Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse review: every Spider-person all at once

across the spider-verse review
Share this Article:

When a new villain raises his multi-dimensional little head, it’s up to Spider-Man and, um, lots of other Spider-People to stop him. Here’s our Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse review.

How do you follow-up what many people consider to be not just the best Spider-Man film, but possibly the best animated movie of the last decade? Since Miles Morales first swung onto the big screen in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse, the webbed avenger has arguably done more to shift the blockbuster landscape than any of his predecessors. Copycats and imitators are still springing up around every corner, from Puss in Boots to gangs of mutant turtles. The can of multiversal worms it opened have made their mark on Oscar-winners and franchise-topping blockbusters alike.

The answer, in typical Hollywood fashion, is to do more of the same. More art styles, more Spider-People, more nods to its comic roots and more… well, more.

Across the Spider-Verse is more epic in scale than fans of the character-focused original might have expected. It crams so much into every scene, every sequence, every frame that it can’t help but feel a little overpowering. In terms of scale, the story of a web-slinging kid from Brooklyn feels closer to Avengers: Infinity War than the original Into the Spider-Verse.

For the most part, overwhelmingly so, it works. The animation itself is astounding, not just in freeze-frame, but in motion, too. It’s clear the filmmakers have grown in confidence following their chart-smashing proof of concept, and a more fluid camera helps create some wonderfully breathless action sequences. The simple act of Spider-Man swinging through the city has quite honestly never looked better. But Across’ real selling point isn’t just how lovely it is to look at, but how varied, too.

across the spider-verse review miles and gwen

Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld reprise their roles as Miles and Gwen, respectively (credit: Sony Pictures)

It’s no spoiler to say that this time around Miles’ adventures take him barreling through a few different universes and meeting a few different spider-folks, and that each has their own unique visual style. In some, the change is subtler than others. Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld)’s world has a painterly style not a million, er, miles, from our Spider-Man’s own. Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya), meanwhile, moves with an inky definition, and a framerate, completely at odds with his surroundings. The only thing they absolutely have in common? They’re all, down to every detail, astonishingly beautiful.

When the first film came out, it felt like if you paused the film at any individual moment, you’d have yourself a very tasteful new screensaver. With Across the Spider-Verse, you’d have the world’s most artistically satisfying Where’s Wally? The number of references in every shot frankly gets a little ridiculous, and at times it can’t help but feel the vast Spider-Beast of a film is eating its own tail a little bit.

But just when the number of different dimensions, colours and framerates threatens to turn your brain into a puddle, the filmmakers remember to ground it back in what really made the first film pop far more than its visual flair.

At the end of it all, the story of Across the Spider-Verse is about a lost (and no longer little) boy finding his place in the world. His relationships with his family, spider-based and otherwise, are knotty, complicated and full of heart. And a realization in the third act effectively dissects what it means to be Spider-Man as well as any outing in the 21 years he’s been dominating the box office.

So how do you follow up Into the Spider-Verse? With Across the Spider-Verse, the team have thrown everything at the wall. Being Spider-Man, of course, it sticks.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is in cinemas on 2nd June.

Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:

Follow Film Stories on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

Buy our Film Stories and Film Junior print magazines here.

Become a Patron here.

Share this Article:

Related Stories

More like this