Welcome to Bae Watch Wednesday, where I tell you all about the fictional characters you ought to be crushing on. This week we’re doing something a little different. I need to talk about Miles Morales, but bae watch isn’t right for him (plus he’s like, twelve). So here’s the first BFF Watch Wednesday, where I tell you all about the characters you want to be friends with.
Who Is Miles Morales?
Miles Morales is the protagonist of Into the Spider-Verse. A charming and likable boy, Miles finds himself thrust into a strange, and often scary, new world throughout the film. First, Miles is newly attending Brooklyn Visions Academy, a school for gifted students. When Miles is tested in, he’s there on a scholarship and feels out of place. Plus, he misses his former life and friends at Brooklyn Middle School. But, as Miles will learn, there is no going back. Things start rough when Miles’ dad, Jefferson Davis, drops Miles off at school. Since Jefferson is a police officer, Miles is dropped off in a cop car. To make matters worse, Jefferson embarrasses his son by forcing Miles to proclaim his love for his father in front of the school.
Off to a rough start, things get more sticky when Miles is late to class, getting called out by his teacher. He tries to cover by making a joke about the theory of relativity and how it means he’s not really late. Unfortunately, his teacher doesn’t see things that way, and his classmates are unimpressed by his joke. All except one, that is; another new student laughs and Miles begins to think he had a chance at making a friend (or maybe even more).
That night, frustrated by homework and dorm living, sick of the expectations placed on him by his teachers and parents, Miles breaks out. He goes to visit his uncle Aaron, the only one who understands him and doesn’t expect him to be something he’s not. Aaron jokes with Miles about girls and teases him. When he sees that Miles is genuinely upset, he knows just how to cheer him up: some graffiti in a secluded, abandoned subway station.
While Aaron meant well and genuinely did cheer Miles up, this kind of action turned everything on its head. While preparing to leave, having created a masterpiece of spray paint art, Miles is bitten by a strange, mutated spider. He thinks nothing of it, aside from a brief moment of shock. Instead, he kills the spider and goes home. Eventually, he goes to bed, needing to get some sleep before another fun day at the Academy.
But when he wakes up, things have changed. Miles initially thinks he’s going through puberty, which would explain his sudden growth spurt but not the other strange things that are happening. The voice in his head is loud. He feels anxious and paranoid. When he runs into the girl from class, who introduces herself as Gwanda, his hand sticks to her, eventually getting caught in her hair. Miles, panicked and confused, eventually sneaks out (via the wall) and goes back to his dorm.
There, Miles faces a shocking possibility. He sees a Spider-Man comic and realizes that what he’s experiencing is oddly familiar. Remembering the spider that bit him, Miles had to consider: is he developing spider powers? Could there be more than one Spider-Man? He decides to go back to the subway station and check out the spider.
While there, Miles finds himself on the sidelines of a fierce battle between Spider-Man and his enemies. Miles wants to stay out of it but attracts the attention of Spider-Man, who realizes Miles is like him. He promises to teach Miles everything he needs to know, after he stops Kingpin from destroying the world with a dimensional portal. He never gets the chance. Injured in battle, Spider-Man charges Miles with finishing the mission and saving the world.
Now that Spider-Man is dead, Miles has no one to teach him the ropes and a deadly mission to complete. Luckily, the portal brings some unexpected allies, starting with Peter B. Parker, a parallel Spider-Man. Peter doesn’t want to help Miles, he just wants to go home. He agrees to teach Miles some things along the way, though.
Miles is excited to learn how to be Spider-Man, but Peter isn’t exactly the best teacher. They go on a mission to find information, where they are almost captured by Doc Ock. Luckily, another hero comes to save them: “Gwanda,” actually Gwen Stacy, who was pulled from her own dimension where she is Spider Woman. Gwen is also dedicated to going home, and far from the friend Miles was hoping for.
The three of them turned to May Parker for help. May reveals that three more spider heroes came over through the portal, and they will all work together to get home. One has to stay in order to close the portal, essentially a death sentence. Miles insists he can do it, but he’s nowhere near ready. After the Kingpin’s minions attack, Miles is told to run. The Prowler, who had been hunting him since the subway, chases. Unfortunately, Miles had just learned that the Prowler was his uncle Aaron. Miles reveals himself, and Aaron chooses to protect Miles, dying in his stead.
Newly sobered by the death of his uncle, Miles is more determined than ever to be a hero. When the others trap him in his room, he breaks out, finally coming into his own as a hero and as Spider-Man. He saves the day, and everyone returns home. Newly secure in his identity, Miles continues working to save the city.
Why Is Miles Morales BFF?
Miles Morales is one of the best characters I have encouraged in a long time. He is just purely good. He’s far from the gritty and complicated heroes we’ve seen lately. Instead, Miles Morales is pure sunshine, a ray of light and (hopefully) the pioneer of a new frontier in superhero media.
