The Tears, The Thrills, The Venom: Unveiling the Emotional Rollercoaster of Spider-Man 2!

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| October 30, 2023

First things first, this will be a SPOILER-filled review of Insomniac GamesSpider-Man 2. So, if you haven’t finished the game yet, this is no place for you, but come back afterward because there will be many exciting things in this article. 

You’ve been warned!

I am a huge Spidey fan. I’ve been since I can remember. Even though I didn’t own a lot of comics when I was little, my most extensive collection was from Spider-Man. I loved Peter Parker’s story, how he was funny but also full of very complicated emotions. At the same time, he always put everyone else ahead of himself. He was THE superhero for me, and to be honest, he still is. Without going into extensive details, I can safely say that I consumed 95% of all Spider-Man content, immortalized him on my arm (with a great tattoo), and drew Spidey more than any other character. So, very long story short: I love Spider-Man no matter which one we are talking about. Two of my favorite ones are Miles and Peter so I  was super excited about this game because I always wanted them to be superheroes together in either a movie, series, or game. And yes, we obviously have the fantastic Spider-Verse movies, and while Peter B. Parker is important in Miles’s story, it is not what I always craved. But here… yes, here: we got it. Let me tell you all about it. 

The famous pointing meme can be re-done in the game
The famous pointing meme can be re-done in the game

At the end of the first Spider-Man game, Miles (Nadji Jeter) reveals to Peter (Yuri Lowenthal) that he has powers. In Spider-Man: Miles Morales, we saw a glimpse of how their dynamic would work, with Peter stepping in as a mentor for the young man. But this is where the real good stuff comes together to form a great big picture. Peter is definitely a mentor figure for Miles, especially at the beginning, but the dynamic slowly changes after Kraven (Jim Pirri) and Harry Osborn (Graham Phillips) arrive to turn everything upside down in both of their lives. Kraven is obviously the big main threat – seemingly – obsessed with finding a match for himself who can defeat him. He targets the supervillains of New York, starting the game off by kidnapping Scorpion (Jason Spisak) and Martin Li (Stephen Oyoung). Martin Li – if you all can’t recall – was one of the main antagonists of the first game and the one responsible for the death of Jefferson Davis (Russell Richardson), Miles’ dad. This is the first big moment in the game that triggers Miles’ deeper story, and let me tell you that it is one of the most complex and beautifully done parts of the game. The other catalyst (or maybe even a canon event) is the arrival of Harry Osborn, aka the best friend of Peter Parker. He is cured with the help of a mysterious suit created for him – aka the alien symbiote, Venom – and he is ready to “Heal the World” alongside his best friend. With Harry’s arrival, Peter starts to bail on Miles more and more, who has to face all his inner fights alone with the taking of Martin Li. He is at his most vulnerable, where he would need all the help he can get from his mentor and friend, yet he is left alone. Things get worse when Peter suffers a fatal wound at the hands of Kraven, and Harry gives his “suit” to him to save his life. Yes, the part probably a big chunk of people waited for has arrived. Peter is carrying the symbiote suit, and things get out of hand quickly. 

For Howard
For Howard

I love how it was equally both of their stories, and they worked beautifully in their separate storylines, but the game was at its absolute best when Miles and Peter were together. It even showed how whenever either of them decided to solo things, it didn’t go as planned, not only because they were stronger together but also because their mindsets were not in the right place. Miles needed Peter’s approval in everything, especially at the start. He couldn’t believe that he would be able to do things without him by his side. On the other hand, Peter thought he could do things without Miles helping him, which was especially true after Venom started to take control of him. He wouldn’t call him, or whenever Miles tried to contact him, he always had something else to do or something more important to talk to. Which all meant the separation of the two. 

But even though they had their own struggles, once the Venom symbiote took control over Peter, Miles was there the second MJ (Laura Bailey) called him. Through a fight with Kraven’s hunters, who were all after Peter, Miles gets abducted through an evil trick when he helps a civilian. Miles’ abduction also makes Peter go over the edge as he searches for him in an absolute frenzy. The build-up to Peter’s descent into the worst version of himself and Yuri’s performance are some of the most incredible things I’ve seen in a game or any other form of entertainment lately. It was mesmerizing and blood-boiling how he changed slowly and very creepily. The confrontation with Miles might be my favorite fight out of the ones we experience in the game. The way Miles makes Peter realize that he lost his way and needs to get the symbiote off is just perfectly done and shows how strong their bond is. MJ wasn’t able to get through to Pete, nor was Harry. 

