s demise. A heartbroken Jefferson confesses that he was not with his brother when he needed him, which led him to choose a life of crime, and he doesn’t want Miles to drift apart like that. Jefferson leaves, stating how proud he is of Miles, and it seems like a heart-to-heart with his old man was all that was needed for Miles to unlock his full potential. Miles frees himself, goes to Aunt May’s house, and takes an old Spidey suit and repaints it to make a costume of his own. Remembering the words of his father and his mentor, Miles finally takes a ‘Leap of Faith,’both literally and figuratively, and finds himself now completely in control of his abilities.
Miles assists the Spider-gang in their fight at the collider and manages to send everyone back to their universes. Before exchanging farewells, Miles suggests Peter B heed his own advice about taking a leap of faith and start anew. At the end, Miles manages to close off the collider and bring down Fisk as well, and New York gets its new Spider-Man.
What Can Be Expected From ‘Across The Spider-Verse’?
As the movie ends, we see that Gwen has managed to keep her promise about remaining in touch with Miles, as a portal appears in Miles’ room with Gwen addressing him. In the post-credits scene, we see Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099, who has managed to make a prototype portable multiverse traveler with the help of his AI assistant Lyla and travels to ‘the beginning’ of the universe of the 1967 animated series of Spider-Man, thereby recreating the funny ‘two Spider-Man pointing at each other’ panel.
As the trailers and all the released updates indicate, Miguel O’Hara and multiverse hopping will have a significant role in the upcoming sequel to the movie Across the Spider-verse, and Gwen being able to communicate with Miles was an early indication of that. Eventually, it seems Miguel and Miles will find each other on opposing sides due to their differences in perspectives, as their multiversal shenanigans might have introduced troublesome situations that need to be resolved.