Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review

Reviews Films


Sony Pictures’ latest superhero flick, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, swings into cinemas this week. After many years, this long-awaited sequel is hoping to amaze fans in a spectacular fashion. And with its predecessor being so widely loved, this instalment had some big shoes to fill.

Brooklyn’s one-and-only Spider-Man, Miles Morales, embarks on a journey through the Multiverse after reuniting with his best friend Gwen Stacy. Transported into a realm overseen by a team of elite Spider-People dedicated to preserving its fragile balance, he faces a crucial dilemma. As a new threat arises, tensions mount amongst the heroes regarding the best course of action, forcing Miles to reassess his understanding of heroism as he is reluctantly drawn into a conflict with his fellow vigilantes. In order to protect his loved ones, he must swiftly redefine his own heroic identity and rise above the discord that threatens their very existence.

The original Spider-Verse film was such a breath of fresh air in the animation space, it introduced moviegoers of all ages to a new type of animated film. One that’s more layered and sophisticated, whilst still being a crowd pleaser. Into The Spider-Verse’s approach to storytelling made it one of my favourite animated films of all time, and my third favourite Spider-Man film (nothing is going to dethrone the first two Raimi films).

I was nervous going into the screening of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, as the first film didn’t manage to find its audience until way after its theatrical run when it debuted on Netflix. Though the film was highly praised by those who saw it, its lack of broad appeal led to poor global box office, and this made me question whether or not Sony would tone down the film’s visual style and unique aesthetic in order to cater to a wider demographic. I can sleep easy knowing they certainly did not. In fact this film is more visually chaotic than its predecessor. Everything that worked so well in Into The Spider-Verse is turned up to eleven! If you loved the first film even half as much as I did, you will be blown away by how well this sequel manages to raise the bar.

There’s a lot to love about Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, but the one element that manages to stand above all the incredible work the creative team has done is the character development. This amount of detail put into everyone’s motives and the story they tell is so sophisticated and told with such conviction that it surpasses the first film in almost every regard. Screenwriters Phil Lord, Chris Miller and David Callaham have outdone themselves. They balance all of the characters’ subplots so well, making you truly invested with what’s going on in each of these characters’ lives, and with as many Spider-people as there are in this film, that is no easy task.

This time around the stakes are even more epic then the previous instalment. Though I am getting a little sick of “multiversal ending events” that seems to be all the rage in comic book films these days, I do feel that the Spider-Verse franchise earns the right to be in this space the most. The MCU wishes it handled its Multiverse saga this well, and we are still yet to see how The Flash (2023) handles similar subject matter. Though this film is 23 minutes longer than the first, bringing the film’s runtime to 140 mins, I never really felt bored. There was a slight lull in the second act but it was quickly rescued by a thrilling third act that managed to shock me with a truly edge-of-your-seat cliffhanger leading into next year’s Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse.

The returning characters are all excellent, with no missteps from any of the voice actors. The new additions (such as Daniel Kaluuya’s Spider-Punk and Karan Soni’s Spider-Man of India) seamlessly fit into the group dynamic and stand out as two of my favourites. The new line-up of Spider-People almost made me forget how great the original film’s line up was (but no one can replace Spider-Man Noir). The film’s new foe – The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) – while played for laughs in the first portion of the film, truly develops into a tragic, menacing threat that establishes himself as a iconic Spider-Man villain, up there with the likes of Vulture and Rhino. I feel in the sequel we are going to see even more of what The Spot is capable of, and the threat he imposes on Miles.

Visually this film is breathtaking, its unique approach to every frame almost makes it more art than entertainment and a real feast for the senses. If you can appreciate this artstyle you’re in for a treat. The fight scenes spliced with the art direction and visual humour makes every scene engaging even down to the more dialogue heavy moments. Once the movie gets going, it doesn’t let up. Strap in for one psychedelic trip across the multiverse.

There isn’t really much I didn’t enjoy about the film. My only real critiques, though fairly nitpicky, are for those who didn’t enjoy the first film; it is more of the same. The art style can be divisive, and if it’s not your thing you won’t be able to bear it. The deepcut Spider-Man comic references are plentiful but most will likely go over non-comic fans’ heads, as the screenwriters have tried to cram 80+ years of Spider-lore into an already knowledge-rich film. The film is clearly created with love by a group of Spider-Nerds, but sometimes it plays it a little too “inside baseball”, which will most likely divide the audience.

This latest Spider-Flick saw Sony crank the epicness right up and managed to exceed my already high expectations. With engaging character arcs, a gorgeous and unique art style complemented further by a flawless voice cast, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse certainly takes the franchise to new heights – sticking the landing as the ultimate Miles Morales Spider-Man film.

Rating 9/10