Reel Leadership is taking you into a new universe today. We’re bringing you into the Spider-Verse. Yes, the Spider-Verse.
What is the Spider-Verse? The Spider-Verse was originally a 2014 Marvel comic book storyline exploring alternate versions of Spider-Man being attacked by the villain Morlun. This isn’t the Spider-Verse we’re going to explore.
Instead, Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures recently released the new animated movie Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. This movie explores the origin of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and the origins of other Spider-People.
Into The Spider-Verse introduces you to various versions of Spider-Man. You will meet:
- Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson)
- Spider-Gwen/Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeld)
- Spider-Ham (John Mulaney)
- Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn)
- Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage)
- Peter Parker (Chris Pine)
Each of the Spider-People brings a unique twist to Spider-Man and his origins. The little tweaks do a lot to expand the mystery and lore of Spider-Man. If you’re a Spider-Man fan, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse will be a treat for you. Even if you’re not a fan of Spider-Man, you’ll enjoy the bright visuals, great action, and the story of a young boy who struggles to become someone special.
In fact, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse may be my movie of the year. It is that good!
But, not only will you enjoy Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, you will walk away with some new and old ideas about leadership. These are ideas and principles you can apply to your leadership.
Get ready for the latest Reel Leadership!
Quotes And Leadership Lessons From Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
1. Leaders can under-estimate their skills:
Miles Morales is the first half-Hispanic, half-African American Spider-Man. At the beginning of Into The Spider-Verse, you discover he’s recently started to attend a new school.
He was hesitant to attend. He didn’t fit in and felt like he wasn’t supposed to be there. After all, he was only there because he won the lottery to attend the prestigious school.
This was only part of the story. Miles Morales had won the lottery. He had also passed all of the tests the school required. He was more than worthy to attend.
You may have received a promotion and feel like you won the lottery… Without having the skills.
I think you’d be amiss to believe this. Being promoted to a place of leadership shows you have the trust of those who regularly spot talent. They see your values and your skills. They know you can offer something as a leader.
You passed the test. You are worthy of being a leader. Now, stop thinking you don’t have the skills to lead well.
2. Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry):
We all make choices in life.
Jefferson is Miles’ dad. He is also a police officer who is doing the best he can to raise Miles with his wife, Rio Morales (Luna Lauren Velez).
In a heart-to-heart chat with his son, he tells him that everyone makes choices in their lives. This is true. We all make choices.
You make choices every day. So do I. Whether or not we make the right choices, that’s up to you and I. We have to choose the right path.
Are you choosing the right path? What’s stopping you from choosing the right thing?
3. People notice when you hold back:
One of Miles’ teachers presents him with the results of a recent test. Miles had scored 0 out of 100. The teacher was able to quickly deduce Miles had tanked the test.
Miles’ teacher approached him about his failing test grade. She asked how he could get every answer wrong on a multiple choice test. Even if he had guessed, statistics show he should have answered 25% of the questions correctly. Answering 0 showed he knew the answers.
The teacher realized Miles was holding back. He wasn’t showing his full potential. And she wasn’t going to have any of it.
Sometimes new leaders will hold back because they’re unsure of the right course of action. Other times they’ll hold back because they don’t want to be seen as a know-it-all.
Each time you hold back on purpose, you are going to be found out. People are watching. They can sense when you’re not being authentic and true.
It’s better to give your all in leadership. To go full bore.
Don’t hold back your skills and wisdom.
4. People can see what you do:
Miles Morales gained his powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. His powers took a little while to manifest. When they did, it was a spectacle.
He was flirting with the new girl, Gwen Stacey. He touched her shoulder and said “Hey…” just like his uncle Aaron Davis/The Prowler (Mahershala Ali) had taught him. But something went wrong.
As he touched Gwen’s shoulder, her hair stuck to his hand. Then her book.
Miles couldn’t release his grip on Gwen. And people saw this happen.
While they didn’t know what was going on, they saw what Miles COULD do.
Like lesson 3, people are watching you. They see your mistakes, they see your trials… They also see the things you can do. The victories. The strengths. And so much more.
People are always watching. For the bad… And the good.
5. You’re not the only one to go through trials:
After gaining his powers, Miles went back to his school dormitory. There, he fell through a window and a comic book landed on his face.
This comic book revealed the truth. Someone else had gone through similar trials. The comic book was a Spider-Man comic detailing the origins of the Spider-Man from his universe.
Almost verbatim, Peter Parker had learned to be Spider-Man in the same ways Miles was. He had the same embarrassing mishaps and fumbles.
This meant Miles wasn’t alone! He wasn’t the only one to go through trials.
Do you know what this means for you? There are leaders out there who have been through nearly the same trials as you. You’re not so different from everyone else.
While this may seem like a downer at first, it’s also a great thing. You’re not alone in your journey. You have others out there with similar experiences. People you can call on! How awesome is that?!?
6. Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Liev Schreiber):
It’s not always about the money.
The Spider-Man from Miles’ universe was fighting the Kingpin when the Kingpin delivered this important line. The Kingpin wasn’t trying to open up access to multiple universes for the money. His reason for something else.
The Kingpin wasn’t after money. He was after his family.
In business, it is easy to get lost and chase the money. It’s what we’re told to chase.
All the while, we forget there are more important things in life than money. There are family and friends. There are pursuits that make you happy.
Be cautious chasing money. Life isn’t about money. It’s about so much more.
7. You can make exceptions:
When Miles saw Spider-Man murdered by the Kingpin and his cronies, he went to a safe place. He went home.
There, he asked his dad if he could stay there for the night. His father told him he had committed to the school. His mother said while there was a commitment, they could make an exception for the night.
