The wait is finally over, and the long-anticipated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel is here! Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse picks up where its predecessor left off in spectacular Spidey-Style. It is dazzling, colorful, action-packed, hilarious, and everything we wanted from the follow-up to one of the greatest animated movies of all time. While it does have its flaws, the latest cinematic installment for the web-swinging superheroes shows exactly why Spider-Man is so great.
Miles Morales has had a hell of a few years. His Oscar-winning 2018 animated film (Into the Spider-Verse) is considered one of the best animated films ever. He also appeared in his own game, Spider-Man: Miles Morales, in 2020, which received critical acclaim. A perennial fan-favorite character, Miles has shot into the mainstream and never looked back. In his new film, Miles has been Spider-Man for sixteen months and is trying to find a balance between his personal life and fighting crime. He exudes brand-new confidence as he is really coming to his own as Spider-Man. Shameik Moore absolutely crushes it again as Miles and delivers a heartfelt, authentic, and well-balanced performance.
Sequels are always risky business, and even the Spider-Man film franchise has seen its share of disappointing follow-ups. Fortunately, that is Far From Home here (see what I did there😉). Across The Spider-Verse does everything a sequel should do. It expands the world and its characters, raises the stakes in almost every way, and beautifully echoes the themes of the first film. Not only that, but the film evolves its tone and becomes a lot darker than expected. I would dare to say that this is the Empire Strikes Back of the Spider-Verse films.
It’s hard to find anything I didn’t like in the film, but one thing that did annoy me was the sheer amount of easter eggs and references to other Spider-Man media. Not because it was bad but because I couldn’t keep up! You’ll need a Spider-Sense to catch every easter egg in the movie, but it’s a great reason to be excited for when the film hits digital to be able to pause and try to spot everything. Some are right in your face, and some are hard to spot or really specific, but none that aren’t filled with a love for true believers everywhere.
Now, on to the heavy stuff. The story in Across The Spider-Verse is one of the darker Spider-Man stories. It mainly focuses on the consequences and responsibilities of being Spider-Man. Every Spider-Man story is told with heartbreak involved at some point. Whether it’s Uncle Ben, Aunt May, Gwen Stacy, or Harry Osborn, Spider-Man’s story is one of sacrifice. It’s where its storytelling is at its most compelling. A hero who never gives up and honors his sacrifices. It’s hard to talk about without ruining the movie, but sacrifice and responsibility are core themes that make this movie emotionally stronger than most other superhero movies ever get near.
I could talk all day about how amazing this film is, but it isn’t all good. For one thing, it’s long as hell! At 140 minutes, it is officially the longest studio animated film in the western hemisphere. This isn’t an issue for a film that is so good, but certain moments dragged on a bit, especially the oddly lengthy opening sequences. Some characters did feel a little underdeveloped, specifically Miguel O’Hara / Spider-Man 2099. His setup and introduction were great, and he was a beast from his first minute to his last, but it felt like we never went anywhere with him from there. With a character as multifaceted as Miguel O’Hara and an incredible talent in Oscar Isaac voicing him, it felt like they could have done more with his story. The major threat also felt a little unused, but to be fair, this is a film very much designed to set up the third film, Beyond The Spider-Verse (set for release in March next year). In fact, a lot of the film felt like it was setting things up for the next installment, which was a little frustrating, but I can’t lie; I am excited as hell to see what happens next, so I guess it worked.
All in all, Across The Spider-Verse, is a spectacle and should certainly be experienced in a theater. Sony Pictures Animation continues to be masters of the animation craft, creating different animation styles for each universe visited on top of beautifully constructed action sequences that make every scene gorgeous to look at and thrilling to watch. Returning characters Spider-Gwen (played by Hailee Steinfeld) and Peter B. Parker (played by Jake Johnson) add to the fun and nail their performances yet again. The film is an absolute blast and sure to be one of the biggest of the year. While it isn’t as impactful as the first film, it certainly is everything a sequel should be.
What did you think of the movie? Is it everything you were hoping for? And what easter eggs did you find? Let us know down below and on our socials.