MOVIE REVIEW – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the 2018 sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, tracing the adventures of Miles Morales as he travels and meets other Spider-Men across various dimensions of the multiverse. Many believe the film to be the pinnacle of Spider-Man movies, but is it really? Or is it just an overhyped animated balloon, soon to deflate?
Following the Oscar-winning success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, many anticipated whether the sequel could replicate or surpass the magic of the first installment. The good news? It does. The bad news? Just barely. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse delivers the same high-quality animation, humorous and heartwarming story, and stunning action scenes as its predecessor, but not much more. The film doesn’t simply showcase the growth of Miles Morales and his relationship with Gwen Stacy, but it also introduces the Spider-Gang, a secret group of Spider-People from other dimensions. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse offers not only another multiverse adventure but also conveys a deeper message about what it means to be a hero and how to find our own voice in a world full of opportunities and dangers. But is this enough to make this new Spider-Man adventure truly memorable? Or is it just another episode in an endlessly continuing series?
Spiders everywhere – but why?
The film’s story picks up a year after the previous installment, with Miles Morales now an experienced Spider-Man in his own world. One day, he reunites with Gwen Stacy, who hails from another dimension and seeks his help for a dangerous mission. Miles dives into the adventure and quickly realizes that the multiverse has become unstable again, allowing numerous villains to cross into other dimensions. Miles joins the Spider-Gang, a secret group comprised of other Spider-Men aiming to save the multiverse. The film thus offers an exciting and twisty journey for Miles and the audience across different worlds, where many surprises and dangers await them.
One of the film’s greatest strengths (and somewhere also its weakness) is the introduction of diverse and entertaining Spider-Men, each representing a unique style and personality. Alongside the familiar Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), we meet Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) from the future, the elegant and mysterious Jessica Drew (Issa Rae), Pavitr Prabhat (Karan Soni) from India, the punkish Hobie Brown (Daniel Kaluuya), and many more characters. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse masterfully utilizes the potential of animation to portray each dimension in a unique visual style, whether it’s a retro-futuristic neon world or a cartoonish comic book page. The dynamic among the Spider-Men also serves as a terrific source of humor, as everyone has their own opinion about who is the best or worst Spider-Man.
But were these characters truly necessary to the story? Or are they just a pretext to sell more merchandising products? And why do we need so many dimensions and variants of the same hero? Doesn’t this diminish the significance and uniqueness of the original Spider-Man?
Miles Morales’ journey – But where does it lead?
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is not just an exciting action-adventure film but also a sensitive coming-of-age drama, depicting the internal struggles of Miles Morales. Now an experienced Spider-Man in his own world, Miles (Shameik Moore) still struggles with self-confidence and expectations. He’s torn between staying home or going to study in another state. At first, he can’t express his feelings for Gwen or accept himself for who he is.
These inner conflicts form the emotional core of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and make Miles’ journey not just thrilling but also emotionally engaging. The film addresses issues such as identity, self-worth, and maturity, encouraging everyone to embrace their uniqueness and potential. As Miles learns, being a hero doesn’t just mean fighting villains but also standing up for oneself and making difficult decisions.
But does the film really need to resort to such a philosophical approach? Does it really need to burden a superhero story with psychological and existential themes? Or would it be enough to present an entertaining and visually stunning adventure?
Animation Quality – Eye candy or a groundbreaking achievement?
The animation of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is undoubtedly one of its highlights. The film builds upon the artistic achievements of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and takes them to the next level. The animation is stunningly detailed, creative, and vibrant, matching each Spider-Man and their dimension. The film is an absolute visual feast, offering an innovative blend of comic book style, pop art, graffiti, and other artistic influences. This unique animation style distinguishes Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse from other superhero films and makes it a groundbreaking achievement in the animation industry.
But is the high-quality animation enough to make the film memorable? Does it compensate for the potential flaws in the story and characters? Or is it just a shiny wrapper around a regular superhero film?
An exciting journey
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is an exciting, visually stunning, and emotionally engaging journey across the multiverse. The film succeeds in expanding the world of Spider-Man and offering a new, deeper perspective on what it means to be a hero. However, the film also poses several questions: Is the introduction of numerous Spider-Men and dimensions necessary or overkill? Is the philosophical approach in the story required or excessive? And does the stunning animation really make the film stand out? In the end, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse may not be a revolutionary superhero film, but it’s undoubtedly an enjoyable, refreshing, and worthwhile watch for both Spider-Man fans and newcomers alike.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a mesmerizing animated film, worthy continuation of its Oscar-winning predecessor. The movie brilliantly portrays Miles Morales’ multiversal adventures and encounters with other Spider-Men, but also emotionally captivates its viewers with Miles’ inner growth and struggle. The film, however, isn’t flawless, as it often loses itself in details and doesn’t answer posed questions. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a real celebration for every Spider-Man fan and every animation movie enthusiast, but it might not remain in our memories for the long run.