This part was also where they slowly reversed the roles of the two. Miles – after all – went through the entire confrontation with Martin Li completely alone and came out on top. He slowly but surely surpassed his tutor and ended up helping him more than expected. They hammer it in at the City Hall mission, where Miles – once again – helps Peter get rid of the remaining symbiote infection. It was my third big emotional moment as Miles, with the help of Martin Li, went deep into Peter’s mind. He is actively working with the man who caused the death of his father, and by the end, even though he can’t forgive him for what he has done, he also decides to let go of the hatred he carried for Martin because it was only poisoning his mind. As they reach the deepest part of Peter’s mind, it becomes clear that he blames himself for Aunt May’s death and all the failures he experienced. They both learn a very valuable lesson. Peter finally sees what Miles is capable of – he did reform Martin Li, as he put it – and how he can overcome his own demons if he trusts those who love him dearly. 

Peter and Miles finally understanding how important they both are in each other’s life
Peter and Miles finally understanding how important they both are in each other’s life

The final boss and the one who brings chaos to the city is Venom (Tony Todd), aka Harry Osborn. The way they put Venom’s twisted image of what Harry’s ‘healing the world’ meant was absolutely brilliant, and it made so much sense. The symbiote is not only taking over the person’s body but also getting to know their memories and feelings, and the way they managed to showcase that in both Peter and Harry’s cases was gorgeous and truly a masterclass on how to write great stories and compelling characters. 

Once Harry gets the symbiote back, he instantly turns into Venom and lets it control him, but it is all because of the anger that has built up in him. He saved Pete’s life only to witness his best friend turning away from him and his father talking about Peter like a second son. He felt betrayed by the people who he trusted so deeply, and I don’t know about you, but thinking that my best friend wouldn’t want me to get cured would fuck me over as well. So the Venom carnage is devastating, and it gets 10 times worse when Peter finds out that his friend is too far gone and the only way to kill the symbiote is to kill the host. 

Venom in his full glory
Venom in his full glory

Without spoiling the entire thing, it is not entirely a sad and devastating ending for any character. It’s a wonderful learning curve for all, not just about themselves but each other. Peter finally finds peace within himself and trusts Miles to step up so he can rest and take care of his own life and goals. Miles becomes who he always was, accepting that he can do it if he trusts himself. 

I have the absolute privilege and joy to say that I am good friends with Yuri Lowenthal – one could even say we are besties – and I kept him updated with my progress throughout the playthrough. We chatted before the game even came out, and he said that his absolute favorite parts to do were the little moments in the game. As we all know, in any excellent media, the little moments build it all up to reach that emotional high point in the big ones. He brought up the flashback scenes with Harry in high school or how you have a moment with him beforehand riding a bike back to the old school. They might not seem like much compared to the big fights, but without them, those big moments would be worth nothing. They would be mindless fights without emotional weight. I agreed with him then, and I agree with him now even more. I got teary-eyed early on, but the first tears came during a side mission for Peter. 

The game is full of moments like this, both with Peter and Miles, and to be completely fair, this is what Spider-Man is all about. He is not just facing the big baddies but also helping everyone he can, being a real Friendly Neighborhood Spider. Enjoy the little things. 

Miles looks over the city from the top of the Avengers tower
Miles looks over the city from the top of the Avengers tower

It was everything I wanted, from a Spider-Man story and more. I finally saw two of my favorite Spideys work together, which was probably the greatest thing ever created. And the developers thought about the future, putting in a TON of implications for what may come in a third game. If you did every single side mission, we get to meet Cletus Kasady (Chad Doreck) in The Flame storyline, so I am pretty positive that we are not finished with the symbiotes yet. Norman Osborn mentions the G-serum, which implies that we will finally meet the Green Goblin in the future. In the two end credits scene first, we get a glimpse of Cindy Moon, aka Silk, which means that we might get a third Spider-person, and Otto Octavius (William Salyers) appears once again when he gets a visit by Norman Osborn, who blames the Spider-Men for what happened with Harry. There’s a lot of setup for the future, and I honestly think that it can’t get any better than what we have now. But then again… I said this after the first game and then after Miles Morales, too. So, you know… prove me wrong, Insomniac Games.

Also, if anyone asks from now on, I can say with 100% certainty that my Spider-Man is Yuri Lowenthal. 

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