Anxiety is a monster in Sony’s new Spider-Verse short film

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its sequel both touched on how difficult it tends to be for superheroes to juggle all of their various responsibilities. But Sony’s new short film, The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story, from director Jarelle Dampier and writer Khaila Amazan digs a bit deeper into Miles Morales’ head to emphasize why it’s important for people to share their feelings — especially when those feelings keep you in a constant state of fight or flight.

Rather than any specific supervillain, The Spider Within pits Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) against an embodiment of all the anxieties he’s been dealing with while staying on top of his grades, secretly working as a superhero, and hiding his double life from his father Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry). As many times as Miles’ life has been in danger, it’s no surprise that he lives with some level of constant anxiousness. But the short also highlights how, even when he’s operating as Spider-Man, Miles’ ordinary worries about keeping his grades up and not wanting to disappoint his dad are a huge part of what makes him feel as if he’s drowning in an existential sense.

Even though its story is comparatively simpler than the feature-length Spider-Verse films, The Spider Within’s message is as important as its visuals are inspired. And while it doesn’t really say anything about what to expect next for Miles, the short’s a sign that Sony is (presumably) cooking up something great.

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