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Home » Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023) Review

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (2023) Review

This is a review for the 2023 movie “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse”. The tenth Spider-Man film has been one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ll know that it’s one of the most praised movies of the years too. Does the highest rated movie on Letterboxd live up to the hype? For me, it falls slightly short.

What is Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse about?

In 2018, Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures released “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”, an American animated superhero film. The film presents a unique interpretation of the Spider-Man franchise, set in a multiverse comprising different parallel universes. The story follows Miles Morales, a teenager who gains similar superpowers to Peter Parker after being bitten by a radioactive spider. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when he encounters increasingly wacky Spider-beings from other dimensions. Together, they must stop the villainous Kingpin from causing irreparable damage to the multiverse. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was acclaimed for its innovative animation style and storytelling, winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is the long-anticipated sequel to the award-winning movie. Miles teams up with Gwen Stacy and other Spider-people to stop a new threat that endangers the multiverse. He is introduced to a secret Spider-Man Society and its angsty leader, Miguel O’Hara. We’re taken on a cameo-packed, exciting romp through the world of Spider-Man as Miles tries to understand his own identity and what it means to be Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) Review

Across the Spider-Verse is a movie that has a lot of good things going for it. The animation is not only beautiful, but is jam-packed with creativity. Every Spider-Man has their own unique animation style and it’s so clear that the team behind this had so much passion for their work. That leads to some of the most stunning action sequences in a superhero movie. That’s all so refreshing, against all of the generic soulless superhero movies that have been released recently.

To focus on the great stuff – Gwen’s storyline was really heartfelt and meaningful. It’s, by far, the stand-out arc in this movie; if not only because it’s the only one that has something resembling a resolution. The characters of Hobie (Spider-Punk) and Pavitr (Spider-Man India) are, also, very entertaining and really capture the fun energy that was present in the original film.

This is a long movie, coming in at 2 hours and 16 minutes. There’s a lot of dimension hopping and a lot of characters to introduce, so it makes sense. However, it’s hard not to look at the starting chapters of this movie and wonder if that lengthy run-time was really necessary. It takes a very long-time for Miles to be reunited for Gwen and by the time we’re in the spider society, where the conflict of the movie becomes clear, we’re already in the third act. Could this have been done more efficiently? It’s difficult to say for sure, but as it is – the movie is an intimidating re-watch. There’s just too much “beginning” to get through.

The character assassination of Spider-Man

I don’t consider myself to be a huge Spider-Man fan. I’ve seen all of the movies, but I’ve never picked up a comic or watched the TV show. I might’ve sat through all of the cutscenes on YouTube for the PS4 game at some point, but who cares. It’s, therefore, a bit surprising to me that I ended up leaving this movie feeling somewhat offended on behalf of the man of spiders, himself. This movie does him dirty.

You may wonder which Spider-Man I am referring to. I am referring to pretty much all of them. Without spoiling the movie anymore than the trailer does, the movie involves Miles and the other Spider-Men having a moral disagreement; which leads to them clashing. Miles has an emotional drive to save somebody from dying. The Spider-Men want that death to happen, for the greater good. There are only a small handful of Spider-Men who don’t accept this “greater good” argument, the majority chase after Miles to stop him from saving somebody.

Excuse me? I don’t know a lot about Spider-Man, but he’s never struck me as somebody who did things for the “greater good”. He’s always been presented as a down-to-earth guy who wants to save people, against all odds. No Way Home gets a lot of smack from the internet, nowadays, but it got this right! MCU Peter Parker was willing to risk the fate of the universe to save some villains that he had only just met. That is Spider-Man. I can understand Miguel’s motive, but you cannot earnestly convince me that most of the other Spider-Men here would go along with this. Perhaps the third entry in the trilogy will offer an explanation for this, but right now – it just seems like Spider-Man’s character was brutalized for plot convenience.

Let’s talk about the ending…

This movie has a bit of a controversial ending. I knew what was coming and it still rocked me. Without going into too much detail, this is very much a Part 1 of 2 – and it does end on something of a cliff-hanger. Given that the title did originally have a “Part 1”, before that was sneakily dropped, I was fully expecting to Dune: Part 1’d. However, the actual placement of the “To Be Continued” really rubbed me the wrong way and left me leaving the movie theatre questioning how much I wanted to see the third movie.

That was a silly feeling, of course I’m going to see the next one – but I was mad! Not in a “ugh, I want to know what happens next” way, but in a “ugh, I can’t believe you didn’t wrap up your movie” way.

As it stands, it’s very difficult to judge this movie; because it’s not a movie – it’s half of a movie. Most of the arcs are left unfinished, it’s impossible to judge how they’re going to go. With a third part on the way, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. However, it’s certainly not a good thing!

I found the cliff-hanger itself to be particularly lacklustre too. It’s quite clearly telegraphed how Miles is going to get out of his current predicament, both in the short-term and the long-term. I’m not left wanting to excitedly read fan theories, like I did after Infinity War. Nor am I left with the burning curiosity of what awaits in the new land, that I was feeling after Dune: Part 1. I was left feeling pretty confident that I could telegraph the first twenty minutes of “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse”.

The jokes in Across the Spider-Verse

I’ve been harsh on this movie. Harsher than I feel about it, but it’s hard not to exacerbate your criticisms when the internet has decided this is the new best movie of all time. I do want to finish the review on a positive by talking about the humour of Across the Spider-Verse. This is a very funny movie, with a lot of great jokes for diehard Spider-Man fans and for the casual audience.

The thing is packed to the brim with fan service and cameos. The dialogue is snappy and lively. It’s just a very enjoyable experience and the long runtime flies by, as a result. The superhero genre has a bit of a bad reputation for forcing humour into places – but Spider-Verse gets away with it, because the jokes are funny! Heartfelt moments are still given room to breathe, but once they’re done; the laughter resumes. This is a very entertaining movie, even despite its flaws.

Who should watch Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse?

You should know by now if you are Spider-Man lover or a hater. If you feel negatively towards the web-crawler, you probably won’t be swayed by this. Though, if you feel any attraction towards the masked menace; swing over to the cinema as soon as you can – because you’ll have a good time. Even if I’m not its biggest fans, I can still say that this is up there as one of Spidey’s best movies. This movie didn’t hit for me, but it seems to have hit for everybody else; so I will take the “L” on this one. Equally, if you’re a lover of animation – you can’t miss this. This is so beautiful that it will be part of animation history.

This was a review for the 2023 movie “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”. Did this movie hit the spot or did it leave you hanging? Let us know in the comments below.

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