REVIEW: Another fun venture into the Spider-Verse

When I saw Avengers: Infinity War in theaters I was bit annoyed, despite the fact that I absolutely loved it. Seeing some of my favorite characters together for the first time was an incredibly fulfilling and fun experience up until the very end, at which point things just kinda stopped. 

There was no real resolution to anything, making the tale of Thanos and his quest for magical rocks half of a bigger whole instead of a movie that could stand completely on its own. 

Films that boil down to elaborate advertisements for the next offering generally bother me, but with the new Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the first of a two-part follow-up to 2018’s amazing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Into is the first one, Across is the new one, and Beyond will come out next year, keep that in mind, because it can get confusing), the feeling wasn’t too big of a factor, as was the case with Infinity War, just because the film itself is so darned good. 

Like its predecessor, one of the coolest parts of Across the Spider- Verse is how perfectly it captures the feel of reading a comic book. The stylish animation, purposefully low framerate, and energetic busyness of it all takes a minute to get used to, but once one does it becomes a singular experience like no other on film. The sheer amount of creativity on screen at any given moment is incredible, from the fight scenes to the quiet moments to the scene transitions. 

The story itself is pretty straightforward, a miracle in and of itself for a film about multiverse shenanigans, but it works to the movie’s benefit as it instead has us mostly focusing on the characters and their relationships. 

For what its worth Across does have a slower pace than Into (and I do think that it could have been cut and streamlined just a bit), and I’m not sure how well this will go over with younger audiences, but I did not mind at all because these characters and relationships were just developed so well. 

The voice acting and script are what sell these, and if I have any criticism towards the former it’s that I occasionally had a hard time understanding a certain cockney-accented character, but I’ll let that slide. I’m sure I didn’t miss anything important. 

Do I wish it was a more complete experience? Sure. Across the Spider-Verse doesn’t have any resolution whatsoever at the end and doesn’t have a typical story structure, namely rising action, climax, and all of that good stuff you learned back in high school English class, and that can be a bit unfulfilling if you aren’t expecting it (the scene that is probably considered the climax felt more like another set-up scene to me). 

But the journey to that “to be continued” is so cool and heartfelt that it’s hard to not be anything other than wowed. If next year’s Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider- Verse sticks the landing (and at this point I have no reason to believe it won’t) then we might just have one of the best animated trilogies of all time on our hands. 

Spider-Man: Across the Spider- Verse is now playing exclusively in theaters.