The rules are there for a reason. So are commitments. However, there are times when the rules and commitments have to be bent or broken.
As a leader, you will have to make a judgment call on whether or not to make an exception. You can. But should you? The choice is yours.
8. Rio Morales:
Our family does not run from things.
You will be tempted to run from difficult situations. You will feel it is easier to sit on the sidelines or to go away.
But leaders don’t run from challenges. They run towards the challenge.
Be a leader who stands firm. That runs towards the difficult things.
9. Mary Jane Watson (Zoë Kravitz):
We all have powers of one kind or another.
Mary Jane Watson was asked to share a little bit about her Peter Parker. In doing so, she shared a great leadership truth.
Everyone has a power of one kind or another. Everyone has something to offer.
Your people are all unique. They bring something to the organization no one else is able to.
Help bring out their powers. Show them they are special and they are talented.
10. Your actions either attract or repel people:
The tale of Wilson Fisk is a sad one. He was ruthless but also loved his family. Until his family left him.
One day, his wife and child saw him brutally attack Spider-Man. His actions repelled his wife and child. They fled the man they had loved.
Leadership is all about choices. You can make good, positive decisions or you can choose to do evil. The Kingpin chose evil. You don’t have to.
You can choose to make the right choices. Choices that will attract people, rather than repel them.
11. Peter Parker:
You can’t think about saving the world. You have to think about saving one person.
One of the struggles Miles faced was in thinking he had to save the world. Instead, he could focus on saving one person at a time. By saving one person, he’s changing the world.
Sometimes, you’ll get caught up in the desire to change the world. You will want to do it all at once and with everyone. However, you can’t change the world. You can change the life of one person.
In turn, by changing the life of one person, you can change the world. Work at changing the destiny of one person. Doing so will help you change the world.
12. Your story is unique, but not so unique:
In Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, there were multiple Spider-People. Each Spider-Person had an origin story.
Their story was unique to them. Yet it wasn’t truly unique.
Each Spider-Person’s origin was similar to the other one. They were unique but not unique.
There’s a reason people want to hear your story. It’s because your story is their story.
They can see a piece of them in your story. So, share your story and be okay with not being as unique as you want to be.
13. Know what you can do:
The other Spider-People asked Miles what he could do. Could Miles:
- Create online dating profiles?
Miles couldn’t do those things. What he could do was turn invisible and shoot electrical charges.
Do you know what you can do that makes you a more unique leader than someone else? If not, discover what makes you unique.
You might be able to rally the troops better than anyone else. Your ability to lay out and execute business acquisitions may be your jam.
Whatever it is, know what you can do better than anyone else. It’ll be your selling point.
14. Learn to make fun of yourself:
Peter B. Parker is the Spider-Man we’ve come to know, love, and (sometimes) hate from the original Spider-Man movies. In one scene from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Kingpin and Dr. Olivia Octavius/Doc Ock (Kathryn Hahn) are near a monitor. This monitor is displaying the dimensions as they’re collapsing in on one another. E-616 is shown as The Marvel Universe, Home of Spider-Man.
In a later scene, Peter B. Parker shares his origin story. There, he pokes fun of himself doing the emo-Spider-Man dance from Spider-Man 3.
It was a fun flashback to a horrendous scene in Spider-Man 3. The movie studio realized the scene wasn’t good. They took the opportunity to have a laugh at their own expense.
No leader is perfect. We all make mistakes and missteps. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad leader or can’t become a great leader.
Yet you don’t have to hide your mistakes. You can embrace your mistakes and learn to laugh at them.
Use them to show where you’ve come from and where you’ve gone to. Or let people know you’ve changed. Or that they’ll make similar mistakes.
Learn to laugh at your past.
15. Heroes will let you down:
Miles was smitten by his uncle. He thought the world revolved around Uncle Aaron. Then he discovered the truth. His uncle was a villain!!! The Spider-Man villain The Prowler!
He was crushed. His hero wasn’t who he thought he was.
You will face similar crises as a leader. You will have followed someone, thinking they were the best leader ever. Only to discover they weren’t who they said they were.
Don’t let the failures or disappointments of those you look up to discourage you from leading well. Your ability to lead doesn’t depend on your heroes or mentors. They depend on the choices you make.
16. Peter B. Parker:
Not everything works out, kid.
You will have plans and visions for the future. Some of these will work out. Others won’t.
As Peter B. Parker said, not everything works out… But some things will work out.
Don’t let your failures or the failure of your ideas stop you from leading. Not everything will work. Some things will.
17. Be determined to learn:
Spider-Noir was a fun character. He was a black and white (literally!) detective from universe E-90214.
In Miles’ universe, he discovered a Rubik’s Cube. He didn’t understand the device or how to solve it. He didn’t let this deter him.
As he returned to his universe, he took the Rubik’s Cube with him. He was determined to discover how the device worked. And he did!
You’ll find yourself stumped with various leadership ideas and principles. You won’t know how to apply them to your leadership or how they work.
Be determined to examine the ideas and principles you don’t understand. Work on figuring them out.
You can. And you will, if you apply yourself.
18. Stop holding yourself back:
There was a reason Peter B. Parker wanted to stay on earth E-1610. He had screwed up everything on his earth. He’d lost Mary Jane. His aunt May had passed away. He’d lost his job and let his health go.
If he stayed on E-1610, he could sacrifice himself and not have to live with his past failures. He wouldn’t have to try to make something more of himself.
Miles wouldn’t have any of this. He told Peter to go back. To be the Spider-Man he could and should be. To stop holding himself back.
Our past failures and struggles in life will put constraints on us if we let them. You can choose to hold yourself back. Or you can choose to move forward with life.
Move forward. It’s the only good option.