Disclaimer, I am not a critic. Nor am I a movie nerd, an expert, or someone with strong opinions about movies. I watch movies purely for enjoyment, sometimes to cry a little and for the art of filmmaking, I find it hugely fascinating. With my hand on my heart I can say, that when I walked out of the cinema after having watched Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – I wanted to walk right back and rewatch it.
I used to think of myself as a Marvel fan, but that thought has subsided for the past few years. I like superhero movies, but I don’t necessarily love them. And let’s be fairly honest – the multiverse plotline can become tiring after a while. However, this amazingly animated Spider-Man movie ignited a childhood sense of wonder in me that I have missed dearly.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the second installation in this animated movie series follows the story of teenager Miles Morales who like every other Spider-Man is struggling to balance his two identities; the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man and Miles, a teenager just trying to get through his school days with homework, crushes and the things that make up a teenager’s day to day life. Only this time around, he delves into the multiverse and all the challenges and theories it brings. I loved the first movie when I watched it, and this second movie just filled me with utter joy. The introduction to new, energetic characters and storylines makes this movie so entertaining to watch.
The animation was truly my favourite part. It feels like a fever dream! There is so much colour, life and detail put into the style of animation, it’s truly admirable. Not only do they switch between lots of different art styles, fonts, and graphics in the movie, but they do it SEAMLESSLY. To perfection, I tell you. The animation feels like you’ve dived headfirst into a comic book. It feels nostalgic and it keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. My eyes kept wandering all over the screen because everything felt kaleidoscopic and attention-grabbing. I truly felt like a kid during the whole thing. There are many cute pop-culture references to grab here, and small details in the Spider-Man universe that you’ll recognize instantly if you have seen some of the other films. The action scenes are so well animated, and all of the Brooklyn cityscapes are immensely gorgeous. Also, fun fact – a 14-year-old got to animate a scene in this movie, so try to figure out which one it is when you watch it! It’s really fun when you spot (pun intended, you’ll get it later) it! I have never seen animation quite like this! I’ve even seen videos where people dive into how the colours are symbolic in this movie, and you can bet your ass that I’ve watched every single one of them. Every single frame is a feast for the eyes.
The movie tackles themes like family, loss, and the struggle of finding out who you are and who you want to be, without it being too heavy to watch. The best part of it all is also how you don’t really have to watch the first one, to enjoy the second one. One detail that I love so much about these animated Spider-Man movies compared to the ones in the MCU or Maguire and Garfield’s movies is that it’s so evident that Miles Morales’ Spider-Man is just a kid. He’s just a kid who wants to do cool stuff with his powers, he has the heart of a kid still in him. And this movie really puts that to the test, throwing challenges at him. He’s a very human and very relatable character, everything from his style to his music taste, to his teenage awkwardness. Bold statement, but he might be my favourite Spider-Man.
This movie is darker than the first one, but I can guarantee you that 90% of this is because of the soundtrack. Holy shit, this movie soundtrack is the most electrifying, thrilling, and spine-chilling stuff I’ve heard in a while. I know this movie is mostly meant as a kids movie, but the villain tracks are terrifying. The music alone kept me wanting more, especially the very first soundtrack, the intro. However, the villain is such an interesting character in this story. The antagonist “Spot” has been introduced in earlier Spider-Man comics, but to see this character on the screen was both terrifying and thrilling. The soundtrack pairs perfectly with the explanation of his backstory, and the animation during that whole sequence is breathtaking. This is a villain that I would love to see more of.
The only downside that I can point out, which is minor detail in the big picture – but there are some scenes that feel like fan service, which is not really my thing. It’s fun at times, but it isn’t necessary. But overall, it didn’t bother me too much.
This movie is not the ordinary animated kids’ movie. I want to call it artwork because it truly felt like it. It left me craving more, and it left me with a feeling of nostalgia. Superhero movies tend to get boring for me lately because it’s the same thing over and over. Hero saves the world. But this is not that kind of movie. It’s visually stunning, the animation style is gorgeous beyond words, and the story is humorous, endearing, emotional, exciting, and leaves you feeling like a child again. The movie ended with a cliffhanger too, which I’m not going to spoil, but I can’t wait to see where this story takes its course. It also represents multiple cultures which was so lovely to see and done very tastefully. This movie was made with passion for animation, and it shows.