This film has certainly been a very long time coming but I can confirm that it delivers in every way. This is the kind of sequel you like to see where it improves upon everything from the original. The first Spider-Verse film was really good and now this one I can safely call elite. It’s a really thrilling film all the way through with an impressive cast of characters and the fight scenes are excellent. It’s not likely that you will see any other films in theaters this year that will be able to match these fight scenes unless you are checking out an anime movie.
The movie starts off with a fairly long prologue focused on Gwen and the events that led her up to the movie. It’s a really effective origin story here and it’s also fairly lengthy so there is really time for the moments to sink in. I love it when the movie title doesn’t show up for a while to let you know that everything you just saw was the intro. That was handled really effectively here to the point where you might think Gwen was the main character for a moment.
Then we come to the main plot. Miles has been Spiderman for a long while now and at this point he’s definitely a seasoned veteran. Unfortunately it has become harder and harder to balance his personal and professional lives. His parents are starting to get worried but Miles isn’t ready to tell them about his secret identity yet. When the Spot shows up along with a ton of other Spidermen, Miles is going to have to make a choice and find out where he really wants to belong. With the other Spidermen or with his family.
Lets jump on some of the really strong aspects of the film first. First off is the animation because that was really top tier. You don’t see this level of speed and intensity in just about any American animation. It’s extremely rare and this would hold its own with some anime. The fights allow you to feel just how strong Miles is with how quickly everyone is zipping about and each fighter has their own strengths. My favorite fight in the film is definitely the big team battle with the Spot but there are a lot of good fights to enjoy throughout the film. The opening battle with the Vulture was also solid and he put up a really good fight considering how the odds were. It lets you understand just how strong Spiderman’s villains are even when he is dominating in a fight.
There are a lot of really fun transitions here from scene to scene and I liked the captions for thoughts and also character introductions. Those were handled well like they were straight out of a comic which is the entire idea. Then you have the excellent soundtrack. Each character and universe have their own themes which fit the setting but additionally the instrumental themes for the fights were really good. There was always a quick tempo for each battle which served to enhance the scene even further. The movie definitely did not hold back in terms of the technicals.
Of course the writing was not lagging either as this is a very well written movie. In a lot of ways Flashpoint did a lot of damage with the message it was getting out about not being able to defy destiny and sacrificing the one for the many. This film’s taking the opposite approach in clearly portraying that you can always shape your own future and a big part of Miles’ character development is really relying on his own strengths and judgment. If you know that something’s wrong then it doesn’t matter if anyone agrees with you, you have to do your best to hang in there and do what you gotta do.
The characters are all developed well but in particular Gwen and Miles get the bulk of the scenes here. Gwen is mainly trying to internalize all of the issues that she is going through and naturally this does lead to some troubles for her down the line. Quick avoidance leads to slow troubles after all and her issues are continuing to grow in the background. She makes her share of mistakes in the film to be sure but is someone trying to do her best throughout. Gwen’s a very charismatic character and someone who is easy to root for so she’s definitely a standout here.
My favorite character ended up being Miles who in a lot of ways is also trying to deal with all of the issues on his own. It does take some to really trust anyone enough to talk about issues especially when you’re Spiderman but he’s definitely just about ready for that. He goes up against some really tough odds during the film but keeps on going. I also appreciate that he has a lot of self confidence and isn’t listening to the other characters who keep trying to get him to quit. He also gets a lot of witty banter the way you would expect a Spiderman to have.
Peter Parker doesn’t get to appear a whole lot this time though. Ultimately this is Miles’ film and how he is working on being the best Spiderman he can be so it makes sense not to give Peter a huge role so he doesn’t take that away from the kid. Peter’s not the best in this film so I’m looking forward to seeing him make a comeback in the sequel. It’s time for Peter to find his own confidence and make the right moves instead of being a bystander.
Throughout the film I only had 2 main issues which are not big enough to hurt the film but are still worth noting. Both basically come about due to the scope of the film. The first is a power level issue involving the thousands of Spidermen in the film. As you saw in the trailer they get mobilized at sone point and I don’t care how good any individual Spiderman is, you’re not lasting more than a second against those numbers. So there are large scenes where you just don’t believe what’s happening at all because escape just wasn’t an option at that point. You simply won’t believe that it is possible.
