Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023) Review

The Spider-Man Film For The Ages

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Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023)

Brutalist Review Style (Version 2)

With many delays around Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, let us not beat around the bush with pleasantries and get right into it!

Miles Morales is back to his Spider-Verse do-gooding as the Spider-Man of Brooklyn on Earth-1610. Following the high bar of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse went bolder and bigger! This Spidey animated film sequel shot Miles across the Spider-Verse this time around, where he meets a team of Spider-People called “the Spider-Society,” led by Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 (voiced by Oscar Isaac). Their sole objective is protecting the Spider-Verse, or what they coined “The Canon.” 

However, things were not as simple as a new villain emerged—The Spot. With Miles’ morals in conflict with the other Spider-People and The Spot, he learns to embrace who he is and what it means to be his own version of the Spider-Man title. Have you ever cried within the first ten minutes of a film? Because this one somehow managed to do that. 

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Switching it up, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse began with a fairly good retelling of the first film but from Gwen Stacy’s point of view. As a matter of fact, a solid portion of the start of the film highlighted some key moments in Gwen’s backstory we have never seen before. I was really surprised to see how masterfully this set the tone and storytelling for the rest of the film. I thought it was an brilliant way to change it up and not pick up back with Miles Morales immediately. It also gave Gwen a bigger focus with her own big fight scene to kick off the movie. 

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse went bolder and bigger!”

As for how the overall story lived up to the hype of the first film, this one went beyond anything my human eyes, brain and heart could handle. The 2 hours and 20 minutes were mentally taxing to me…but in the best way possible! It shredded my heart and made me tear up at all the speeches, monologues, and anytime deaths were mentioned. Take the meaning of “deaths” in how you will. 

The coming-of-age conflicts Miles and his family dealt with was a doozy on the heartstrings—warning that some moments may hit too close to home. The film also expanded more into Gwen’s relationship with her dad, Captain Stacy. And, of course, the teenage romance between Miles and Gwen continued to bud—like a delicate rose slowly coming into bloom on the precipice of young adulthood.

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But I think the best part of the storytelling aspect of this film was how much I did not know where this film was going to end. I kept thinking, “It’s going to end here, right? Right?” It was sort of like when Disney+’s The Book of Boba Fett was more or less The Mandalorian Season 2.5. I was thinking about how much more suspense we are building up to for the part two of this film. 

Of course, we already learned that the next part of this Spider-Man film series will be titled Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. All I will say about the final act of this film was the climactic cliffhanger moment was one of the best ones I have seen all year, or of all time—and I have seen what Fast X did. A close second or third best thing on the storytelling was the origin story for The Spot…let us just say, it all makes sense.

A big question many people may have been asking going into watching Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse: so, how will they take the animation to the next level, compared to the first film? Oh, Spidey friends! In case you did not know, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse takes place across six Spider-Verse dimensions, with over 240 characters and over 1,000 animators working on this film. This sort of puts this movie’s scale into the light, and I was shaken through my bones and vascular system. 

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The number of cameos made it impossible to catch them all, making this a rewatchable film. You could even play a drinking game with how much Sony logos and Insomniac Games easter eggs there were. Keep an eye on them!

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was like watching various comics come to life through a motion picture! Phil Lord and Christopher Miller must have gone through every art style in the book at this point. While I am not an art history major, I know that there are multiple art styles to distinguish the dimensions and the characters. I thought Daniel Kaluuya’s Hobart “Hobie” Brown/Spider-Punk was so visually outstanding among the other supremely, uniquely animated Spider-People—the U.K. representation was also a diverse breath of fresh air.

“Have you ever cried within the first ten minutes of a film? Because this one somehow managed to do that.”

On the topic of diversity, Karan Soni’s Pavitr Prabhakar/Spider-Man India, his Earth, and the city of “Mumbaihattan” was an awesome spectacle that left me smiling—in a similar way that Ms. Marvel handled its Pakistani roots for the show. The “chai tea” joke hit even harder on the big screen than the teaser. The architecture of the city was amazing, and I hope the next film goes even further by diversifying the styles of the Spider-Verse dimensions tailored to each Spider-Person. It was also great to get another strong female Spider-Person, with Issa Rae’s Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman chops—so jealous of her motorcycle.

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Some really thoughtful and surprisingly smart choices of using the animation medium that stuck out to me were how much comic book elements were utilized to boost the understanding of the story. It could be a little fast block of text at the corner of the screen, but it worked like subtitles to explain things the general audience may not understand—like when Spider-Punk used U.K. slang words. Love to see a good asterisk note of explanation in my comics.

“All I can say about Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is that it might be my top film of the year.”

The only nitpicky part about the film was the lack of subtitles during some sentences when characters spoke Spanish. I appreciate the natural flow of the conversations in their native tongues or second languages. Still, it would be nice for the whole audience to get that translation of what was said—especially if it is to land a joke. I guess they served as more inside jokes for the few people that understand the languages. 

All I can say about Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is that it might be my top film of the year. I think it is the most hyped I have been for a Marvel film in a long time. I think Sony/Marvel Entertainment has established themselves with this animated film series, and I can trust that the third film will exceed my expectations (see what I did there?).

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It begs the question of why the writers for this film could not also be working on the Venom films and Morbius. Regardless, this could easily be one of the best Spider-Man films of all time, being such an explosive sequel that ratcheted the stakes and emotions. There are not enough words to describe this film, I can even chalk this one up for an Oscar win for best-animated feature at the next awards ceremony.

Final Thoughts

Ridge Harripersad
Ridge Harripersad

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