Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Sony Pictures Animation
Written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Dave Callaham
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson
Starring Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Bryan Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Jake Johnson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Schwatzman, Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, Karan Soni, Shea Whigham, Mahershala Ali, Amandla Stenberg, Greta Lee and Andy Samberg
Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar®-winning Spider-Verse saga, Spider-Man™: Across the Spider-Verse. After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters the Spider Society, a team of Spider-People charged with protecting the Multiverse’s very existence. But when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders and must set out on his own to save those he loves most. Anyone can wear the mask – it’s how you wear it that makes you a hero.
Miles Morales is back for another adventure and this one is bigger with bigger stakes and more characters, but manages to keep the story not only rooted in Miles, but gives other characters time and moments to shine as well. The first few minutes of the film actually focus on Gwen (Steinfeld) and her dilemma of living a double life as a hero while also dealing with the fact that she can’t reveal the truth to her father. When an opportunity to leave that turmoil arrives, she takes it in a moment of palpable tension. I really loved the opening sequences and how they showcase not only the intense action that will permeate the film, but the great emotional beats that the story allows its characters.
One of the themes that has always defined Spider-Man as a character is the responsibility of being a hero coming into focus through the loss of someone close that hero and this film unfolds along those same lines for Miles. What makes this movie so unique and engaging as a Spider-Man fan is that the film finally asks the question; Does this have to be or can you change your fate? Comic book fans have been comparing Miles’ journey to Peter Parker’s for years and this film does an amazing job of showing Miles as his own unique character. A character who the normal conventions of being Spider-Man do not apply and that lays at the heart of the conflict of the film.
The voice cast is fantastic. Moore’s characterization of Miles shows a growing maturity in the character while also showing the hard emotions of growing up. Miles wants to be the best hero and son he can be and that conflict adds to not only his personal drama, but the bigger plot as well. His relationship with Gwen continues to be sweet and engaging while he also marvels at the bigger world and multiverse before him. His conflict with Oscar Isaac’s Miguel O’Hara has great emotional intensity that also showcases one of my favorite moments in the film as O’Hara lays out some harsh truth that Miles has to face.
The supporting cast is brilliant. Every character is given their moment to shine and Daniel Kaluuya’s Hobie Brown aka Spider-Punk is a true standout that I would love to see featured in his own movie at some point. I also really loved the introduction of Issa Rae’s Jessica Drew. Her introduction on the screen gave me the same reaction Gwen had to seeing her for the first time. Another standout was Karan Soni’s Pavitr Prabhakar and how his journey and outlook connect to both Miles and the rest of the story.
Across the Spider-Verse is a visual masterpiece as well as an awesome story. The visual style of this film blew me away with every frame. The action is intense and vibrant throughout. The character designs are amazing and the shifts in visual style are perfectly executed to give a unique experience for the viewer.
There are some great themes throughout the story including the importance of family, how secrets can lead to bigger problems and whether or not we are slaves to our destiny or have the ability to change it. Across the Spider-Verse tackles these themes with humor, heart and blistering action that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Not only is it the perfect return for these characters and the introduction of new ones, but it sets up the audience for some intense anticipation for Miles’ next adventure.