The other issue is really just that most of the Spidermen don’t act like Spiderman. In theory the vast majority of these should be reasonable Peter Parkers and yet they blindly obey orders without really questioning them. Of course that’s going to happen in a plot like this but as the writer your job is to work around that. There should definitely have been some good ways to avoid the scenario so everyone stays in character. If necessary you do the old mind control trick. It’s perhaps not the most original one out there but it does the job. So those were my two issues plot-wise at least and it’s funny that they’re both basically relating to the same scenes.
Otherwise the film really didn’t make any big mistakes and was really solid all throughout. The writing is great whether it be for the serious moments or the fun ones. The Spot is a really solid villain here and I liked him pretty much from the Jump. His powers are incredibly versatile and this is not someone that just any hero could deal with. It’s why Spiderman is a good foe for him because the web slinging allows him to stay close. A normal land based hero would likely be too slow to actually keep up with this guy. The Spot is also very determined and holds a grudge, both of which are very good attributes for a villain.
Then we have the other villain in Spiderman 2099. Yeah I’m going to call him a villain because at the end of the day your intentions don’t matter as much as the actions. Just ask Thanos and Garou. This guy has lost sight of what it means to be a Spiderman but he’s still a very cool character. In terms of design I would also say that he has the best looking outfit out of all the characters. He looks really intimidating the whole time. The guy’s super tall and buff. Throw in that his costume also has claws and that Miguel himself has fangs and yeah you don’t really want to cross this guy.
There are loads of other Spider characters running around but only a few more important ones. One is Ben, but his fans will likely be dismayed at how he looks. The guy’s basically a big joke the whole time who is as incompetent as possible. Be prepared for him to get slapped around by everybody. Then you have a Spiderwoman driving around on a motorcycle. She was my least favorite character because of how unreasonable she was the whole time. It feels like almost all of her lines are threats in the film. Additionally I’m just going to be direct and say it, fighting while super pregnant seems very irresponsible. A single hit to the baby and that’s game over.
You see some heroes try to do this now and again but it never seems like a good idea. Particularly in this scenario where there are thousands of other heroes who can help out in the meantime. Then you have the Indian Spiderman who’s a lot of fun. I like how he uses the webs with an object of sorts to focus them. It’s a unique fighting style right there. Then you have Hobie who likes to defy the system and was easily the most independent thinker out of all of them. This was someone who was not going to just obey all of the rules and I definitely appreciated that. He may not have been around as long as he could have but his scenes left an impact.
The film’s cliffhanger isn’t quite as dire as you may have been expecting but it’s still a cliffhanger all the same. I’m thinking they wanted to leave this as a more cheerful ending so it wouldn’t be too intense for younger viewers since this film is still in theory aimed a bit younger than something like Fast X. So the audience is given an out by the end here when it could have ended like a minute or two sooner and had a completely different vibe. It’s a really hype ending either way though and you’ll be ready for part 2. There’s definitely a lot left to happen and I’m expecting some really big fights. In theory part 2 will have even more action than this one.
Of course a lot of the fun here is in picking out all the cameos and there are definitely a ton of them all throughout. Ranging from TV shows to video games to movies, just about every Spiderman is here. It really goes to show just how many there have been over the years. Spiderman’s a household name for good reason after all.
I should also give a quick shoutout to Miles’ parents before ending the film because they were really solid the whole time. They’re dealing with a whole lot from their end as well with Miles always vanishing and running off. His cover stories aren’t always the most convincing either so it feels like he’s going through some kind of rebellious phase that he can’t clue them in on. We also see Gwen’s father and he is trying to do his best as well but doesn’t always take things well. In that plot I give Gwen at least 50% of the blame too though because she could have handled things better.
Overall, Across the Spider-Verse is an excellent film and definitely one that I would recommend checking out. The humor is on point, the pacing is great, the characters are excellent, the animation is masterful, etc. It’s a sequel that does everything right and you can especially appreciate the fast tempo and visuals by watching this one in theaters. You do not want to wait on this one and should try checking it out right away. As the “Part 1” is not in the title there are a lot of people who don’t even realize that this is one of those films that won’t be fully resolved just yet. Something to keep in mind because that always guarantees a fun ending.