A well-weaved web
Review: Spider-Man Across The Spider-Verse
Following on from 2018’s acclaimed Into The Spider-Verse was always going to be a hard task, but five years later, Insights is happy to say that the film’s follow up eclipses the first film.
The film sees Spider-Man/Miles Morales called back into an adventure involving his friends and fellow Spider people from other dimensions, Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man/Peter B. Parker. At the core of this is one of Miles’ own enemies, whose activities are threatening the space-time continuum itself.
Spider-Verse’s script is every bit as clever as its predecessor’s. The film is constantly moving, with the perfect mix of action and exposition. The humour from the first entry remains, and avoids much of the cliched approach that has plagued too many superhero films as of late.
Delivering all of this are some of the most spectacular visuals we are likely to see this year. The signature animation style from Into The Spider-Verse returns and the creative team fit a number of surprising images in (Insights will refrain from spoiling those here, they are worth waiting for).
At the core of the film is the church concept of canon, that is, which events count as key parts of a story. In the film, Miles has to ultimately decide whether or not he can intervene to stop a key event from happening that is supposedly meant to take place. Ethical decision making and determining whether or not unpopular options are worth choosing are themes that come up a lot here.
Spider-Verse’s creative team managed to fit most Spider-Man characters in film. Through cameos, small roles, and background shots, we see a whole range of the obscure, bizarre, and entertaining spin offs from over the years. Long-time fans will enjoy the passing nods to certain characters and in-jokes and the film also includes some surprise actor cameos. Everyone is featured, from Spider-Punk to Spider-Man 2099 . Virtually all Spider-Man films are featured in some way, including spliced-in scenes from the live action films.
Complaints are few, but Spider-Verse is perhaps guilty of cramming too much into its runtime, making it a sometimes overwhelming film. Parents are warned that, as with the first film, there are some scary scenes (including in the film’s opening).
As a head’s up, this film is the first in a two part story (The next film, Beyond The Spider-Verse, releases in March 2024). There is no post-credits scene.
Across the Spider-Verse is now playing in cinemas.