Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

A Reel Leadership Article

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Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is blowing up the theaters. And opinions.

Many are hailing Across The Spider-Verse as a beautiful marvel of animated cinematography. Others are complaining there’s too much going on and the various styles clash with the movie.

I’m leaning towards Across The Spider-Verse being a grand entry into the new animated world of Spider-Man. The introduction of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) in the last film and now the introduction of so many other Spider-men and women. It’s a blast seeing new Spider characters introduced. A few are Spider-Punk (Daniel Kalyuua), Jessica Drew (Issa Rae), Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac), Pavitr Prabhakar/Spider-Man India (Karan Soni), Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider (Andy Samberg), Lego Spider-Man (Nic Novicki), Metro Spider-Man (Metro), Spectacular Spider-Man (Josh Keaton), and many others. Not only that, but we get the return of Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld). 

This movie has a little bit of everything for everyone. There’s a love story, action, adventure, and an escape story. For those with a leadership bent, there are plenty of leadership lessons in Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse. We’ll dig into those lessons in this article.

Scene from Spider-Man Across The Spider-Verse. Multiple Spider-Men are pointing at each other, similar to the meme from the 1968 cartoon

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

1. Gwen Stacy:

He’s not the only one.

The movie opens with a little recap of what’s happened in the Spider-Verse multiverse. Gwen Stacy is drumming away. She keeps repeating a line.

That line is, “He’s not the only one.”

I saw this as Gwen saying Miles Morales wasn’t the only Spider-Man. There are multiple Spider-Men out there. He’s not the only one.

Leadership gets lonely. We get into a funk and believe we’re the only leader out there. The only person who can do what we do.

I want to remind you: You are not alone. You’re not the only one.

There are others out there. These people want to come alongside you and help you. They want you to succeed.

Let them enter your life. Let them pour into your life.

2. The desire to be special can bring about horrifying results:

The Peter Parker in Gwen Stacy’s universe wanted to be special. So much so that he took a formula that transformed him into a terrifying monster. 

Peter Parker on Earth-65 didn’t become Spider-Man. Instead, Peter Parker became that Earth’s Lizard. 

In a fight with Spider-Gwen, Peter is killed when the formula he used causes an adverse reaction resulting in his death.

We all have this desire to be special. We want to be remembered. We want to do great things.

Yet, this desire can go wrong. 

Our desire to be recognized as special can cause us to do things we usually wouldn’t do. We might lie to those we lead, cook the books, or take dangerous shortcuts.

Beware of the desire to be special. 

Not because you’re not special. But because you are special and are already doing great things. You don’t have to do extraordinary things to be special. You already are.

3. Spider-Man 2099/Miguel O’Hara:

That’s what I was going to do.

Adriano Tumino/Vulture (Jorma Taccone) attacked. He shot down a helicopter, and the helicopter careened toward innocent civilians below. 

Spider-Gwen created a web net to catch the helicopter. Miguel looked at the contraption she’d made and quipped he was planning on doing that to stop the helicopter.

We look around at other leaders. We see what they’re doing. And then we get frustrated because they’re doing what we were planning on doing.

Don’t get frustrated at this aspect of leadership. Instead, consider the old saying, “Great minds think alike.”

If other leaders are doing what you want to do, you’re thinking like a leader. You’re seeing the possibilities and attempting them.

Great leaders think alike.

4. Great leaders do great things when they believe in themselves:

Miles’ parents are Rio Morales (Luna Lauren) and Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry). They believed he could do great things.

Their belief led them to enroll him in a school for exceptional students. Why did they do this?

Miles’ parents believed he could do great things. They saw his potential and began to invest in him.

Miles struggled with this. He didn’t feel worthy. He felt like he couldn’t live up to their expectations.

His mindset changed. He began to see the potential he had. This changed his actions.

When you begin your leadership journey, you may look at yourself and wonder what you can do. You’re a nobody. You don’t have the experience. You haven’t developed any skills.


You have potential. There’s greatness within you.

Start to believe in yourself. Listen to the voices around you telling you that you can do it.

You’ll start to do great things when you begin to believe in yourself.

5. Learn to understand the power you wield:

Spot/Jonathan Ohnn (Jason Schwartzman) was one of the villains in Across The Spider-Verse. He had been the scientist that pulled the spider that bit Miles into their universe. He was also in the collider when Miles blew it up. 

This gave Jonathan the powers of Spot. He could tap into the power of the multiverse and create portals. 

Crazy powerful stuff!

Spot had one problem. He didn’t know how to harness the powers of the multiverse. At least not early in the movie. 

This made him a “villain of the week” type of joke. Once he learned how to harness the power he wielded, he became a foe to be reckoned with.

