Sony to Release SPIDER-VERSE Short Film Focusing on Mental Health

Photo from Kevin Love’s Instagram

Sony to Release SPIDER-VERSE Short Film Focusing on Mental Health

By Movieguide® Contributor

Sony will release a new animated short film, THE SPIDER WITHIN: A SPIDER-VERSE STORY, on March 27 on the Sony Pictures Animation YouTube channel.

According to Variety, “From Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks, the short is set in the world of SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE and follows Miles Morales/Spider-Man as he struggles to balance his responsibilities as a teenager, friend, student, and Spider-Man. In navigating those pressures, Miles experiences a panic attack that forces him to confront the manifestations of his anxiety and learn that reaching out for help can be just as brave an act as protecting his city from evil.”

The short is produced in partnership with NBA player Kevin Love and his foundation to promote the importance of mental health.

The Kevin Love Fund aims “to inspire people to live their healthiest lives while providing tools for both mental and physical health. Through a unique combination of education, research, grant-making, and advocacy, KLF is breaking the stigma around mental health and ensuring people who are suffering have the support needed to thrive.”

“Miles represents so many of us doing the best we can in our day-to-day lives,” said THE SPIDER WITHIN director Jarelle Dampier. “We don’t often realize all that we’ve been through until our own body forces us to become aware of its experience. My intention is that THE SPIDER WITHIN can motivate deeper conversations amongst friends & family about their own mental health journeys — and I hope it feels like a love letter to those who adore Miles Morales.”

Love commented on the short: “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.”

“You see it with Spider-Man in the short film, where Miles has a trusted confidante,” he added. “He is able to take a walk with his dad and express what he’s going through. We can all learn from that – how important it is to reach out to someone, express your true emotions, speak your truth and not hold everything inside.”

On Instagram, the NBA star noted, “The short film will be integrated into KLF’s free mental health curriculum, along with a new ‘Hero Within’ lesson plan, inviting students to tell their own story through the lens of mental health awareness.”

Movieguide® has celebrated how previous installations in the SPIDER-VERSE franchise have honored family-friendly values. Part of Movieguide®’s review for SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE reads:

In SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE, Miles Morales encounters a new supervillain calling himself “The Spot.” The Spot is able to throw a large black spot onto a bank vault and steal money or escape through one of the spots he casts. When The Spot amasses enough power to threaten the multiverse, Miles teams up with a society of Spider-Men or Spider-People to stop The Spot. Eventually, however, Miles faces a moral dilemma that affects the people he loves the most.

SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is a creative, exciting, funny animated superhero movie. It has several unexpected twists that add to the viewer’s enjoyment. Happily, ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE also has a strong pro-family theme. For example, there are heartfelt scenes of love and reconciliation between Miles and his parents and between a Spider-Woman character and her father. Also, a Spider-Man from another universe and his wife have a new baby. Finally, an early image shows a family holding hands and praying together. That said, SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE has lots of PG action violence and brief foul language. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.