In 2018, when “Into the Spider-Verse” (ITSV) first hit the big screen, I was a freshman in college just ending my first semester.
The year was big for Spider-Man fans such as me, who also got their hands on the new game, “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” just a few months prior, and in the previous July, got to see Tom Holland’s first solo outing as our friendly neighborhood web-slinger.
I was excited to see ITSV, not just because:
- It would feature Miles Morales’ big screen debut and expose the iconic character to a vast new audience including myself
- And not just because it features so many other iconic variations of the character
But it would also be the first major animated film about Spider-Man.
The choice to go with animation presented a lot of creative potential in both narrative and art direction, which got me even more excited to see how this movie would impact my favorite superhero since I was four-years-old.
The movie, as it did for many, did not disappoint, to say the least.
It was a passionate love letter to the entire Spidey community that drove home so many great themes about courage, what it means to be a hero and being true to yourself.
The art direction was mesmerizing, and my eyes stayed glued to the screen in awe of every frame’s beautiful design and intricate detail. The music and just the pure sound of the movie gave me a thrill that was unforgettable and made me feel like a little kid wanting to swing from the rooftops of the concrete jungle.
ITSV easily became not just my favorite Spider-Man movie, even above the iconic Sam Raimi trilogy, but it became my favorite Marvel movie of all time.
Five long years later, I waited for the inevitable sequel. Five years since ITSV, I have graduated college, found a job, became an actual functioning adult and I find myself in yet another exciting year for Spider-Man fans as the sequel “Marvel’s Spider-Man” game will be coming out later this year.
I avoided most trailers and refused to watch any sneak previews or interviews about the movie to give myself a fresh experience.
I thought to myself as I was walking into the theater with my friends that although I am incredibly excited, there is no way that Across the Spider-Verse (ATSV) could do it again. I was expecting it to be good, but like most sequels, there is no way it can live up to the expectations they set in the original.
They did it. They actually did it again.
It is almost annoying that not only did Sony manage to top what is already considered to be the tip of the mountain, but that they managed to yet again make this my new favorite Spider-Man/Marvel movie.
Once again, the performances in the cast are fantastic and bring each character to life.
Oscar Isaac shines as Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) and brings a refreshing contrast to the typical bubbly personalities you find in a majority of the alternate Spider-(Wo)Men. While his character is definitely more brooding than Jake Johnson’s Peter B. Parker, and even serves as an antagonist to Miles, there are brief sections of humor in the moments where his hard shell is broken by the quippy nature of every other Spidey around him.
The writing and plot for this movie soars beyond the themes of its already stellar predecessor.
ATSV not only reinforces and expands on the quintessential nature of Spider-Man’s devotion to power and responsibility, but it also contains themes of destiny and what it means to wear the mask and how it defines the hero under it. The movie uses these themes to take a not-so-subtle shot at those who claim that Miles Morales is not the “true” Spider-Man, with Miles, played again by Shameik Moore, hammering home that not only is he Spider-Man, but that he will be the captain of his destiny.
“Everyone is telling how my story is supposed to go,” Miles says to sea of Spider-(Wo)Men chasing after him. “Nah, I’ma do my own thing.”
Do I even need to talk about visuals?
If you have yet to see the movie, it is best to leave this as a surprise. But I will say that the film expands dramatically on the style and detail that made ITSV so iconic.
Watch out especially for the scenes in the world Spider-Gwen, played by Hailee Steinfeld, where not only is her dimension saturated in beautiful pastel pinks and blues, but the backdrop of her scenes often change with the tone of her dialogue, creating a unique experience that is best seen on the big screen.
Cameos, cameos, cameos!
If you can think of an alternate Spider-Man, they are probably in this movie. Everyone from Spider-Man India, Spider-Byte, Ben Reilly, the Spectacular Spider-Man from the animated series and even the Spider-Man from Insomniac’s video games.
There are many more appearances, so if you are looking for a sensory overload of Spider-Man, this is the movie to see.
The music is once again amazing.
With the score produced by Daniel Pemberton, and an original album produced by Metro Boomin, it makes for an all around experiences that invigorates the audience and lifts every scene. The highlights are Pemberton’s theme for Spider-Man 2099 and the song “Self Love” featuring a vibey performance from Coi Leray.
This film is the definitive Spidey experience.
Watching this movie made me feel like a kid again in the most genuine way possible. Not just because I was enjoying myself, but because I regained that infectious sense of awe and wonder that came whenever I would watch everyone’s favorite neighborhood wall-crawler on the big screen and on TV. The playful innocence and energy that came with playing with all my spidey toys and creating my own stories with other Spider-Men fighting together.
From beginning to end, a grin never left my face. The kid that would always try to climb his walls every morning in the hope that he too can be a hero, was just told that he can.
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” Makes the Mark.
I’ll see you in theaters for Beyond the Spider-Verse in March 2024!