This animated marvel of a film, "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse", jumps into play a year after its equally praised predecessor –“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”. Thrust into the spotlight, the teenaged and newly embraced Spider-Man, none other than Brooklyn’s own Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, continues onto this second chapter of his complex superhero journey. Amidst the routine challenges of teenage life, Miles grapples with managing his powers and answering the irresistible call of the Spider-heroes.
Balancing Heroism and a Double Life
Since his call to heroism, Miles has nearly mastered his powers. Yet, he finds it increasingly difficult to juggle school responsibilities alongside his responsibilities as a Spider-Man. As his parents grow suspicious of their son’s secretive lifestyle, Miles also has to contend with a fresh challenge – the villain Spot portrayed brilliantly by Jason Schwartzman. Spot’s menacing transformation into a “transdimensional super-being” adds a lore-filled twist to the plot, posing a dire threat to the multiverse.
It's interesting how the film keeps Miles at the heart of its narrative, infusing the story with relatable teenage issues alongside mind-blowing action sequences.
The Spider Society Unveiled
Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Gwen Stacy (a.k.a. Spider-Woman, brought to life by Hailee Steinfeld), a confidante and possible romantic interest for Miles, joins forces with the Spider Society. Under Spider-Man 2099, the brooding Miles O’Hara (voiced by Oscar Isaac), the society zips across multiverses to manage anomalies. The plot thickens when Gwen and Miles reunite and an unsettling revelation about the true threat to the Spider-Verse comes to light.
The film does an impressive job of introducing an array of quirky spider characters, from a Spider-Cowboy to a Spider-Dinosaur, each designed with a delightful blend of visual gags, palettes, and animation styles. The concept is wild, yet engaging, offering abundant moments of eye-catching acts and comedy.
A Vortex of Spider-entities
The inclusion of an array of Spider entities like the Spider-Cowboy, Spider-Cat, Spider-Baby and Spider-Dinosaur haul the audience through a whirlwind of rich visuals, vibrant color palettes, and diverse animation styles. Each Spider-entity bursts from their source material into comprehensive beings that each bring a unique flavor to the movie. The versatility extends beyond the animation, from references to Indian culture interwoven with the design of Spider-Man India (Pavitr Prabhakar), to the anarchic aesthetics from the ’80s punk scene used for Spider-Punk.
Powerhouses Behind the Voice Cast
The significant talent behind the characters' voices, from Issa Rae’s tough-love interpretation of Jessica Drew to Oscar Isaac’s intense performance as Miles O’Hara, lends to the rounded personalities of the Spidey-crew. Particularly, high praise goes to Steinfeld's portrayal as Gwen, whose story dives deeper into her character's emotional depth, beautifully echoing the film's narrative thrust.
Stunning Animation and Visual Treatments
The diverse collection of Spider-entities including Spider-Man India and Spider-Punk each carries a unique charm, elaborately realized through boldly stylized character designs and animation approaches. "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" adds depth and dimension through its exceptional animation detail, creating a visually astounding New York City with careful consideration to multicultural aspects.
Art and Sound: A Fusion of Vibrancy and Beats
The directors have meticulously designed a multicultural New York with delicate details. Combined with an eruptive soundtrack of rock, hip-hop, and reggaeton, it gives the viewers an immersive comic book experience. Specially, Gwen's aesthetic, complete with soft pastel hues and heavy brushstrokes, deserves a special mention.
Deep-cut references, minute details, and a captivating backstory blend together for a compelling spin on the usual multiverse narrative, all wrapped up with heartbreaking cliffhangers leaving viewers anxiously awaiting the final installment.
- Detailed visual gags and diverse animation styles
- Inclusion of deep-cut references and nods to contemporary culture
- Rich character development
- Stellar voice cast.
- Cliffhanger ending leaves viewers in suspense
- Some story elements can be complex for new fans.