Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) Spoiler-Free Review

Visual Spectacle and Riveting Storytelling

The film should come with a warning about seizure-inducing visuals. Across the Spiderverse is a high-speed train, flying off a cliffside into your retinas, exploding with every color known to mankind. Despite the dazzling imagery, Across the Spiderverse delivers a spectacular and heartrending story. Miles Morales discovers a Multiverse of Spider-Man variants who fight to protect reality itself. When a sinister force arises, Miles faces an impossible choice, threatening the future of everyone he loves.

Impressive Trio of Directors

Across the Spiderverse boasts an impressive trio of directors. Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson bring enormous experience. Dos Santos is known for his work on Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra series. Kemp Powers helmed the screenplay for Soul by Disney and Pixar. Thompson worked on the first entry, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies. All three men combine their talents to deliver a unique cinematic experience, advancing the franchise and the medium of animation.

Talented Cast and Authentic Relationships

Shameik Moore reprises his role as Miles. Hailee Stanfield voices Gwen Stacy. Brian Tyree Henry portrays Jeff Morales, the father of Miles. Luna Lauren Velez plays the role of Rio Morales, the mother of Miles. Oscar Isaac brought the thunder in his terrifying role as Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099. This enigmatic cast only makes up half of the talent involved in the project. The interactions between the characters solidify the relationships and make them believable. All adults can relate to the adolescent experience of puberty, trying to define their identity and convincing others to accept who they are becoming.

An Emotional Journey and Multilingual Expression

Staring across the auditorium, I saw the faces of children and adults light up in astonishment. There are laughs whenever Miles and his parents are onscreen, as his Puerto Rican culture is front and center. Some dialogue exchanges are in Spanish with no subtitles, which is strange. However, this did not take away from the shared experience. The facial expressions, body language, and fantastic musical score conveyed enough emotion to the point where no translation was needed.

A Multiverse Concept Made Accessible

In addition, casual moviegoers can rest easy, knowing they receive a crash course of what happened in the previous film, Into the Spider-Verse. This is accomplished through fast-talking monologues, animated comic strips, and internal narration. Although it’s a lot to take in, the concept of the Multiverse is explained pretty well. Properties like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the Disney+ series Loki, and Antman & The Wasp: Quantamania has acquainted diehard fans with the theme.

A Relatable Journey of Balancing Responsibility

Like many heroes, Miles tries to balance their personal and crime-fighting lifestyle. However, he fails at it. Saving countless people daily takes its toll. This is reiterated throughout the story, as the people who care for Miles most are disappointed in more ways than one. Another concept adult audiences can relate to. Although fighting crime is not the same as a career, there are parallels. If one prioritizes the job over everything else, they might lose the people who matter most.

The Power of Acceptance

If a masked villain forced me to summarize the film’s message in one word, I would choose acceptance. Miles has matured, refined some of his abilities, and gained new ones. However, it’s his moral compass viewers get to see developed in real-time while watching Across the Spiderverse. Being Spider-Man comes with traumatic baggage; what makes them unique is how they choose to carry it. Miles Morales is the underdog one can’t help but root for.

An Unparalleled Cinematic Achievement

Across the Spiderverse is an achievement in filmmaking created by over one-thousand animators. It contains over 280 Spider-Man variants. Sony Pictures might miss with some of their spin-off titles, but when it comes to the friendly, neighborhood web-slinger, they deliver. Not since Toy Story has a franchise given an enjoyable story the entire family can enjoy. Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse swoops in with a whopping 10 out of 10.

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