Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse came swinging into theaters last weekend and has become an instant hit! The animated film is the sequel to the 2018 film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and shares many of the same creative team behind it. Audiences are wondering if this sequel lives up to the hype of the original, and it is with great power and great responsibility that we answer this question once and for all.
The story centers around the same version of Spider-Man from the last film, Miles Morales, further growing into his role as the web-slinger as he faces the struggles of adolescence while living a double life as a superhero. The film does an excellent job juxtaposing Miles’ challenges as massive as interdimensional threats to the multiverse and as mundane as butting heads with his parents and a budding romance with Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman. Gwen also gets much more to do this time around and functions effectively as the co-lead to the film. Her personal story is heart-wrenching at times and also effective in communicating to the audience just how much loss someone must go through to be a Spider-Person, which parallels nicely with Miles’ story. The film delivers several plot-lines at a breakneck pace, which keeps the story moving along well while also knowing when to hold on the more emotional moments.
This movie is a technical marvel (no pun intended), easily showcasing the most impressive and innovative animation in a major feature film in a very long time. The way the animators were able to jump back and forth between so many different and creative animation styles is insanely impressive. Movement is fluid, and the characters and environments are styled with such unique artistic expression that it often feels like they are operating on a different dimensional plane than we are. This is fitting, not only because of all the various comics and genres the artists are inspired by, but also in living up to the ambitious concept of a multiverse film. Additionally, the sound design is beyond immersive and makes the theater-going experience worth every penny. The score/soundtrack is also excellently-composed and always feels fitting for whatever is happening on screen, with the only downside being that there isn’t a standout song like how Post Malone’s “Sunflower” was for the first film.
Overall, the film is a spectacular experience that is a breath of fresh air for longtime Spider-Man fans and comic book movie fans who might be experiencing “superhero fatigue” as of late. However, many fans have complained about being frustrated with this film’s abrupt cliffhanger ending, which does not provide any closure and directly sets up a sequel that is due next year. While it is an understandable complaint, it seems that this film is not a complete story that we will be able to judge until we can tune into the final part in 2024. But if this film and the previous one are anything to go by, it seems that we are due for a mind-blowing conclusion to a top-tier trilogy that exceeds anything else Marvel and Sony are currently putting out.