Anyone Can Be Spider-Man

The newest superhero instalment for Hollywood is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and has proved to be a huge hit.

With 5* reviews being thrown out all over the place, the new animation Spider-Man film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has proved to be a huge success. It’s not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but it’s part of something so much bigger. It offers a message of hope, optimism and inclusivity, simply stating that anyone can be Spidey.

The most famous manifestation of Spider-Man is of course the white teenage boy, Peter Parker. Many actors such as Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and more recently Tom Holland have played the character on the big screen. But, people often forget (or aren’t aware of) Miles Morales, another Spider-Man from the comics. He’s another teenage schoolboy, but he’s black – adding an element of reflective representation both culturally and racially to the franchise. Although there are two Peter Parkers’ in the movie, Miles is the Spidey that leads this film – voiced by Shameik Moore.

In Morales’ world, Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but Miles gets bitten by a radioactive spider and soon becomes the superhero in his own right. Although, many other forms of Spider-Man are introduced when alternate universes collide thanks to a machine Kingpin created in an attempt to re-create his family.

We meet another Peter Parker, referred to as Peter B. Parker. He’s older, is going through a divorce and has gained a pot belly and some stubble. He’s also the much more skeptic, negative and downbeat version of Peter Parker than the one we’re used to. But it’s not all about the boys and men. In another alternate universe, Gwen Stacey becomes Spider-Woman. We also meet Spider-Pig, Spider-Man Noir and SP//dr.

The message is simple; anyone, and everyone, can be Spider-Man. And that message has travelled from the film creators, to the big screen, out to the viewers, and into the big wide (real) world. Whether you’re black, Asian, white, or even extra-terrestrial, you can be Spider-Man. If you’re gay, straight, trans, bi or identify as any other queer identity, you can be Spider-Man. Gender is also irrelevant, because everyone can be Spider-Man.

“The message is simple; anyone, and everyone, can be Spider-Man”

In a world where girls are given barbie dolls and boys are given monster trucks at such a young age, it’s absolutely essential to remind the world that everyone can be whatever the fuck they want to be. When teenagers are only being told about one version of love. When young women are being shown only one version of beautiful. We have to remind every single person on the planet that they’re capable of greatness. And if you disagree with that, well then feel free to join up with Kingpin but you’ll never win.

The fact the film has just won a Golden Globe for Best Animation Film, and has received a nomination for the same category at the BAFTAs shows that superhero films don’t always have to be live-action to be memorable. We can only hope there will be a second instalment allowing us to step back into this stunning and vibrant Spider-Verse, and it’s not often adults are saying that about an animation film!

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