Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Movie Review | A True Spectacle of a Sequel

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the sequel to 2019's best animated movie at the Academy Awards, and it easily lived up to the hype.

Four years after meeting our hip, yet slightly awkward teenage protagonist, Miles Morales, it’s about time our paths crossed once more. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the much-awaited sequel to 2019’s best animated movie at the Academy Awards, and it most definitely live up to the hype its built up since its announcement.

In a time when anything superhero in a theatrical sense was dominated by the MCU, Into The Spider-Verse was quite the dark horse. While starring one of Marvel’s legendary superstars, we were getting someone new–Miles Morales.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse picks up some time after his inter-universal misadventure with Gwen Stacy and the rest of the Spidey supergroup. We already knew it would be good. We just didn’t figure how mind-blowingly epic it would be.

Spectacular Storytelling

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and his mother Rio (Luna Lauren Velez) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.

We pick things up some time after the first film, being shown how much has changed since–and just how much Miles misses the events of the first film. We also get a good look at Miles’ home life this time around, and there’s less time on campus. This makes sense as there’s an entire Spider-Verse to explore, after all. The moments Miles shared with his family were relatable, hilarious, and heartwarming.

Now, getting a glimpse of other worlds and other versions of Spider-Man isn’t exactly a new concept. But, the key here is the execution. Across the Spider-Verse not only surprises you with easter eggs and “blink and you’ll miss it’ moments, but it also fleshes things out when it has to, giving us a long enough look, and effectively transitioning to the next story beat–unlike some other maddening multiverses out there.

It was great to see how this film was able to weave in multiple canons of lore into the story and somehow make sense of it all. The way they handled the multiverse concept is by no means grand. It’s actually pretty simple, and it was fun to see it explained.

In terms of pacing, the storytelling is just as fast as the action. This 140-minute film went by quicker than my mind could process the intricacies of the already fast-moving story.

Miles Apart

Spider-Man (Shameik Moore) and Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.

Yes, we were guaranteed quite the scope in Across the Spider-Verse, and don’t worry–it delivers. That being said, this is still the Miles Morales and Gwen “Spider-Woman” Stacy show, and we all get to see how it progresses. Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld killed it–again. I sometimes forget that Gwen Stacy is also Kate Bishop and that girl from Bumblebee.

Gwen also gets a bit more screen-time, and a bit more exposition on her origin. The others, to a lesser extent. However, their introductions were proper enough that you wouldn’t forget them by the end. In a film that looks to cover that many characters, not getting lost in the shuffle is the best case scenario.

Amidst the cavalcade of Spider-Peeps, we finally get to see a bit more of Oscar Isaac’s Miguel O’ Hara, better known as Spider-Man 2099. We did get a brief, goofy glimpse of him in the previous post-credit scene, and it was nice to know a bit more about him this time. Peter Parker is here, too. Once again, Jack Johnson brings a great balance of comedic himbo and heartfelt mentor figure in all of his scenes.

An absolute feast for the eyes

Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac), Jessica Drew (Issa Rae) with Ben Reilly coming through a portal in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animations’ SPIDER-MAN™: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.

Hopefully, I won’t be alone in dying on this hill, but the aesthetics, animation, and overall art style of this movie deserve a section of its own. So, here we are.

I’ll do my best to be as vague, yet detailed in describing the beauty in how they introduced the various universes–and still gave Miles’ Brooklyn backyard the care it deserved. Each Spider-Man universe has its own art style–and since I’m no art major, I won’t elaborate any further.

The art style used for each setting matches the resident Spider-Man to a T. Whether it’s geographic, being a product of its time, or the overall feeling that the resident character exudes, the way it’s portrayed is just perfect. Chef’s kiss.

It’s well established that the first movie made great use of color, both in making sure the characters and settings come to life, and adding more of an emotional impact to each scene. It’s safe to say that Across the Spider-Verse cranks that up to 11. It’s something you need to see for yourselves. My lack of art skills and words to describe it won’t do the movie justice.

The Complete Spider-Package

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) take on The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s SPIDER-MAN™: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.

Yes, you get beautiful, overly stylized aesthetics that create a stunning visual spectacle that carries on throughout the film’s more than two-hour length. It’s great, it’s grand, but it’s not the only thing that makes Across the Spider-Verse great. Thought, I will admit it’s like, 80% of the reason–but I can be biased.

The other elements of this film are equally strong. The story’s writing and pacing, the witty, yet realistic dialogue, the impeccable sound design, and the wonderful musical score all help carry this film, head and shoulders above most of its Spider-Man counterparts. I’d dare say it straight-up trashes most of the MCU’s Phase 4.

Being a straight sequel, demanding character development from Miles and Gwen would be unfair. Delving deeper into their backstories or expounding on current struggles is the best approach, and I’m sure glad they took that route. If I were to characterize the introduction of the multiple universes as worldbuilding, then that area’s pretty much covered as well.

From my end, there was arguably less buzz in the weeks leading to Across the Spider-Verse’s showing, which is a shame. This deserves way more attention than most movies that came out in the past few months. Now, I just hope everyone gets to see just how great this new installment into the Spidey franchise truly is.

Final Verdict

Spider-Man/Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animations’ SPIDER-MAN™: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.

Just watch it. No, really.

If you experience Into the Spider-Verse, then you’d be all caught up and can just dive in headfirst. If you loved it, you just might love this one even more. Lord knows I did.

If you haven’t seen the first film, but have a cursory knowledge of anything Spider-Man, you can still appreciate how this movie turned out. Like I said, the art style and animation are breathtakingly good, and as a film that were to stand on its own, it’s rock solid.

Now, if you don’t know anything about Spider-Man, Marvel, or anything about superheroes and don’t care to learn more, then I can’t help you. Also, why are you even here?

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now showing in cinemas in across the Philippines.