July 12, 2023

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review

Something I find that I still love even as I grow older is bright colors and surreal environments. It’s why I still watch the occasional old cartoon, just to revisit the colorful classics of the past with older eyes. And luckily for me, modern cinema has been delivering just that lately! Case and point: The recently released film, “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse”.

Multiverse stories in movies and shows isn’t anything new, but the first Spider-Verse movie really showed what you can do with the concept. Every character was animated in a unique style, at least the ones that came from different universes. The differing styles gave this film a uniqueness unmatched by most other animated films at the time.

That’s why I can easily say that its followup manages to top it in every respect. The film takes place a year and a half after the first. After preventing the destruction of the multiverse in the previous film, Miles Morales (the new Spider-Man of his universe) has to struggle with both his school life and being the only superhero his city has. What makes things more complicated is when a new villain, Spot, shows up and starts ripping holes in reality.

Things really get insane when Miles’ friend, Gwen Stacy (AKA Spider-Woman), travels to Mile’s universe from her own using a high-tech watch gifted to her by the mysterious Spider-Man 2099. Miles finds himself dragged into a battle against the Multiverse itself, learning what it truly means to be Spider-Man in the process. I won’t go into details beyond that, because I feel this film is best gone into mostly blind.

The film does a great job of telling its story, along with balancing a large amount of characters. Of course, because this film features hundreds of Spider-People, there are a lot of ones that sadly don’t get much focus. So if you’re expecting someone like 1967 cartoon Spider-Man to get more than one or two lines, prepare to be disappointed!

Still, it’s nice seeing decades of the character represented with all of the various versions on display. The action and animation are quite good, though a bit too much at times. With me having hypersensitivity issues, I found the film’s visuals to be a bit overwhelming during certain scenes. The trippy visuals and constantly changing animation styles can be hell on the eyes, but also a visual feast at the same time.

Honestly, this one of those rare movies where I would say to watch it on Blu-Ray instead of in theaters. It’s just easier to balance the craziness on a smaller screen, especially if you’re hypersensitive like I am. Another issue I had with the film is that it feels awkwardly paced at times, like the film is building to some big climax only to hit you with a “To be continued…” at the end instead. And I get it, it’s part 1 of a 2 part story. I just wish part 1 felt a little more whole, instead of ending immediately after a big reveal.

It’s still an amazing story regardless, I just felt like part 1 shouldn’t have ended right in the middle of all that intensity. As for complaints, I don’t have much beyond that. The story and writing were top-notch, and there were so many fantastic characters on display. I especially loved Pavitr Prabhakar, the Spider-Man of the India-based “Mumbatten” and his naive nature, having just become Spider-Man recently and learning that it’s a lot harder than he initially thought. Seeing him work off other characters like the heavy metal rocker Spider-Punk is just the icing on the cake. Speaking of Spider-Punk, he definitely stole the show with his stellar animation and “anti-establishment” shtick.

Last thing I’ll touch on is the film’s score, it’s amazing. They kept the hip-hop style of the soundtrack from the previous film, while mixing in a lot of new tunes. Themes for characters like The Spot and Spider-Man 2099 really help reflect their nature well in the film, giving them more style and flare in the process. There’s also a song that plays during a chase scene halfway through the film that’s an absolute bop, definitely my favorite of the whole soundtrack.

Generally, I felt like Across The Spider-Verse was an amazing film. Solid characters, fantastic writing, and a great story. It is held back a bit by the cliffhanger and its somewhat overwhelming visuals, but it’s otherwise an amazing film that really shows how far animation has come in the past century. There’s nothing quite like it and if you haven’t seen the film yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

If I were to give it a rating, it’d definitely be a 9/10!