The colourful spider-verse explodes back onto the big screen with Miles’ biggest challenge yet – this time trying to save not just his, but a whole web of universes.
In 2018 we got a real surprise hit, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sits apart from the main MCU films and got its own limelight. The result was in many peoples opinion one of, if not the best overall Spider-Man film. The animation set a new benchmark, winning it the best animated film Oscar. The music and score gave so much life to the film and it really set it apart, so the task of following that success was an unenviable one. There are many films that fail at this however, I’m happy to say they have achieved it with “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”.
The main plot of this film is that after growing into his new role as Spider-Man, Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) is desperate to reunite with his multi-versal friends. It’s not long before consequences of his first outing as Spider-Man come back to haunt him, so when a new villain named Spot (Jason Schwartzman) shows up and causes chaos, Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeild) ends up falling back into his world, as she introduces him to the wider ‘spider-verse’. Miles meets an elite force of spider people led by Miguel (spider-man 2099, voiced by Oscar Issac) who has a troubled past that we see develop over the film to a point where the lines between good and evil blur, and what transpires literally leaves us with quite the cliff hanger.
Miles must also come to terms with what it means to continuously lie to his parents about being Spider-Man, while going through all the same troubles any 15-year-old would. However some of the scenes with his parents feel a little overly long and unnecessary, maybe being one of the only weak links of the film. However this is part one of two films, with the conclusion due to be released in March 2024… so it’s only half a story and can only be judged in that sense.
Saying that, this is still one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen, even compared with the previous film it is outstanding. The amount of varying animation styles would seem to be at first glance overwhelming, however it’s done in such a way that it is manageable. The colours are spectacular, rich blacks and vibrant popping flashes really help bring the comic book feel to life! Couple this with the animation styles and you have one of the most visually stunning films released in recent times. Alongside the animation there are plenty of fan service moments as we’re thrown into the spider-verse, or rather the ‘organisation’ that is out to help deal with rogue spider-folk and other ‘anomalies’ across the universes. With cameos and references that will keep all fans of the various spidey films happy, everything from references to the live action films, games and even a spider T-Rex.
One of the biggest aspects of the previous film was the score, the RnB & pop music flowed through the film without jarring us. The sequel has the same style of music, I would say that it isn’t as instantly recognisable or memorable. This is no bad thing, the songs are just as good but the tone of the film is very different so therefore the music is also. The main score is done by Mento… and listening to it separately feels fairly mismatched listening in one go, although when combined with the actual film it all comes together!
Overall this film is one of those you MUST try to see at the cinema first. The animation is setting a new standard for anything that follows it and the film has so much heart and depth to it. The fact that this film is the first of two parts means that it does flow differently to the first. The characters do each get their own time to shine and perhaps one that gets the most growth is Gwen Stacy. This time around we get to see her side of the story more prominently, this is important as it provides us with more depth to her character. Most notably with the repercussions with revealing her identity to her police chief father, who in her universe is out to catch the elusive Spider-Woman.
So often the story of Spider-Man is repeated but with this and in combination with the previous film we get perhaps the best two films to show what the meaning is of this character. We explore what it means not only to wear the mask, but what you do with it, how the choices you makes affect everyone. I would say that it is perhaps more true to life than the live action Spider-Man movies. See it in a cinema before it leaves, you won’t regret it!
Author: Tom, Bath Store.