Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: Miles Morales catapults across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. When the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles must redefine what it means to be a hero.
Review: Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? If we’re talking about Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse the answer would be a resounding “no,” but boy does this movie push what’s possible in animated films and films in general, to the limit!
The first movie was well loved by critics and audiences, but it was for all intents and purposes, an experimental film in terms of its style and execution. With Into the Spider-Verse going on to win multiple awards, this time around they had a much bigger budget to work with and it shows as Across the Spider-Verse is beyond anything I could’ve expected.
There’s a lot going on here but none of it is difficult to follow, at least from a story standpoint (visually…well, I’ll get back to that in a bit). We continue with a slightly older Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld of Bumblebee, Hawkeye), as both teenagers are struggling with their roles as heroes as well as the effects of having so much responsibility and secrecy in their lives. Gwen Stacy especially gets more screen time here and the moments when the movie slowed down tend to focus on their families and the struggles of keeping such a big secret from them.
When Gwen brings Miles into the Spider-Verse he learns how much of an impact all the Spideys have on the universe as a whole, and as themes of destiny versus choice comes to a head Miles finds himself having to face off against the entire Spider-Verse led by Spider-Man 2099 Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac of X-Men: Apocalypse, Moon Knight) while trying to stop his new nemesis The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) from destroying their world as they know it.
As I mentioned before, the story beats are never difficult to follow even while the film throws every visual treat they can come with at you. But as great as the movie looks (and boy does it look amazing!) I found myself feeling overwhelmed by all the quick editing and loads of visual information coming at me.
The first movie was also a feast for the eyes but never went overboard with the visuals. I could follow every frame of action in it while enjoying the story and the performances. Across the Spider-Verse on the other hand demands that you never look away or even blink for fear of missing something great. The big action sequence where Miles is chased by multiple versions of Spider-Man might be the best example of this, and while I enjoyed spotting characters like Mary Jane Watson (Earth 18119), Bombastic Bag-Man, and Spider-Monkey just to name a few, there’s no way a single viewing of this movie is possible without feeling like you’re missing out on a lot.
Sensory overload aside, Across the Spider-Verse is a powerhouse sequel that’s worthy of all the praise coming its way. Balancing gorgeous animation with fully developed characters and a compelling storyline is something other superhero films have struggled to deliver time and time again, yet this movie nails it and leaves you wanting more.
I’m not sure if it’s better than the first film and I think it will take a lot of rewatching to truly decide where I land on that particular topic. But the best sequels are the ones that can stand on their own without having to rely on the success of its predecessor, and in that respect Across the Spider-Verse doesn’t just stick the landing, it absolutely destroys it.
Sommer’s Score: 9 out of 10
Have you checked out Across the Spider-Verse? How would you rate it? And you can check out more amazing Spidey content below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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