Synopsis: Miles Morales catapults across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. When the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles must redefine what it means to be a hero.
Where to Watch: In theaters
Date of Release: June 2nd
Length of Time: 140 mins
Starring: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, Karan Soni, Jason Schwartzman, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Rachel Dratch, Jorma Taccone, Shea Whigham, and Oscar Isaac
Why Should You Watch?
Just when I thought Sony couldn’t outdo its first Spider-Man animated film featuring Miles Morales, they managed to put together one of the best-animated films I’ve ever seen. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (SMASV) is an exceptional film that manages to combine stunning visuals with a compelling narrative, resulting in an absolute must-see for fans of the Spider-Man franchise or anyone seeking an action-packed, visually impressive adventure.
The gorgeous animation style sets SMASV apart from other Spider-Man films. This installment uses diverse artistic techniques that breathe life into every frame. The 2D and 3D animation blend makes each scene a work of art, with dynamic cityscapes and surreal color palettes that grab your attention from the opening scene to the final moments.
Beyond the visuals, Across the Spider-Verse also features a gripping story that explores the multiverse and introduces new versions of Spider-Man to the audience. The narrative is tightly woven and manages to strike the perfect balance between humor and heart. The character arcs are well-developed and keep you invested in the story, whether you’re a long-time fan of the Spider-Man franchise or a newcomer.
Can we talk about Moore as Miles Morales, though? His performance was superb! He was able to execute great comedic timing onscreen. Moore’s voice presence solidifies him as one of my favorite voice actors because he knows how to project his acting through his voice. I love the relationship Miles has with his parents Rio (voiced by Lauren Vélez) and Jefferson (voiced by Brian Tyree Henry), and their adjusting to changes in Miles as a young man and as a hero. They played the perfect parent duo, especially when disciplining Miles.
Once again, Moore used his acting ability to show his range and to hit the emotional notes needed to make the audience experience Miles’ emotional state. There were definitely moments when my heartstrings were pulled. Between him and Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy/Spider-woman, I was on an emotional rollercoaster.
We get more of a glimpse of Gwen Stacy’s background and home life, and just like any iteration of Spider-man, it is filled with tragedy and emotional obstacles. The bond between Gwen and Miles is strong, and the chemistry between the two voice actors makes this possible. You can’t help but root for these two to connect and find some way to be together.
Some other versions of Spider-man from the first film do appear in this sequel and although they don’t have much screen time, as a fan of the first film, I was happy to see them make it into this movie…especially Peter B. Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson) who served as mentor to Miles in the first film.
My favorite of all the versions of Spider-man is Jessica Drew/Spider-woman (voiced by Issa Rae) and Hobie Brown Spider-punk (voiced by Daniel Kaluuya). They both make kick-ass introductions, are funny, and, of course, are cool as hell. Spider-punk is a Black British who is about fighting the system, especially the totalitarian government that rules over his dimension. His weapon is a guitar, which adds to his coolness factor in the film. Jessica is a Black pregnant version of Spider-man who is witty, wise, and more level-headed than the leaders.
Oscar Isaac as Miguel O’Hara/2099 Spider-man is a compelling character driven by traumatic events. He operates by the book to ensure the different timelines are safe. Interestingly enough, he doesn’t utilize humor like the other versions of Spider-man. Once you learn his origin, you will understand why. His disdain for Miles compels the other Spider-people to attack him, resulting in an intensely thrilling one-against-many battle.
Alongside the incredible animation and story is an electrifying soundtrack that perfectly captures the tone of the film. Since the world of Miles Morales is more urban and centered around hip-hop (Metro Bommin did his thing!)and modern music, I would not expect anything less appropriate. The music helps punctuate the more emotional moments while elevating the action scenes to new heights. Sound and visuals work together in exquisite harmony to create an immersive and thrilling viewing experience.
Now let’s talk about the easter eggs; there are a bunch of them. So many, in fact, that it may require a rewatch to catch them all. The comic book fan in me was filled with excitement with every connection that showed up onscreen. From the MCU to the Sony-verse, it’s all there; and trust me, you don’t want to take a bathroom break lest you miss something awesome.
Overall, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a feast for the eyes and ears that will leave you wanting more. I promise you this: you WILL want more after the final act! It’s a testament to the possibilities of storytelling through animation. It should be regarded as one of the best-animated films in recent years and one of the best superhero films, period. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and watch this phenomenal film on the big screen for the full effect.