On Friday, I took my son to see Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the long-awaited sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. We loved the first movie, and we were both eagerly awaiting the next installment. Of course, my excitement was also mixed with terror. What kind of woke messaging would be in the movie? Would there be any at all?
The first movie, released in 2018, was notably not woke. Sure, the main character of the film is a biracial teenager named Miles Morales who becomes Spiderman — as opposed to the original version of Spiderman, who is a white teenager named Peter Parker — but that is hardly any reason to get bent out of shape. Unlike the race-swap remakes we’ve seen coming out of Disney, at least Marvel cleverly uses the concept of the multiverse to explore different incarnations of superheroes.
Still, I was cautiously optimistic that the sequel would follow suit and spare us the wokeness we’ve come to expect out of liberal Hollywood. For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, in a movie featuring countless incarnations of Spidermen (or should I say Spiderpeople?) most of those who got prominent screen time were either a minority, a woman, or both. Heck, one was pregnant, because… a pregnant superhero? Why not? At least she didn’t have a beard. And yes, both Peter B. Parker (Spiderman) and Gwen Stacy (Spiderwoman) are both white and are the main characters, but clearly, there was a deliberate decision to make the multiverse very multicultural. Again, not a big deal.
The movie itself is extremely entertaining, albeit probably about 20 minutes too long. I made an effort to take notice of anything that might be woke or otherwise objectionable, and, frankly, I was unable to find any overt indications of political correctness in the dialogue. But there was some subliminal wokeness that bothered me, namely a “#BLM” badge on Miles’s backpack that was displayed front and center on the big screen. I noticed it right away — though my wife didn’t. Once the backpack was no longer in the movie, I failed to find any more Black Lives Matter references — though apparently there was one on a train that I missed.
When the movie was over, I was relieved that I hadn’t noticed anything more than that. Of course, it turns out that even though I was casually keeping an eye out for any woke messaging, I missed that there was a trans flag in Gwen Stacy’s room, featuring the slogan “Protect Trans Kids.” Apparently, this had been discovered in the movie trailer more than two months ago, though I didn’t notice it at the time, and I didn’t even notice it on the big screen.
They snuck a poster about “trans kids” into the new Spider-Man trailer pic.twitter.com/6mOJ4AYnVg
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) April 5, 2023
To say that I was bothered about this discovery is an understatement. I was quite furious. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder how I could have missed it. I take some comfort in the fact that the trans crap portrayed in the movie isn’t aggressively forced on the audience. Heck, unless you’re looking for these things, you probably wouldn’t ever know they were there. But this nevertheless shows how Hollywood will always try to sneak wokeness in.
It’s been five years since the previous Spider-Verse film, and that’s all it took for the film’s creators to decide to promote child abuse and genital mutilation. I can’t even take comfort in the fact that the reference is brief and tucked away into the background in a way most people won’t even notice. The mere fact that it was intentionally included is troubling.
Remember, polls show that the vast majority of Americans oppose letting children get mutilated and made permanently sterile. Hollywood wants to normalize it, and there are plenty of other films where they won’t be so subtle about it.