The Song of a Hero - Insomniac's Spider-Man Miles Morales
Of all the differences between the first Spider-Man game for the PS4 and Spider-Man Miles Morales, I did not expect to be wowed by the music.
I read somewhere, how heroic music is very prominently composed of horns, trumpets and other instruments that are very prominent.
Superman has the John Williams theme, as majestic as Christopher Reeve himself. Of all of the Batman themes, the Danny Elfman theme comes to mind first, being the fan of Batman: The Animated Series that I am, but even with the Hans Zimmer themes, you get similar notes.
I am no musician, but it is hard to not feel a strong energy coursing through you when you hear those notes. A hero is coming. He will save you. She will save you. That’s what the Wonder Woman theme that stole the show in the otherwise mediocre Batman v. Superman declared. Strong cellos that brought an electric atmosphere to the fight instantly. Unlike her peer’s themes, she does not hold back. Instantly you know that a Saviour has arrived.
And with the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, you got the Nickelback song that didn’t care for subtlety. Hero. It was outright in its intention. Spider-Man was the hero.
And this carried forth to the video games.
With the Arkham video games, the Dark Knight set the standard for Superhero video games. With the music as well. You got to Be the Batman with the OST for the game reminding you that you are a seasoned hero. The Dark Knight. Strong, bold bass notes play the orchestra to the hospitalization of your foes. Those insane enough to take on the World’s Greatest Detective were pummelled, serenaded by music that fit the tone.
The music of a hero.
If you grew up playing the Spider-Man games of yesteryears, you know how much of a love-song the Insomniac Playstation 4 game is. You know what it feels to be Peter Parker, seasoned Superhero. You know inside that with Great Power comes Great Responsibility. And the music that you play along to, knows that.
It begins, a soft climb, as it builds, as a spider does, a magnificient assembly of strength and hope. It knows that Peter Parker is greater with this story. He has earned his mantle in the halls of Marvel’s greatest superheroes. And despite all the efforts of one grumpy podcaster, Spider-Man is, in every sense of the word, a Hero. If you didn’t know that getting into the game, the music reminds you. You have great power. And the responsibility that comes with it.
That’s the music you get when you get the Advanced Suit. The first in-story suit. A suit fit for a hero.
And three days ago, I began playing the new Spider-Man Miles Morales game.
And something struck me immediately. The music broke past this stereotype.
Miles is not a hero. He’s a kid who’s trying on a mask that fits way too loosely. He is trying to swing to a song that was never written for him. He is spinning a web that he believes is not his.
And the music follows suit. Hidden between the original Insomniac theme are notes of something else. When Miles finally makes his own suit, he is reintroduced to us. Not with the Insomniac music, but a song.
Lecrae’s This is My Time serenades Miles into the main stage, as he realizes that it is time for him to be his own Spider-Man. Not one who has years of heritage behind him, heritage that is not his own, but one who has to make his own unique webs.
And spin them he does. As the game veers to its ending, pieces of the original theme meld with Miles’ unique spin on them, choosing notes and themes that show you that yes, this is another Spider-Man, but no, he is not “the other Spider-Man”.
Symbolism 101: point to Insomniac.
This is a beautiful game. Go buy it. Play it. Be greater.