Watching Miles Morales, you can’t help but love the character. Now, I’ve experienced middle schoolers in my daily life, and they (generally speaking) suck. Middle schoolers are rude, mean, and immature. But Miles Morales? He’s sweet and smart, and he’s going to change the world. How could you not love him? I defy anyone who saw Into the Spider-Verse to tell me they don’t love Miles (don’t bother, you’d be lying).
It’s that pure, concentrated sunshine that makes Miles Morales such an endearing character. He is, simply put, adorable. Part of this is the animation (props on making such a cute kid) but most of it is Miles’ personality. He brings so much light and joy to the film that it makes you feel happy.
One of Miles’ endearing habits is his singing. We first see him in his bedroom, neglecting preparing for school in order to work on some art. While he does so, he sings along to “Sunflower,” though he doesn’t know all the words. Instead, he mumbles along when he forgets the lines, singing loudly for the small parts he does know. It’s adorable, and relatable, and firmly established that Miles is someone to love within minutes of starting the film.
Later, when Miles is stuck in a light fixture when his sticky hands put him in a sticky situation, Peter encourages him to relax, saying that’s the key to getting unstuck. In order to relax, Miles sings “Sunflower” again. Though Peter scoffs, it works — both to unstick Miles and to steal the entire audience’s hearts. The singing is just one facet of what makes Miles so cute.
His art and how excited he gets about his graffiti is fun. His pitiful attempt to “flirt” with “Gwanda” is the epitome of adorkable. The way Miles’ relationship with his father develops would melt even the coldest of hearts. While at the start of the film, Miles finds his dad’s emphasis on love to be embarrassing, that’s changed by the end. After everything he experiences in the film, Miles now understands why it’s important to tell people you love them, and even mistakenly tells Jefferson he loves him while still incognito as Spider-Man. It’s too cute.
A Leap Of Faith
If Miles’ undeniable cuteness wasn’t enough to make the audience love him, the character growth and progression he shows throughout the film would surely finish the job. Miles Morales is in an unfamiliar world, and while he initially lets his fear control him, by the end of the film he has fully come into his own.
We see this in how Miles learns to be Spider-Man. It’s not an easy road. At first, it doesn’t seem like it will be too bad. He’s startled and confused, sure, and Jefferson disapproves of vigilantes, putting Miles in a tough spot. But when he runs into Spider-Man, who promises to show him the ropes, it seems like it won’t be too bad.
Of course, things go all wrong and Spider-Man dies. Miles suits up to replace him and complete his mission, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing. When Peter B. shows up, Miles thinks he has a second shot. Peter may not want to teach Miles, but he’s no match for Miles’ adorable helplessness. Even then, Peter is a terrible teacher and struggles to help Miles learn what he needs to know. Despite their best efforts, they can’t figure out how Miles can use his powers — not quite the same as Peter’s — on command.
It’s for that reason that Peter insists Miles stays behind while the rest of the spider heroes go to stop the portal. Thinking it was their last chance to talk, Miles asks how he’ll know he’s ready. Peter replies that he won’t, but it’s a leap of faith. We then saw Miles take this to heart, the last lesson he needed to learn. Letting go of his fear, Miles takes a leap of faith, and finally learns how to be a hero. That’s growth.
What’s Not To Love?
Miles Morales came on screen singing and stole my heart immediately. This sunshine boy picked the right song; a sunflower is the epitome of who Miles Morales is: cute, cheery, and always puts a smile on your face. From the first scene to the last, there was never a moment I didn’t love Miles Morales. Watching Miles grow from an awkward boy who wanted, above all else, to have no expectations of a hero who saves not only his city but the multiverse and a multitude of heroes, is a delight. The journey we took with Miles was better than most of the superhero movies we’ve seen lately, and people are widely saying that Into the Spider-Verse is one of the best movies to come out in a while, and for good reason. A large part of that reason is Miles Morales.
I’ve seen a lot of posts online about the internet collectively adopting Miles (though, given that his relationship with Jefferson was a great part of this movie, he doesn’t need it). He’s cute and sweet, and it’s hard not to like him. Between his art (who among us hasn’t wished for fewer expectations?), his singing (we all mumble along), and his humor (I actually loved his joke about relativity), Miles is an incredibly relatable character.
But he’s relatable in a different way; he’s like us, but better. Miles is all the awkward without the cynicism. He’s sunshine in an adorkable package. It’s impossible not to love Miles Morales. He’s one of my favorite characters to appear in a long time, and I’m glad Sony finally got around to giving him his shot. With news of a sequel and a spin-off, we’ve got more Miles to look forward to. I don’t think we’ll get tired anytime soon.