Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
The second multiversal installment in the Spider-Verse saga is a doozy … but a fun one. With some of the most eye-catching and creative animation, as we follow Miles Morales “across the Spider-Verse,” we can’t help but question the motives of all the Spider-People around him. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse features several new characters, chief among them, Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099.
Voiced by Oscar Isaac (who is already in the MCU in Moon Knight), Miguel comes from the year 2099, in Earth-928. He leads the charge in protecting anomalies in the multiverse, which can pit his motives against protagonist Miles’s motives. But Miguel seems to have vitriol towards Miles — why does Miguel hate Miles in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse?
Miguel seems to hate Miles in ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.’
At the film's beginning, we watch Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) lose her best friend, Peter Parker, as her father, the police captain, comes to terms with his daughter’s secret identity. She fights off a “villain of the week” thanks to some help from Miguel O’Hara and Jessica Drew (Issa Rae). They invite her to join them in protecting the fabric of the multiverse, although Miguel is hesitant. We later learn that his apprehension comes from Gwen’s friendship (or more) with Miles.
Although Gwen can now travel through space and time thanks to a handy watch-like device, she doesn’t visit Miles until she’s tasked with taking down a villain named Spot in Miles’s universe, Earth-1610. But Spot turns out to be much more dangerous than he seems; he can travel through universes by creating spots inside himself. Yes, it’s very meta … but we are dealing with a metaverse here.
Miles tries to help Gwen, and they both end up at Spider-HQ, where Miles meets a whole host of Spider-People variations. Gwen knows that Miguel will be disappointed in her for talking to Miles ... and she’s not wrong. When they finally come face-to-face, Miguel greets Miles with hatred in his eyes. It’s not like a Spider-Person to hate another; Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) even says that Miguel is abnormal because he’s not funny, and "Spider-Men are supposed to be funny!"
But as it turns out, Miguel’s “hatred” for Miles runs much deeper than Miles being a bit of a rule-breaker. Miguel explains that Miles is an anomaly, which makes it that much harder for Miguel to protect the fabric of the multiverse. But is that reason enough to hate Miles?
Miguel’s hatred towards Miles could be because of Miguel’s own internal struggles and imposter syndrome.
Miguel explains that Miles is an anomaly because he was never supposed to be Spider-Man. Every Spider-Person shares a history in what they call “Canon Events.” These events are storylines, such as Uncle Ben dying and Peter Parker getting bitten by a spider. But in Miles’s universe, he was bitten by a radioactive spider, and Peter died. The spider that bit Miles, however, was from a different universe.
This makes Miles’s spidey powers an anomaly in and of themselves—he shouldn’t be a Spider-Man according to the laws of the multiverse. Every time he jumps into a new universe, he upsets that universe’s fabric since he’s a mixture of the multiverse. In addition, Miles didn’t have an Uncle Ben (although he did have an Uncle Aaron). Miles has experienced his own form of loss, but not “Spider-Man’s” form of loss.
By the end of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Miguel lets slip that the Police Captain of every universe dies, and it just so happens that Miles’s father was just named Captain. Miles immediately thinks of his family and wants to go back to protect his father, but Miguel wants to let Miles’s father die to protect the fabric of the multiverse, so he tries to trap Miles.
Miles and Miguel fight it out, turning Miguel into somewhat of a villain. And like any villain, Miguel’s backstory plays deeply into his motives. It could be argued that Miguel, like Miles, was not supposed to be a Spider-Man. He wasn’t bitten by a spider at all. In his origin story, an attempt to leave a toxic experimental scientific workplace behind resulted in him getting spliced with spider DNA. So is Miguel a true Spider-Man?
Miguel’s imposter syndrome could be why he’s so set on keeping Miles from saving the people he loves. Miguel’s ability to have a family in his own universe was taken from him, which led to him creating an anomaly when he replaced a paternal version of himself who died in an alternate universe. In Miguel’s mind, if he can’t have love because of anomalies, no one can. Now, we just hope that Miles can change Miguel’s perspective in Beyond the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is currently available to view in cinemas worldwide.