Movie Review: ‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse’

Review by Lauryn Angel

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is one of those sequels that manages to be better than the original, living up to the hype and artistry of Into the Spider-Verse and surpassing it. It is quite simply the best animated movie I’ve ever seen, and it has a great story and acting to boot. There’s so much going on in this movie that I know when I see it again (and I will), I will pick up on details I missed completely the first time. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, it’s not a short movie, yet the time flew by, and I was ready for more when the movie ended on a cliffhanger. (The third in the trilogy, Beyond the Spider-Verse, is set for a March 2024 release.)

The movie opens with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) in her home universe, and we see her Peter Parker (Jack Quaid) and his untimely end, for which her father George (Shea Willingham) blames Spider-Gwen. Gwen is struggling with whether or not to share her identity with her father, possibly alienating him forever, and she misses Miles, whom she knows she will never see again. When she shows up to fight the Vulture (Jorma Tacone), she gets a lot more than she was expecting, as Spider-Woman (Issa Rae) and Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac) join the fight, introducing Gwen to the Spider Society, a group of Spidey variants who team up to fix errors in the multiverse.

Back in his Brooklyn, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is dealing with similar issues. He’s trying to balance the normal pressures of high school and family life with his role as the “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” and the stress is taking its toll. He’s also struggling with whether to reveal his alter ego to his parents (Luna Lauren Velez and Brian Tyree Henry), and he misses Gwen. But his problems reach their peak when a “villain of the week” calling himself The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) turns out to be a little more than Miles gave him credit for, ultimately creating portals to other spots in the multiverse.

Cue the Spider Society, who originally sends Spider-Gwen to handle the problems in Miles’s universe. Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) returns as part of the Spider Society, and we’re introduced to a number of new Spider variants, including my favorite: Hobie Brown, Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya). The Spider Society, mostly in the form of Spider-Man 2099, create a whole new set of problems for Miles. Miles struggles with the “rule” of heroism as presented by the Spider Society’s leader, questioning what it means to be a hero and refusing to accept the idea of fixed events across a multi-verse.

The animation, story, and acting are all top-notch, culminating in an exhilarating experience. The ten-year-old sitting next to me was enraptured for the entire film, and when it ended in a cliffhanger, said, “That’s it?! No!” And while I knew there would be a third film and expected an abrupt ending, I have to agree. March 2024 and Beyond the Spider-Verse can’t get here soon enough!

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