Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review
Across the Spider-Verse delivers a visually stunning, action-packed ride that builds upon and exceeds its predecessor in every way, my spoiler-free review.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is an amazing cinematic accomplishment that breaks new ground in both animation and storytelling. I'm a big fan of the original movie, 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse but I wasn't sure how a sequel could introduce the same visual "wow" factor. Fast forward to 2023 and Across the Spider-Verse has found a way through sheer creative willpower to not only equal but exceed its predecessor. The latest adventure brings completely new ideas and energy into the superhero film genre. Let's dive deep into the Spider-Verse with my spoiler-free review of one of the best action films ever made.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Details
Movie Title: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Release date: June 2nd, 2023
Director(s): Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Actor(s): Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Oscar Isaac and more.
Running time: 140 minutes
Genre: Animated Film
Content Rating: PG - Parental guidance is advised
The (spoiler-free) Spider-Verse story so far...
The film follows the story of Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) a young teenager from Brooklyn through a twist of fate, gains spider powers and inter-dimensionally crosses paths with multiple "Spider-People" from alternate realities. They must work together to save their respective universes as they "glitch" together and become unstable. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse expands upon the intriguing ideas introduced in the first film, offering an exhilarating, adventure through the multiverse. We follow Morales as he navigates being the only Spider-Man in his universe as he forms unexpected alliances with a diverse ensemble of "Spider-People" from various alternate realities.
The premise might seem a little complicated at first blush, but the film masterfully balances action-packed sequences, witty humour, and heartfelt moments that make Across The Spider-Verse truly unforgettable. The intricate storytelling refuses to be constrained by traditional comic book movie tropes (in fact has a lot of fun poking at them), delivering one surprise after another that kept me enthralled throughout.
Across the Spider-Verse Cast and Direction
The phenomenal cast and direction of Across the Spider-Verse elevate the film to new heights. Boasting an ensemble of incredibly talented voice actors, including Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, and Jake Johnson, among others, the characters come alive with distinct personalities and emotional depth that had you rooting for them right away. One of my personal favourites is Spider-Punk masterfully portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya. Kaluuya doubles down on the Sex Pistols era, anti-establishment anarchist Spidey, Hobart "Hobie" Brown. Hobie bleeds cool and offers some of the film's best one-liners and ultimate "good guy" moments. On the opposite side of the spectrum with a more serious, dark tone is Oscar Isaac's portrayal of Spider-Man 2099. His motivations feel incredibly real, making him a truly compelling character and helping to bring the intricate web of storytelling together in a satisfying manner.
The film is directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson who bring an unmatched level of cinematic energy. More serious and sombre moments are broken up with very well-placed one-liners or incredibly choreographed action sequences. The team expertly weaves together the various plotlines and visual styles to create a cohesive and incredible experience. This latest installment in the Spider-Verse saga is not only a visual and auditory treat but also a testament to the power of innovative storytelling and dynamic character development. Their visionary approach to the film's cinematography and direction pushes the boundaries of what is possible in animation, it results in a breathtaking spectacle that not only pays homage to the source material but also carves its unique path in the superhero genre.
The incredible sights and sounds of the Spider-Verse
Across the Spider-Verse is a visually and audibly stunning work of art. It seamlessly blends hand-drawn elements, 3D animation, and a multitude of other techniques, this film creates a visual feast that it captivating from the outset. My screening was in an IMAX theatre, and I must say do this film justice and see it in this format if you can. The animation is next level, with visuals that exceed anything we've ever seen before in an animated feature film. The blend of all these different art styles should clash, but with the multi-verse premise the art direction doubles down on this and leaves you excited to see where it goes next. The animation is gorgeous, seamlessly transitioning between different art styles in each universe with perfect precision while retaining a cohesive aesthetic from the 2018 film.
The sound design is equally as impressive, featuring a mix of hip-hop songs, orchestrated scores, and original pieces from Daniel Pemberton that elevate the action on screen to another level. The iconic record scratch is there mixed with classical instruments preserving and expanding upon the sound profiles from the first film. Each score has different styles to match the tone of each universe and provide an immersive experience. The soundtrack blends together jazz, hip-hop, rock and electronic music that gives Across the Spider-Verse's scenes an elevated level of energy. Overall, it is an auditory feast for both superhero fanatics and casual viewers alike.
Easter eggs and cameos galore (spoiler free)
Across the Spider-Verse is a treasure trove of Easter eggs and cameos that pay incredible homage to the rich history and vast universe of Spider-Man. Both casual viewers and die-hard fans will delight in discovering subtle nods to classic comic book storylines, iconic villains, and alternate versions of web-slinging heroes. The film's creators have meticulously woven these references into the narrative, adding depth to the story while also rewarding keen-eyed audience members with delightful surprises. This attention to detail not only demonstrates a deep respect for the source material but also enhances the overall film. As a big Spider-Man fan a lot of what I saw felt like a grand masterplan for the entire franchise from decades ago to now all was intricately connected for a deeper purpose. By embracing the diverse and complex world of Spider-Man, Across the Spider-Verse creates an immersive and interconnected multiverse that will resonate with fans and newcomers alike.
Final Thoughts on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is an incredible cinematic experience that I cannot recommend enough. It's a revolutionary feat for animation and storytelling that builds upon the original in every way. A thrilling story, strong performances, and incredible art direction offers an exhilarating take on the superhero genre. It is a must-see film for fans of the Spider-Man franchise and a testament to the endless possibilities of creative storytelling in animation. With its unique blend of styles and stories, it's the best Spidey movie yet, and easily one of the best superhero films of all time.
Overall, HIGHLY RECOMMEND
Special thanks to Sony Pictures for the advance screening of the film for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!
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