Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse Review

Thursday 1 June 2023

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.

Film: Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse

Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson

Writers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dan Callaham

Starring: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Issa Rae

There is no doubt that the movie's greatest strength is its visual style. Like the first movie, Sony Animation has captured the iconic feel of a classic comic book and translated it into a world that is perfectly suited for the big screen. A typical animated film cannot be compared to this one. It is as if each and every frame is a small work of art. 

Animation has always been a way to bring our wildest dreams to reality, and there are a number of scenes in this film that I think any special effects team would struggle to translate to live action, but that isn’t where the heart of this film lies. Like in the classic Spider-Man way, MIles is just an ordinary kid who ends up in extraordinary situations, only this time it’s on a multiverse level. Shamiek Moore has done such an incredible job bringing Miles to life through his voice acting and makes it so that the character really holds his own in our hearts the same way the live-action Spider-Man actors do. 

It has been decades since Spider-Man first appeared, but his presence continues to be felt in our world today in countless ways. Several movies and television shows feature the familiar icon of our beloved Spidey, but why? Across the Spider-Verse captures the idea that "great power comes great responsibility" in a way that no other Spider-Man film has. With the multiverse you open up the possibility to change how your story goes, but does that mean you should? 

Gwen and Peter B. make a return, both with their own scenes to really build on the characters that were established in the first film, Gwen in particular gets a very emotionally driven storyline that had the whole cinema in silence, the way these scenes were animated really reflected that aspect of the story too, using watercolours and pastels tones to really convey the struggles Gwen was having it was beautiful to watch. 

New characters making their debut include Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isacc) aka Spider-Man 2099, Jessica Drew (Issa Rae) aka Spider-Woman and Hobie Brown (Daniel Kaluuya) aka Spider-Punk, who was my favourite as Hobie didn’t have a second of wasted dialogue and stole every scene he was in. Miguel is definitely the character we get the most from, more of his backstory is revealed than the others but the relationships and hierarchy in the ‘Spider-Society’ is well established in the few scenes we get there. The sheer volume of different Spider people in those scenes is one of the highlights of the film for me, and a few very exciting cameos also occur there -no spoilers. 

Along with the animation and storytelling, Spider-Verse has excellent pacing. I never felt bored at any point in the movie, and was absolutely on the edge of my seat. It wasn’t until the last five minutes that I had the horrible realisation that this was the first of a two-part story, that had completely slipped my mind until they built up to what I realised was going to be a cliffhanger. That’s the only reason this film loses half a star for me, the fact that this isn’t a self-contained story, it does very much end in the middle of a scene. 

Sony has once again done something very special here in making an animated Spider-Man film that holds its own in a world where people are so passionate about their comic book adaptations. In many ways the Spider-Verse saga excels against the MCU and as someone who was sat in a sold out screen of mostly adults on opening day, shows that animation can still bring in the numbers that live-action can without catering solely to children.

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