“Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse:” new mythos and action-packed storytelling for Miles Morales
“Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse,” the sequel to “Into The Spider-Verse,” is a film I went into with zero expectations. I was blown away by the stunning animation, no-bars-held storytelling and surprising emotional stakes. “Across The Spider-Verse” was one of my most anticipated films of this year and I am happy to say that not only did it fulfill my expectations — it exceeded them.
I have been a long time fan of the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, ever since I was a kid and I saw the Raimi Spider-Man movies (which I still think hold up; at least the first two, the third one has a lot of problems.) Much like Batman fans, Spider-Man fans have been spoiled with excellent adaptations such as the animated series “The Spectacular Spider-Man,” the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man films, and the Insomniac-produced Spider-Man video game from 2018. This is not to mention the Miles Morales game from the same company. But “Into The Spider-Verse” and now its sequel “Across The Spider-Verse” might be some of the best Spidey films that have ever been put to film, and “Across The Spider-Verse” might be my favorite film this year — at least so far.
“Across The Spider-Verse” is a feast of the imagination, both in its animation and in its storytelling. The animation is gorgeous, fluid, and bursting with life and with character. There were so many moments where my jaw dropped due to the sheer scope and breadth of the animation and how it lit my imagination on fire. It showcased to me that this film will be setting a standard, not only for superhero storytelling but also for animated films for the future. Some of the animation that I saw was a class of its own, though it had echoes from shows such as “Love, Death, & Robots.”
Along with the spectacular animation, there is also the excellent storytelling and voice acting from a star studded cast that includes returning players such as Oscar Isaac, Hailee Steinfield, Jake Johnson, Bryan Tyree Henry, and Shemeik Moore, while also introducing new cast members such as Daniel Kaluya, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, and Karan Soni. All of them bring their own unique charm to their universe, while also never straying from the spirit of who Spider-Man is. I was most impressed with Oscar Isaac coming back and turning his character, Spider-Man 2099, from a character who was a part of a joke into an absolutely terrifying character. He’s menacing and threatening, but there’s also a tenderness which makes us feel sorry for him.
As for the storytelling, “Across The Spider-Verse” is also revelatory because of the way that it plays with the Spider-Man mythos and takes it into an entirely new direction. The story becomes a meta-commentary on the Spider-Man story itself and how the story of Spider-Man should go. It gives new depth to the Spider-Man mythos and forces many of our characters to make difficult choices that will come to haunt them as the film goes along. It is incredible to think that this film packed as much depth as they managed to pack into this movie. I suppose that it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise since the first film had so much to offer in terms of its animation and storytelling.
I think it is safe to say that Spider-Man fans are continuing to feast well since the new Insomniac Spider-Man game is coming out in October. I only hope that Spider-Man fans will have even more content to enjoy in the near future.