Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was already a masterpiece in its own right. Many of us wondered if Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse could equal it. Not only did it equal it, but in many ways, it surpassed the original. Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson (in their feature directorial debuts) brought so many things that made the first movie good and built upon the formula.
The story is set a little more after a year of the original movie, Miles Morales has established himself as the Spider-Man of his particular universe. He is still trying to juggle his school / super hero balance while maintaining his family bonds. When Gwen Stacy shows up to check on him, she disrupts his life in more ways than one.
Visually, this movie is heads and shoulders above the original in so many ways. While every movie in the superhero genre seeks to breathe life into every character that has ever been on screen, this movie more than the last, feels like you are watching a comic book in motion. The animation is still very unique to this movie and you can see that a lot of care was taken to find that animated comic book feel. There are subtle changes in every universe you visit, when a mood changes, the colors correspond to that change, even certain characters are animated differently than others. There was a lot to keep up with and at times it was overwhelming. If you are a big Spider-Man aficionado you will spot so many Easter eggs at a breakneck pace that it will take several viewings just to take it all in and it’s all surrounded by a great story.
The movie has a great balance in telling the story of how Miles and Gwen have to make hard choices of who they let into their world and coping with those choices. We have seen these types of stories before and thankfully it’s told very well here. Throughout the movie, we have many intimate moments of reflection and introspection. Many times, we see the epitome of “great power, great responsibility” on display and it delivers. The plotline itself hinges on a supervillain tinkering with the multiverse in which each universe has a spider-person who watches over it. There are certain things that are destined to happen and one slight change causes that whole universe to crumble. If you are a spider-fan, you know all of the key events in which shapes these universes and you will be on the lookout for them.
The action sequences are just on another level and as a viewer, one can sense that that the slightest misstep changes the whole universe. Talk about butterfly effect times 1000! Once it’s understood what’s at stake with the multiverse of spider-people, one will feel more vested in what happens next. It all will make you laugh gasp and nearly cry and sometimes, simultaneously.
Of course, one can’t talk about the movie without talking about the voice actors that brought this movie to life. Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld reprise their roles as Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy. Brian Tyree Henry (who has done several characters in DC and marvel movies!) and Luna Lauren Vélez reprise their roles as Miles’ parents. Issa Rae as Jessica Drew and Oscar Isaac are the newest additions as Jessica Drew and Miguel O’Hara. But my favorite had to be Daniel Kaluuya as Hobie Brown aka Spider-Punk. Kudos also to Andy Samberg who voices the Scarlet Spider bringing in great comic relief.
For anyone that cosplays like I do, feel good in knowing that if you thought that there were a good number of Loki variants, in this movie there are a plethora of Spider variants to choose from for every walk of life. Superior Spider-Man makes an appearance, as well as Cyborg Spider-Woman, Takuya Yamashiro, Bombastic Bag-Man, Sun-Spider, Spider-Byte and way too many others.
As I stated before, this movie will require multiple viewings just to take it all in because visually it was a lot and there are nearly no missteps in this sequel. As a superhero fan and more importantly, a Spider-Man fan, it’s hard to miss this movie. I am still holding out hope that Miles Morales also makes an MCU appearance but I am more than content with these two movies until that happens.
Final Grade: A+