New Spider-Man Animation Promotes Mental Healthcare For Students


Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Imageworks, in collaboration with the Kevin Love Fund (KLF), published a short animation titled ‘The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story’ on Wednesday that addressed mental health issues among children and teenagers.

The 7-minute, 14-second video is set in the world of ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,’ the second installment of a trilogy about the black, teenage Spider-Man Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). Miles experiences anxiety as a result of his responsibilities as a superhero, A-level student, and father.

His toughest struggle yet is an internal war in which the young superhero fights to keep from drowning in the anxieties and feelings of imagined loneliness he believes he must live with as Spider-Man, until he reaches out and finds a confidante in his father, Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry).

Viewers are once again treated to a lavish show of VFX and SFX designs. But credit also goes to the storytellers, who are able to crystallize and manifest Miles’ anxiety in the one thing that made him who he is—a spider—but not before it transforms from a threatening shadowy figure of himself to a giant spider that explodes into tiny spiders that appear to consume him. The connection between Miles and his father, which alludes to their budding relationship at the close of the first film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is an excellent setup that pushes him to confide in his father. While he cannot yet tell him the full reality of his new identity, he can tell him about some of it, such as his challenges with school and his responsibilities as a son and friend, while they take a tranquil walk at night.

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‘The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse’ demonstrates the value of movies, particularly animation, in promoting mental health awareness. It not only provides a creatively visual representation of what mental health could look like to imaginative children and young adults, but it also gives them a sense of relief and normalcy by demonstrating that even superheroes deal with mental health issues and that, like them, it is acceptable to reach out to someone for help.

And this is exactly what Jarelle Dampier, the animation short director, and Kevin Love, the KLF founder and professional basketball player, aimed to do.

Dampier writes, “Miles represents so many of us doing our best in our daily lives. We frequently don’t understand how much we’ve gone through until our own body makes us aware of it. My hope is that ‘The Spider Within’ will spark deeper discussions among friends and family about their own mental health journeys, and that it will feel like a love letter to people who appreciate Miles Morales.”

“My hope for the short film would be for everyone, especially young people, to understand that your feelings are valid and that you are not alone in this,” Love told the audience.

‘The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story’ will be included in the KLF’s new mental health lesson plan, ‘The Hero Within.’ The lesson plan encourages students to narrate their own stories from the perspective of mental health awareness through an interactive curriculum that includes a creative storyboard activity.

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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Written by Kelvin Bowoto

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