SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER VERSE
June 2, 2023 / Sony Pictures Canada
Starring: Shameik Moore , Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Vélez, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Daniel Kaluuya, Oscar Isaac
Directed By: Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) returns for the next chapter of the animated Spider-Verse saga, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. After reuniting with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), 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.
Written By Darren
Rating 5 out 5
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a breathtaking animated masterpiece that delivers an exciting, emotional and wildly entertaining sequel that is everything that Spider-Man fans could want and more… and it’s only the first part of the truly epic story that is being spun in the film!
Back in 2018, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse truly upped the ante for animated films with an unique and refreshing film full of mind blowing animation and heart, giving audiences not only one of the best Spider-Man films to date at the time, but one of the most groundbreaking superhero films of this century. Now, almost five years later, the much anticipated sequel finally hits the big screen, and fans are not ready for what they are about to experience. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the first film in a two part sequel that is one of the most ambitious animated films I have ever seen, but one that will leave you speechless by the sheer brilliance of every aspect of the film, that is destined to be one of the best films of the year!
Over a year after saving the multiverse, Miles Morales has found a rhythm as his universe’s Spider-Man, even though he deeply misses Gwen, Peter B. Parker and all his fellow Spider-People friends. But when Gwen reappears in Miles’s universe, it sets into motion a series of events that launches Miles into a multiversal adventure where he meets numerous different Spider-People and experiences different universes. However, with a new threat emerging and infighting amongst the Spider-People on how to combat it, Miles must reassess what it means to be a hero as he faces an unimaginable decision.
Visually, you have never experienced a film like this before. Each universe in the film has a unique style of animation that defines it, rooting itself in a distinct artistic style based on that universe’s theme. And with characters appearing in multiple universes across the Spider-Verse, there is a clashing of animation styles in almost every scene. But instead of sticking out, the mixture of animation styles seamlessly blends together, creating an exhilarating work of art. Each shot is spellbinding, with stunning cinematography that allows the animators to work magic and paint a truly stunning film throughout, creating visual moments that you won’t ever forget. Once again, the animation mixes hand drawn designs with computer generated imagery to create a film that feels like you are watching a comic book come to life that leaps right off the pages. Needless to say, without even factoring in the film’s brilliant story and voice performances, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has already locked down the Academy Award for Best Animated Film due to its jaw-dropping animation alone.
Much like the first film, the sequel’s story is deeply rooted in the theme of what makes a hero a hero, digging deep into Miles's personal journey and the Spider-Man arc that audiences have seen play out over various iterations of the character. While the film features multiversal action and hundreds of different versions of Spider-Man, they never overshadow the story arcs of Miles and Gwen. The importance of family is at the core of the film, as Miles and Gwen both struggle with hiding their secret identity from their loved ones, while the loss that they are destined to experience as Spider-Man plays an integral part in their arcs. Even with the film only being half the story, it’s an epic adventure full of beautiful moments that will tug on your heartstrings, heartbreaking moments that will rock you to your core, and so many twists and turns that you won’t be able to wait until next spring to witness its conclusion. Because, the final twenty minutes of the film are guaranteed to have audiences collectively losing their minds, absolutely in shock as to what they are witnessing on screen as this film ventures where no Spider-Man film has gone before. And as the name promises, there are tons of fun cameos and iterations of Spider-Man that Miles meets on his journey, including some wild ones you won’t expect, but there is no doubt that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have saved the big ones for part two.
One of the best aspects of the first film was its incredible soundtrack, and while there are some good needle drops in the film, it is Daniel Pemberton’s musical score that musically steals the show. Playing with different instrumentations to represent each universe Miles experiences, Pemberton composes an extravagant musical score that injects the entire film with an electrifying energy that raises the emotion and excitement of every scene, helping to create an experience that engages audiences both visually and audibly. It’s everything you could want from a musical score, and truly lets Pemberton showcase his talents, as his musical genius too often goes by unnoticed as the majority of the films he scores are not massive hits, despite him never failing to create a magnificent score.
Helping to bring the film to life is an incredibly talented and perfect voice cast. Shameik Moore once again shines as Miles Morales, capturing the heart of a hero with his performance and bringing to life this amazing version of Spider-Man. Hailee Steinfeld shines as Gwen, delivering a scene stealing performance that allows her much emotional depth to explore her character with. It truly is a step up in the significance of her role from the first film, with Steinfeld proving that this was the role she was born to play, easily becoming my favourite character of the film. Jake Johnson once again is a great addition as Peter B. Parker, bringing his signature comedic talents to the role. At the same time, Johnson has some wonderful moments as Miles’s mentor trying to impart wisdom while balancing it with Peter’s struggle with the decision that our heroes must face in this film. And Oscar Isaac is brilliant as Miguel O’Hara, crafting a truly formidable character that leaves a lasting impression on the film, and I’m eagerly awaiting to see where he takes his character in the next film. The supporting cast is bursting with talent with the likes of Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Andy Samberg, Greta Lee, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Amandla Stenberg, Shea Whigham, Mahershala Ali and Jason Schwartzman, ensuring that every second of the film is packed with unforgettable voice performances.
Some audiences may complain about an oversaturation of superhero films, but Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is easily one of the greatest superhero films of all time. Never for a second playing it safe, but instead swinging for the skies with its ambitious, exciting and incredibly emotional story that is certain to leave fans speechless and unable to wait the ten months until the story concludes in next year’s Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. Truly magnificent in every way imaginable from the unforgettable, visually stunning, dynamic animation; the marvelous story that ranks among one of the great stories ever told in the superhero genre, and sensational voice performances from the entire cast but notably Hailee Steinfeld and Oscar Isaac, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the definition of a masterpiece that is certain to amaze both Spider-Man fans and general audiences alike!