Miles Morales is back for the follow-up to the Oscar winning animated movie Into the Spider-Verse from 2018 with the brand new, part one, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Miles (Shameik Moore) is trying to balance his life at college with his responsibilities of being Brooklyn’s only Spider-Man, but his continued lying to his parents (Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Valez).
Meanwhile, Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) was having many other problems in her own world with her police captain father, Captain George Stacy (Shea Whigham), who is trying to arrest her Spider-Woman persona. When a different era Vulture arrived in her world, several other spider-people, led by Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaacs) came to try to capture him. Gwen was impressive in aiding Miguel and Jessica Drew (Issa Rae) so she was brought into the multiversal group designed to protect the Spider-Verse.
Miles and Gwen are a great pairing, with a ton of chemistry together. They work so well together because they have so much in common. Both of them are lonely, lacking someone they can rely on, to confide in. The Spider-Gwen costume, which was created in the comics, looks absolutely amazing in this animation. It is one of the best designs of the past decade in comics, which is a huge reason why Spider-Gwen became such a breakout character.
However, there are other awesome breakout characters in this movie. We meet Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya) who steals nearly every scene he is in. There is also Spider-Man India, named Pavitr Prabhakar (Karan Soni) who is a fabulous character design.
Of course, Miguel O’Hara makes a brilliant antagonist (of a sort) as the heroic Spider-Man 2099. Miguel was always trying to do what was best for the Spider-Verse, even if he had to do some things that he did not want to do. His character was not the quippy type as most Spider-men were. There is an anger inside of him spurred on by his own inane responsibility. I have a feeling that we will be diving into more of his story in part two, which comes out next March.
Of course, you cannot have a review of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse without commenting on the animation styles that are so varied and absolutely special. The animation on display in this movie is beyond anything I have ever seen. It is a work of art, with every frame a potential poster to be framed on the wall. Not only is the animation brilliantly conceived, each character has their own, distinct art style. It was said that the film brought artists from these characters’ comic runs in to consult on how the animation should work, and that level of dedication created something truly unique and utterly bombastic to watch. There were several times when I just stared at the screen in complete awe of the artistry on display. The animation of Into the Spider-Verse was Oscar worthy and this animation elevated that even more.
The score of the movie was perfectly placed, with the amazing music amplifying every scene. Composer Daniel Pemberton brought together the eclectic soundtrack for this picture.
There were a ton of cameos and Easter eggs in the movie. In fact, there were just too many to even be able to see. As John Locke, one of my favorite characters from the TV show LOST, said in season two, “We’re gonna need to watch that again.” This movie feels as if it demands a rewatch just to try and see everything that is there.
The story was complex, but it does a great job of laying out the idea of the multiverse and the Spider-Verse proper. You can see the ties to the greater MCU in this movie too, allowing the potential connection to the MCU. The story could have become convoluted, but it did not because it grounded it with Miles and Gwen. At the heart of this story was parents and their children.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is filled with surprises, amazing action, some of the most breath-takingly beautiful and visually unique animation ever on screen and a compelling story that shows just how important Miles Morales is. There is so much awesomeness in this movie, I have not even mentioned the return of Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) and his baby daughter May.
The end of this movie is a HUGE cliffhanger, yet it did not leave me feeling as if the movie shorted me on the story as films such as Fast X did. The end of this, almost 2 hour and 20 minute movie, only left me wanting more. Next March cannot get here soon enough. This is the best movie of the year so far.