Why Miles Morales Would Be a Good Choice for a Spider-Man Movie
This post contains mild spoilers for the Ultimate Universe.
Sony has cut a deal with Marvel to bring Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (you can read more about that deal here.) Now that our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is set for yet another reboot, I’m here to make the case for introducing a little diversity to the Spider-Man movies. I don’t mean just making Peter Parker black, but introducing the current Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales.
In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Peter Parker is no longer Spider-Man and the mantle has been passed down to Miles Morales, a teenage kid from Brooklyn. In the comics, he is bitten by another spider exposed to Norman Osborn’s Oz Formula. The Oz formula was OsCorps attempts to recreate the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America. Miles gains his powers before the death of Peter Parker, and only becomes Spider-Man afterwards. He becomes Spider-Man, mostly, due to blaming himself for the death of Peter Parker.
The main difference between Ultimate Peter and Miles is that Miles has always been afraid of his powers. Afraid of what his parents would think, afraid of what they’d do to him, and afraid of how they could hurt his loved ones. When Parker first received his powers, he was thrilled at the possibilities. I think it would be an interesting take on the character to see a Spider-Man who never wants to be anything but normal. This fits better with the universe that Marvel is trying to build as well. We already see signs of distrust of “people with powers” on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and we know something is going to happen that will trigger the desire for a superhero registration act. What better way to explore those themes than with a Spider-Man born in the middle of those conflicts?
Another way to illustrate the conflicts we see growing in other properties in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not only through Miles, but his family as well. Miles has a different support system than Peter Parker did. Miles parents are alive, for starters, but his father, Jefferson, has a very vocal anti-mutant stance. Depending on the writer, Aunt May is either ambivalent or lukewarm towards the notion of Spider-Man. Miles’ father on the other hand, is vehemently anti-mutant, which makes Miles hesitant to embrace his role as the new Spider-Man. Jefferson Davis [I just realized that Miles father is named after *that* Jefferson Davis] fits so seamlessly in the universe that Marvel is trying to build, he could serve as the bridge between Sony and Marvel and really help drive home some of the conflict we know we'll be seeing in Captain America: Civil War.
Then there’s Miles’ uncle, Aaron Davis. Aaron is the black sheep of the family, and a world class thief known as the Prowler. Miles isn’t aware of his uncle's criminal background at first, just that his parents don’t like when his Uncle Aaron comes around. We’re familiar with how Uncle Ben was a father figure to Peter, and how he helps Peter become Spider-Man through his mentorship, but Aaron is an interesting twist on that relationship. Aaron Davis actually trains Miles on how to use his powers, how to fight, and how to be Spider-Man. For anyone familiar with the Spider-man mythos, it’s an interesting twist on the significance of the “uncle” for Spider-Man, as well as an interesting twist on the superhero origin story.
Beyond Miles story and friends, he also has different powers than Peter, which bring another twist on a familiar character. Miles can blend in with his current surrounds, giving the effect of camouflage. Given how much fun directors had bringing Quicksilver’s speed to the big screen, it just seems like an ability that the right team could make just as fun. Not only that but these different powers are yet another way to distinguish Miles’ Spider-Man from the Peter Parker version we’ve seen in the last 5 movies. A new set of powers helps give Sony & Marvel a way to explore new ways of presenting the character of Spider-Man that’s still rooted in the source material.
Simply put, we don’t need another Peter Parker origin story. We don’t need another superhero movie starring a nerdy kid who gets picked on in school, who suddenly gets superpowers and goes through the obligatory puberty metaphor. We get that with great power comes great responsibility. That’s an old story, and Miles offers Marvel a chance to tell a new one. It would be a great way to see Spider-Man back on the big screen (and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and still be able to keep it fresh and different.