( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse has a New take on Diversity
ENSPIRE Contributor: Kaitlyn Cruz
Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse has proven to be a huge success, bringing in a global total of over $663 million at the box office, making it the second-biggest box office debut in 2023. Diversity is an important aspect in the film. The film showcases the main character, Miles Morales, who is a Puerto Rican, Afro-Latino teenager from Brooklyn, New York. He struggles to balance the pressures of school, family dynamics, and what it means to be Spiderman.
The film features an array of ethnically diverse (POC) characters with their own unique stories. For example, besides Miles himself, there’s Pavitr Prabhakar, a Spiderman from India, a pregnant motorcycle-riding Spiderwoman Issa Rae, punk-rock Spiderman Hobie Brown, Miguel O-Hara, and many others. The film has a different take on diversity than several other films that have attempted the same. It is comparable to the Disney franchise and their recent live-action remakes.
Recently, Disney has received backlash for casting POC actors and actresses as replacements for white characters in their live-action remakes. This is seen in recent films such as “The Little Mermaid”. Social media users and other critics argued that this is a ‘lazy’ form of representation. It uses POC actors/actresses as the face of white storylines that were based in Europe. This simply replaces these characters without giving POC their own unique stories.
The Spiderman multiverse franchise shows representation in a new way. The film takes the classic story of Spiderman and includes diverse Spider-people. The characters’ ethnicities and stories are intricately and authentically intertwined into the film. While being Spider-Man is a duty and experience they all share, they maintain their individuality. In doing so, the film avoids portraying awkward or forced attempts at diversity, which are criticisms Disney has faced.
An article from lantern.com reads, “‘Across the Spider-Verse’ is a chaotically charming conglomeration of spider-people representing all different walks of life”.
Miles Morales is a Spiderman just like the others, yet he is engulfed in and embraces his Afro-Latino heritage. Moreover, He has his own backstory and is not just the face of another’s. This is huge for Latinos and POC everywhere who have a Spiderman they can identify with. This attracts diverse audiences. In North America, it was found that the audience was about one-third Latino and one-third Black and Asian, which are higher diversity rates than other superhero films, according to NPR critic Bob Mondello.
An article by reason.com reads, “Spider-Verse doesn’t indulge in speechifying politics for the sake of speechifying politics; there’s no speechifying at all. Rather, it amusingly showcases the ways that political ideas are part of these characters’ lives and worldviews.”
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a diverse and inclusive film that enhances the storyline. The characters’ quirks and personalities add a distinct and unique element to the film. It moves the plot along in a way that is not centered on their diversity being a “political statement”. The film is available on platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and a few others.