Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Review

Following up the arguably (or for me definitely) best Spider-Man movie, and to some even one of the best comic book movies ever, is a daunting task. 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse ushered in a new age of animation in cinema with its distinct style, which heavily influenced the approach other studios would later take with movies like Entergalactic and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Along with that, the movie told one of the most compelling Spider-Man stories ever to be put on screen. Yet, apparently the creators took a look at Into the Spider-Verse themselves, and said something along the lines of: “That seems a little tame”. So for the sequel, they went even crazier.

Artists at the top of their game

It took until about twenty minutes into the movie that I noticed that my mouth had been wide open, for who knows how long already. Even though the movie had only just gotten started, and I quickly came to realize that I should just stop trying to fight against the jaw dropping effect of the film. The amount of visual styles at display here is simply breathtaking, with every single frame clearly being the result of hard work and passion from the artists behind the movie. Also to be mentioned is the incredibly score by Daniel Pemberton, who crafted one of my favourite movie scores ever for this film.

Into the Spider-Verse did a very good job at incorporating multiple styles of animation into a single universe, with the presence characters like Peni Parker and Spider-Ham. Across the Spider-Verse decides to not only do that, but also to introduce us into multiple new dimensions with their own unique styles. There are a bunch of new universes here that are all visually distinct from each other, although some of them in more subtle ways than others. Gwen Stacy’s home universe stood out as a highlight during those sections of the film, but again, every universe brings something fresh to the experience that simply makes it a joy to look at.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
He really is this cool the whole time. (Image: Sony Pictures)

I mentioned it just now, but it’d feel wrong not to talk a little more about just how great the characters look in Across the Spider-Verse, especially when there are so many of them. In total there were 280 unique Spider-People created for this film, and while sure, not all of them appear all that prominently, the ones that do all feel unique. The definite stand-out is Hobie Brown, aka Spider-Punk, who probably has the most unconventional style in the whole movie, but he works so well (which isn’t surprising, they apparently spent 3 years working on him). Then there’s Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) whose differences to for example Miles and Gwen are more subtle. And I just have to mention Ben Reilly (Scarlet Spider), as his design does such a great job at conveying the feel of 90’s comic books. And these are but a few of the many spectacular designs that your eyes can feast on while watching the movie.

Another aspect of the first movie that isn’t lost in Across the Spider-Verse is how often it basically looks like a moving comic book. The little details just keep coming and it just adds so much to the charm of these films. Really, Across the Spider-Verse visually feels like the first movie, but has evolved into something that somehow tops the already gorgeous artistry of its predecessor.

Adding to the mythos of Spider-Man

The character of Spider-Man has been around for a very long time, and thus there are certain aspects of the characters that are simply baked into who he is. What makes Across the Spider-Verse so incredibly exciting is how it directly acknowledges a number of aspects of the character’s history, and builds a completely new story while still using said aspects. Due to this, Across the Spider-Verse is less of an adaptation, instead opting to add to that mythos. It’s nothing short of genius to me, and makes the movie so much more enjoyable for both die-hard Spider-Man fans as people that are less in tune with the webcrawler’s huge history.

Miles Morales is once again at the center of the story, but this time he shares the spotlight with Gwen Stacy quite a bit as well. Her role is a lot bigger than in the first movie, and the deep-dive we got into her emotional issues was a very pleasant surprise. It really made me love the character even more. Both her story and Miles’ are really about coming into your own, both as Spider-Man and as a person. The first film’s message was that anyone can be Spider-Man, and Across follows that up by telling us that it’s how you wear the mask that matters, and to always stand up for what you believe in. While there’s a lot to talk about with this story, I think it’s definitely best to engage with it on the movie’s terms. I wouldn’t be able to do it justice like this.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
(Image: Sony Pictures)

What I do still want to talk about are some of the characters. Because not only do their designs and styles of animation stand out, but their personalities really get to shine as well. Hobie Brown and Spider-Gwen were the biggest surprises to me, but I adored Pavitr Prabhakar (Spider-Man India) as well. There are some complaints to be had with Ben Reilly’s adaptation, ones that I definitely understand and think can be fleshed out a bit more, but considering he’s not in the movie for more than a few minutes, that being my biggest complaint just goes to show how solid this movie is. Now, Peter B. Parker. Boy do I have a lot to say about Peter B. Parker, but I’ll keep it brief (for now).

At the moment, it seems like the character of Spider-Man in comics is being overseen by a multiversal army of J. Jonah Jameson’s (even though the character himself actually respects him to some extent), all with an agenda to keep the immensely popular wallcrawler from genuinely developing as a character and growing up alongside the people that have been reading stories about him for years. Across the Spider-Verse’ portrayal of Peter has to be my favourite one at the moment. After the first movie he’s risen out of his depressive slump and he’s actually become so much more interesting because of it. His love for his daughter Mayday is incredibly endearing, but at his core he’s still the Spider-Man that we all know and love. Even though he’s not in this movie as much, he still stole every scene he was in for me.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
(Image: Sony Pictures)

The Spot and Miguel O’Hara both serve as incredible antagonists as well. For the first, I still find it so difficult to process that this really silly comicbook villain that gave me a few good laughs while reading his introduction could turn out to be this genuine menace of a villain, even though he basically disappears after a while. Spider-Man 2099 also has a really compelling thing going on, where his motivations are very understandable, but his actions speak to something hidden beneath all of that, which once again isn’t expended on.


Across the Spider-Verse is very much a Part One, but I really don’t see that as a bad thing. The movie connects many of the lines in this web already in this first half of the overall story, and leaves us with an incredibly exciting cliffhanger that, if followed up on well, could turn this trilogy of movies into today’s Original Trilogy of Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings. It could lead to one of the best film-trilogies of all time, but Across the Spider-Verse stands on itself perfectly. It is an achievement in every department, and a movie that I hope gets all the recognition it deserves.

Hi there, thanks for reading! If you liked it you can share it with one of the buttons above. I also have a newsletter now, which you can sign up for so you will get notified whenever I post something new. Alright, that’s it for now. May the Force be with you!

Subscribe now to receive site updates directly delivered to your inbox.

Click here if you want to unsubscribe

Posted by Dunke

An easily obsessed nerd with a particular fixation on Star Wars, comic-adjacent projects and fantasy. But honestly? Interested in anything. Always up to watch The Empire Strikes Back, or play some Undertale.