Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse is what every Marvel movie should be. The latest Spider-Man has been billed as unique, but this is something else– a superhero flick whose characters have personality and dramatic heft, filled with wonderful visuals and wondrous exploits laced with brazen originality. Our Spidey senses never stopped tingling.
Energized by a thrilling pop-art style, the sequel to Into the Spiderverse showcases a vast inventiveness that makes it stand out amidst the crop of recent Marvel entries. Comparing this to Ant Man is akin to comparing a Pollack to a finger painting or a Michelin-star meal to a pile of dog food. It’s a film that takes the genre to new heights, thanks to a trio of directors (Kemp Powers, Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson) and a pair of writers (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller) who realize that with great power comes great responsibility–and with worthy sequels comes the need to push the boundaries even further.
If the Oscar-winning Into the Spiderverse was the first time audiences were blown away by a multiverse, Across the Spiderverse pretty much says, “hold my beer.” Every environment has been created with the utmost attention to detail, building on the look that made the first one a hit. The series picks up in our own universe, as Miles (Shameik Moore) struggles with having a superpower while also dealing with school and family. He’s been grounded by his parents when he meets up with his friend from another world, Gwen (Hailee Steinfield). When they swing through New York, she tells him about her new job working for a team of Spider-Men who keep the galaxy safe.
Led by a man from the future (Oscar Isaac), these heroes are put to the test when a villain named The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) creates a rift in the multiverse. It makes for a very confusing yet entertaining joyride through a bunch of dimensions and art movements as cinematic aesthetics, from avant garde to graffiti, the Renaissance to Abstract Expressionism. When it’s all clicking, it’s utterly magnificent, as when Miles enters a world that looks like a British rock magazine by way of a vintage newspaper.
Each universe has a different vibe, and while Miles’ is on the normal side, Gwen’s is a maze of surprises, standouts and seriously cool designs that make your eyes pop from the splendor. Her world is a watercolor come to life, with hues dripping down the walls like paint running down a piece of paper. Miles is still a kid from Earth, but he’s mastered the whole planet-hopping thing, and it’s a treat to watch him move across these planes with ease. We like to watch him work, and Across the Spiderverse is a chance to see him save the day, the world and possibly even the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At least until the trilogy ends in 2024.
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