Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review – The Best Film of the Year

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse marks the tenth major Spider-Man film to hit cinemas since Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi first propelled the hero to the big-screen in 2002. That number goes up if you count films like Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. What is it exactly that makes the web-slinger Marvel’s most popular and bankable leading man?

Well, most importantly, he’s relatable. And Spider-Verse proves that relatability isn’t limited to just Peter Parker. Miles Morales is a Spider-Man for a new generation, and lucky for us, Across The Spider-Verse slings its way to the top of the web as one of the best Spider-Man films we’ve ever gotten.

The Plot

Miles Morales is just a typical teenager. Well, with one minor exception. He’s also Spider-Man and he’s saved the world from a multi-universal attack. Following the events of Into The Spider-Verse, the sequel picks up with Miles struggling to balance his normal life with that of being a superhero. It’s a struggle we’ve seen the web-slinger battle many times before. But when the multiverse finds its way back to Miles, the implications could be far more disastrous than anything he’d ever imagined.

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Also Read: Sony’s ‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse’ Breaks Rare Record

The Critique

Reaching ten solo-films is an impressive feat for any cinematic character. It’s a landmark typically reserved for horror icons like Jason Voorhees; however, achieving such a significant milestone as gracefully as Spider-Man has is nearly unheard of. Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man films weren’t initially received with a wave of praise, but those films have gone on to garner a significant boost in support with Garfield’s portrayal of the hero being hailed in particular.

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse carefully weaves the thread of telling a strong and poignant story while also delivering a powerful punch of nostalgia and fan-service. Make no doubt about it, there is plenty of fan-service and more Easter eggs than a comic fan could dream of; however, the story never suffers and the characters of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) remain front-and-center. Miles is still the star, but Gwen is given a significant share of the focus this time around.

The family dynamic has always been central to Spider-Man’s journey. Uncle Ben’s iconic delivery of, “With great power, comes great responsibility” acts as the launching point for Peter Parker’s transformation into the web-slinging hero. Across The Spider-Verse is all about relationships, exploring the toll that being a hero takes on the individual. Gwen — just like Miles and Peter — sacrifices the normality of a life she deserves in order to serve the greater purpose of being a hero. This isn’t a new concept, but its one that we haven’t seen explored this well since Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.

Into The Spider-Verse and Across The Spider-Verse are unique in a variety of ways. The first film’s animation style was hailed for its painterly aesthetic and imagery that closely mirrored that of a graphic-novel. The sequel takes this concept and advances it, using watercolor pallets to paint vibrant and engaging visuals unlike anything else we’ve seen. The series’ use of the multiverse as a crucial plot-point was somewhat unique upon its release; however, in recent years the multiverse — and even the Spider-Verse — have found their way into popular entertainment with great frequency.

It’s the manner in which Across The Spider-Verse uses the mutliverse that makes it stand out. No other film — with the exception of Everything Everywhere All At Once — has taken full advantage of the creative liberties afforded to a story with infinite universes, and therefore, infinite possibilities. Here, it truly feels like the possibilities are endless, one of the many benefits of telling a story in animation.

Another perk of taking Spider-Man into the world of animation is being able to lean full-force and without hesitation into the comedy. Spider-Man is a comedic character, and through animation the full extent of his comedic chops can be explored more freely. Across The Spider-Verse is a genuinely hilarious film. Even better, is its ability to keep its audience smiling in-between bouts of laughter through the pure joy and exhilaration it delivers.

In Conclusion

Spider-Man is like Batman, a constant presence in the world of entertainment. And as long as the movies continue to be good, fans will continue to swing into the cinema to spend their hard-earned cash on another super-hero adventure. If Across The Spider-Verse is any indication, the spandex wearing, universe jumping hero is still swinging with full momentum. We’re nearly half-way through the year, and I can say in full confidence, that this is my favorite movie of the year so far. Let’s see if Barbie can knock it from that slot.


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Written by Joshua Ryan

Joshua Ryan is the Creative Coordinator and Head Film Critic for FandomWire. He's a member of the Critics Choice Association and spokesperson for the Critics Association of Central Florida. Joshua is also one of the hosts of the FandomWire review based Podcast, Cinema Stubs.

Twitter: @MrMovieGuy86 Instagram: @MrMovieGuy86