Steven’s Review – “Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse”

“Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse” is the sequel to the highly-acclaimed 2018 smash hit, “Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse.” Building on the work done in the previous installment, the cast and crew have returned to deliver a follow-up that easily stands among the best film adaptations of Spider-Man to date.

Picking up sixteen months after the events of “Into the Spider-Verse” left off, the film follows Miles Morales (voice of Shameik Moore) as he tries to balance his day-to-day life with his duties as Spider-Man. In addition to returning heroes from the previous film, the movie also contains a host of new characters in the “Spider-Society.” Led by the enigmatic Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O’Hara (voice of Oscar Isaac); these include the Spider-Woman Jessica Drew (voice of Issa Rae) and the Spider-Punk Hobbie Brown (voice of Daniel Kaluuya, “Nope”). Over the course of a record 140 minutes (the longest to date for a Western animated film), Miles must find his place as his universe’s Spider-Man in order to stop the antagonistic Spot (voice of Jason Schwartzman).

The film features a wide array of incarnations of Spider-Man throughout the vast history of the character both onscreen and on the comics page. In addition to a multitude of the character’s previous incarnations on film and television making appearances, the Spider-Society contains comic book portrayals of the character spanning all the way back to the very first appearance in “Amazing Fantasy #15.” That also extends to the wall-crawler’s rogues gallery- without spoiling anything, the Spot is transformed from a joke villain from the comics and previous adaptations to one of the biggest threats faced in any Spider-Man film.

This sequel manages to take every aspect of animation, storytelling and characterization that made “Into the Spider-Verse” work; refining them and expanding on them in groundbreaking ways. The filmmakers have stated that this is the trilogy’s equivalent of “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” and the film delivers on that high benchmark of quality from its first shot to its final moments.

Overall, “Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse” is a spectacular and amazing sequel that ranks among not just the best “Spider-Man” films to date, it easily stands at peer with the first film as a masterpiece of animation. With “Beyond the Spider-Verse” set to conclude the trilogy in 2024, it’s an easy recommendation.

Starring the voices of Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, Karan Soni, Jake Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry and Jason Schwartzman

Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson and Kemp Powers

Rated PG

My Rating: *****/5

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