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Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse Review: A Spectacular Sequel

Jun 1, 2023

Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar®-winning Spider-Verse saga, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. But when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders and must redefine what it means to be a hero so he can save the people he loves most.Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Trailer:The Good:It goes without saying that the animation for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was a thing of pure beauty. I felt like I was caught up in a dream during the film as the colors would vibrate and sometimes feel like the subtle narrator of the story. There was a scene with Gwen Stacy and her dad that jumped off the screen given how the emotion in that moment correlated perfectly with the colors in the background. It felt like I was watching a live-action lava lamp.  Plus, Across the Spider-Verse never lets your eyes take a break because of the constant change in animation. I appreciated the times when the animation would clash styles in the same scene. Even if it may feel jarring (in a good way) it still kept me in a state of wonderment. Thanks to the animation, we got a chance to see some mind-bending action sequences that were a joy to watch.Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has some of the most intense action sequences of any comic book movie. Miles’ battle with the villain Spot was unexpectedly incredible to see. However, what really takes the cake is the ultimate Spider-Chase scene that was teased in the trailers. There was simply so much going on that I almost couldn’t keep up. Not only was there a lot going on but along the way the cameos were such a nice treat. Yes, there was some long-awaited fan service, but it felt both earned and satisfying.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.When it came to the writing, I thought the dialogue in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was superb. Many of the high-level concepts dealing with the multiverse were presented and explained in a way that felt easy to follow. At the same time, the stakes and sense of urgency in the story never felt lost among all of the fun and exciting things that were added along the way. The comedy in this movie landed almost every time. The back-and-forth banter and quick one-liners from many of the characters were utterly hilarious. I appreciated the movie finding a good balance between being dramatic and adding some levity.Speaking of which, the drama in this movie is pretty heavy and I give much of that credit to the voice-acting. Thanks to some great voice acting from both Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld. Both of them delivered great performances during some really emotional scenes in the film. Their voice-work perfectly lined up with the direction of the scenes and never made me think twice about their delivery. Oscar Isaac was really intimidating as Miguel O’Hara. He set out to play a no-nonsense Spider-Man, and he passed that test with flying colors.Jessica Drew (Issa Rae) and Miguel O’ Hara (Oscar Isaac) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animations’ SPIDER-MAN™: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse accomplished the difficult goal of capturing everything that encapsulates the essence of Spider-Man with the themes in this story. I was blown away at just how precisely this movie was able to exactly pinpoint what makes Spider-Man so endearing and relatable. Rather than simply relying on the low-hanging fruit of talking about great power and responsibility, this movie went even deeper. The theme of sacrifice and how it relates to the definition of Spider-Man was incredibly thought-provoking. Then, the film dives even deeper into the theme of self-identity and having the autonomy to be in charge of one’s own destiny. What makes these concepts so fascinating is that the movie finds a way in making them apply internally and externally for Miles. The fact that he has to juggle his personal issue right along with huge potentially world-ending issues makes you want to root for him all the more. I loved how his personal issues and the surrounding chaos carried the same weight. It made me want to keep watching to see how this hero will overcome the odds and grow as a person at the same time.I know it often gets tossed around, but this movie did a wonderful job of making representation truly matter. While it was briefly visited in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, this sequel did a proficient job of representing the diversity of Miles Morales. More specifically, this movie put his Latino heritage and culture at the forefront. I loved the fact that there was more Spanish included (although I would’ve liked a few subtitles). I could tell that this hit home for members of my own audience as every time a Spanish phrase or food or tradition was mentioned, cheers and cries of agreement were echoed. Even if I’m not from a Latino background, I can certainly recognize the impact for others who this resonated with on a deeper level.The Bad:There were only a couple of minor issues with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. As I mentioned before, the movie is incredibly fast-paced at times. When it came to either cameo appearances or captions on the screen, it was difficult to keep up with them at times.  Maybe this was a clever filmmaking tactic to entice audiences to rewatch the film (which I fully plan to do anyway). Nevertheless, it did get a little frustrating having the feeling that I may have missed something important because it came and went so fast.Another minor issue was the character of Spider-Punk played by Daniel Kaluuya. As much as I loved the writing for the character and the portrayal, I found it hard to understand him at times. I fully admit that this could be a sound mixing issue, or maybe the sound quality in my theater just wasn’t all that great. I’d hate to blame it on his English accent, or what sometimes sounded like mumbling, but either way, I know I’m going to have to turn on the subtitles when this hits VOD.Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) in Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animations’ SPIDER-MAN™: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE.One last minor issue was the inclusion of Gwen’s story in the movie. After reflecting on the film, it felt a bit overstuffed from a narrative perspective. That isn’t to say her story wasn’t important or compelling. I quite liked her story and her relationship with her father really him home. My issue is that Gwen’s story kind of co-opted Miles’ story unnecessarily. I think it would’ve been more effective to reference some of her issues. Then her character could follow up with a stand-alone movie. I think it did a bit of a disservice to Miles’s story and also to Gwen. She deserves her own story told rather than only getting a few minutes of time in someone else’s story.The Verdict:Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is an exceptional sequel that skyrockets its way into the conversation of the best comic book movie of all time. The animation in itself will undoubtedly place it as a front-runner for Best Animated movie at award shows. It’s a crowd-pleaser with a bit of everything for general audiences. Lord and Miller perfectly understood the assignment of what makes Spider-Man tick. They didn’t miss a beat of making Miles Morales a potential household name in the future.I also believe that this film raises the bar compared to previous Spider-Man movies. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse handles the multiverse stuff better than Doctor Strange 2: Multiverse of Madness. It also supersedes Spider-Man: No Way Home in terms of the level of fan service delivered. Watch this movie ASAP. There are some fun surprises in the film that you don’t want to be ruined by the internet. Also, the multiple cameos and references to previous movies will be enjoyed more in a communal experience in theaters. Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse is exactly why people go to the movies. It’s a movie that feels like an event and a show.  While it’s not necessary, I’d say it would be nice to refresh yourself by watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse before watching this sequel. You can catch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on Amazon Prime. There are no post-credit scenes at the end. Check it out in theaters June 2, 2023. Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. ThompsonWriter(s): Phil Lord & Christopher Miller and David CallahamStars: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, Jason Schwartzman, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Greta Lee, Rachel Dratch, Jorma Taccone, Shea Whigham, and Oscar IsaacSpider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse hits theaters June 2, 2023. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews for more reviews and contests. You can follow on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more! Spider-Man Across The Spider-Verse Review: A Spectacular Sequel Acting – 8/10 Cinematography/Visual Effects – 8/10 Plot/Screenplay – 8/10 Setting/Theme – 10/10 Watchability – 10/10 Rewatchability – 10/10

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