Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and What Motivates Miles Morales

Shameik Moore is Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and he's aware of the power and responsibility that comes with that.

From its kinetic, almost psychedelic animation style to the possibilities hinted at in its very title, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t your average Spider-Man movie. But this would mark an important piece of Spider-Man history even without these other elements, as it’s also bringing Miles Morales to the big screen for the first time, voiced by Shameik Moore (The Get Down). The Spider-Verse itself contains a multitude of Spider-heroes, including Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), and far stranger ones. “I didn’t know people were so excited about Spider-Ham,” Moore says, referring to the wild response that character’s reveal got at SDCC in July.

The animated movie serves as Miles’ origin story, charting his journey from smart kid to superhero. Along the way, he meets an older, wiser Peter Parker (Jake Johnson), who helps Miles discover his new powers and the hero within.

“Before he gets the powers Miles is an average young man,” Moore says. “He’s got his foot in this school that he doesn’t really want to go to, but he’s smart, and his parents wanted the best for him. He is kind of a rebellious kid, but he’s creative. After the powers are forced on him he’s like, ‘I just want to be a regular kid, and now I have to be Spider-Man and I have to save the whole universe, and I don’t have a lot of time to do it.’ Miles is like the Chosen One. All this responsibility is forced on him, and he’s not really looking for that.”

So Miles is far more than just a younger version of Spider-Man, and the differences go deeper than a different costume or new powers. “There are small things that add up to big things,” Moore says. “Miles is a Brooklyn boy, and Peter is from Queens. Miles likes hip-hop and spray painting and stuff. There’s an artsy side we don’t really get to see from Peter Parker.”

further reading – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review

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Miles and Peter also have a different initial attitude towards superheroics. “Miles is nothing like Peter on the outside, but they both have something special in them that allows the universe to give them these opportunities,” Moore says. “Miles is young, he’s ambitious, and he doesn’t really want these powers at first. When Peter was bitten he was surprised but he liked it. Miles’ new abilities are a slow burn. He doesn’t immediately want to be Spider-Man.”

But don’t worry: In true Spider-Man fashion, the young hero embraces the “great responsibility” that always comes with “great power.”

“Miles Morales is a representation of a new generation,” Moore says. “I think he’s a great role model. Sometimes situations are going to be forced on you, and you have to make the most of your situation. Anyone can accomplish their goals. Anyone can overcome adversity. Miles Morales represents that.”

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse opens on December 14, 2018.

Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.