Now, don’t become a Spot leader when you understand the power you wield. Instead, become a leader worth following.

Study, learn, and grow your skills. Learn about the knowledge and skills you possess.

You can use that power to become a great leader.

6. Miles Morales:

Mom, no one my age says those words in that order.

Gwen visited Miles in his universe. During their visit, Roe interrupted the pair. She was slightly embarrassed, but not much.

Roe apologized to her son. The apology was sloppy and awkward. Maybe even cringe.

What did Roe say? She told Miles, “Hope I didn’t ice your game, man.”

Uhhhh… What did she say? It was totally cringe. It’s also something Miles’ generation never says.

Think about the people you lead. Are you speaking their language? Are you connecting with them through your words?

The lines of communication become muddled across generations and cultures if we’re not careful. 

Learn how to speak the words of your people. Communicate the way they communicate, not the way you communicate. When you learn to communicate (say the words of your people) the right way, you’ll learn to win the hearts of your people.

7. Learn to display emotions:

In the breaking of a canon event, Pavitr saves his girlfriend. Miles saves Pavitr’s father and a little child. 

This shouldn’t have happened. Canon events are supposed to happen regardless of the universe.

One of the things that we saw after this was the reaction of the girlfriend and her father. 

Pavitr’s girlfriend said she’d never seen her father so emotional. The joke’s on us when they pan to her father. His face is emotionless.

You want your team to know that you have emotions. You want them to be able to relate to you in the good times and the bad times.

Don’t wear your emotions on your sleeve but show some emotion.

When times are tough, let your soft side show. When you need to show a little anger or sadness, show your emotions

Leaders can display emotions.

8. Miguel O’Hara:

Being Spider-Man is a sacrifice. It’s what you signed up for.

I already mentioned how canon events are events that are supposed to happen. Miles doesn’t want to accept there are things that he can’t change. He begins to freak out when he learns that his father is supposed to die.

Miguel speaks to Miles. He tells him that the role he has is a role of sacrifice. 

Leadership is all about sacrifice. You give yourself up so that you can help others succeed, grow, and become what they’re meant to be.

You signed up for the leadership role. Be ready to sacrifice.

9. Gwen Stacy:

We’re supposed to be the good guys.

Across The Spider-Verse is all about the issues caused by the creation of Miles’ Spider-Man. Miles was never meant to be Spider-Man. When Miles became Spider-Man, it caused another Spider-Man’s world to be destroyed. 

Miguel formed a special task force to prevent anomalies. To stop canon events from being prevented.

This caused Miguel to become angry, defiant, and, I would say, a bad guy. 

Miguel’s hunting of Miles became dangerous. It even crossed a line between good guy and bad guy. 

Gwen noticed this. She tried to call out Miguel. He was at a point where he couldn’t listen to her.

Watch your actions as you pursue your dreams, vision, and desires. There are good things that can come from your desire to lead.

There are also bad things.

You’re supposed to be a good leader. Do the things that good leaders do.

If you’re starting to cross lines, you may not be the good leader you thought you were. You’ll have to check yourself. 

Be the good leader.

10. There are many different leadership styles:

As you watched Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, you see a plethora of artistic styles. We are shown the original animation style from Into The Spider-Verse. Then, we see various Spider-Men with differing artistic styles.

Gwen Stacy’s universe sees the colors displayed change according to her mood. Producers Phill Lord and Christopher Miller said they wanted a mood ring style to her universe. Spider-Man 2099’s artistic style is based on the artist Syd Mead. Spider-Man: India introduces viewers to an artistic style inspired by Indian comics from the 1970s. My favorite art style was from Spider-Punk. The artistic style used for him felt like music posters from the punk scene. His interactions felt as if pieces were cut, pasted, and glued together. And then there’s the artistic style from Spot. When we see Spot, the art is in a liquid state. It looks fluid and living.

Each of these styles blends and melds with one another. The effects are stunning.

Now, think about leadership. There are many different leadership styles.

There are 7 common leadership styles. They are

  • Autocratic
  • Pacesetting
  • Transformational
  • Coaching
  • Democratic
  • Affiliative
  • Delegative

What would happen if we began to blend these leadership styles together? I think we’d get something beautiful. We’d discover that leadership isn’t a one-size fits all solution. 

Not at all.

Leadership is the melding and figuring out of things. You have to adjust and adapt to the situations you encounter. 

Be willing to use different leadership styles. Be willing to blend them together when needed.

11. There’s always more to the story:

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse ends in a cliffhanger. A to be continued text appears on the screen, letting moviegoers know that the movie is done but there’s more to the story.

I feel that leadership is a to be continued event. You accomplish goals and visions but there’s always something else to do.

Leadership is never done. Leadership is always to be continued.

Keep leading. Keep leading well.

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