Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Movie Review: A glorious multiversal mess


Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse pushes the boundaries of what's possible in animation and superhero movies and sets the bar for both. It does multiverses better than Doctor Strange and has more heart than most superhero movies in the past few years.

It also has a lot of Spider-Men. And I mean a lot. Okay, maybe "a lot" doesn't begin to cover it. Across the Spider-Verse throws every possible permutation of the wall-crawler at you in cheeky cameos that span multiple mediums. From the insanity that is Peter Parkedcar (an actual Spider-Buggy) to cameos too amazing to spoil here, it's a comic book nerd's wet dream. Lost in this mess of webs is Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), our Afro-Latino Spider-Man who saved the world with the help of Spider-men and -women of different universes. When he's not pining for his multiversal muse Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), he's worrying about college applications, his place in the world, and dangerous enemies like The Spot (Jason Schwartzman). But when Gwen pops back into Miles' life and introduces him to a much wider Spider-Verse than he knows...

I could tell you more about the plot, but the art style grabs me by the throat and demands my attention. This movie is gorgeous. Every frame is literally a painting, with colors that fry your eyeballs and action scenes that are framed more for aesthetics than clarity. Across the Spider-Verse often assumes you have the same reflexes as the rest of the Spider-folk, with exciting action set pieces rendered so painfully frenetic that it's literally hard to keep up with what's happening on screen. At one point, three different characters with their own separate art styles battle it out in the Guggenheim, devolving into a jumbled mess of shapes and lines that one wonders why the movie has no seizure warning.

When it's not bombarding your vision with neon Kirby crackle every few minutes, Across the Spider-Verse treats you to some very compelling characters in the form of Miguel O'Hara (Oscar Isaac), the Spider-Man of 2099 who carries the responsibility of keeping the gossamer threads of the Spider-verse from unraveling. Just as Miles is learning about the burden of responsibility and the complexities of identity, Miguel has learned these lessons the hard way -- and you feel it in every scene he's in.

Hailee Steinfeld's Gwen Stacy was a considerable part of Into the Spider-Verse, but this time the spotlight lingers on her just a little bit more in terms of dramatic moments and even character development. Just as Thanos made Infinity War his movie, Gwen feels on equal footing with Miles in Across the Spider-Verse. Not complaining, as Gwen has grown to be the best part of these movies by a mile. Speaking of Miles, I can't wait to know how Miles Morales will set himself apart despite becoming the least interesting Spider-person in the room. And from the looks of the sudden cliffhanger ending (in case you're one of the many who forgot, this movie was announced as split into two parts), it seems I have to wait. And if the wait is killing me, you know you got yourself a good movie.

Spider-Man fans have been eating good. Since Into the Spider-Verse and No Way Home, the webslinger has been 2-for-2 in the box office these past few years. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse continues that trend as a shining addition to the Spider-Verse saga -- if your eyes can adjust quickly enough. Highly recommended!

Post a Comment