I loved Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to the point that it was my favourite movie of 2018.
It has brilliant animation and so many standout moments, like The Leap of Faith scene, which I consider to be one of the most inspirational movie scenes of all time.
So, like many others, I was excited to watch the sequel, Across the Spider-Verse.
I went into the theatre with high expectations and those expectations were certainly met, and then some.
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thomas, the film once again follows Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) who, after the events of the first movie, has become New York’s new Spider-Man.
After encountering a villain known as the Spot (Jason Schwartzman), Miles is reunited with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and eventually brought into a society of spider-people from across the Sider-Verse, lead by Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac).
When I say “across the Sider-Verse” I really do mean that because this is a movie that lives up to its title.
Take Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, for example.
It was a good movie but in only dived deep in a couple of alternate universes, not really living up to its title’s promise of a “multiverse of madness.”
Across the Spider-Verse, however, delivers on its title’s promise perfectly, showcasing multiple different universes with multiple different spider-people in absolutely stunning animation.
After watching this movie it is absolutely clear why it took five years to make this film because it is an animation marvel, with jaw dropping details in practically every scene.
The time and effort it must have taken to animate all of these different universes and spider-people is honestly staggering to think about it and the animators deserve all the praise in the world for it.
Speaking of the spider-people, this film introduces many interesting new ones.
Miguel is both sympathetic and intimidating, and Pavitr Prabhakar (Karen Soni) is both charasmatic and gets a lot of laughs.
Hobie (Daniel Kaluuya) or “Spider-Punk” was probably my favourite of the new Spider-Men, though, for not only being likeable and funny, but also someone who stands by what they preach.
As for the returning characters, they are also excellent.
Miles’ emotional journey throughout the movie is plenty compelling.
His relationship with his parents, Rio (Luna Lauren Vélez) and Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry), takes up a lot of screen time in the movie, yet it was so interesting that I was completely fine with that, especially with how this builds into Miles’ conflict with Miguel later on in the movie.
As for Gwen, she gets a big bump-up in screen time in this movie and it is absolutely deserved.
Across the Spider-Verse feels like her movie, just as much as it does Miles, with her relationship with her father (Shea Whigman) also being central.
And then there is Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson), with his daughter Mayday.
Unfortunately, his screentime is nowhere near as significant as the first movie but this is okay because he will have plenty of time to shine in the sequel.
Yes, I said sequel because Across the Spider-Verse is actually a part one, with the rest of the story being told in Beyond the Spider-Verse, which will release in March of 2024.
I had no idea about this going into the movie and, from the sound of my theatre, no one else did either.
As soon as the movie cut to a “To Be Continued” there was a collective cry of “Are you kidding me?”
If anything, though, this disappointment at having to wait does show how excellent this movie is.
I honestly would not have minded if the movie had just continued for another few hours to tell the rest of the story, and Across the Spider-Verse is 140 minutes long.
As for criticisms, I really only have one significant critique and that is the sound mixing.
Sometimes, it is hard to hear what the characters are saying when the music is so loud compared to the voices, and the characters are speaking so fast.
It was not a constant issue but it was noticeable in a couple of scenes.
Overall, though, Into the Spider-Verse is a fantastic sequel, with stellar animation and storytelling.
I would still say that I prefer the first movie, but that might be because the story of Across the Spider-Verse is incomplete.
When Beyond the Spider-Verse releases next year this may change.
One thing is for sure, though.
If they nail Beyond the Spider-Verse as well, then the Spider-Verse movies will be considered among the greatest trilogies of all time.