Sony Animation’s “SpiderMan: Across the Spider-Verse,” directed by Chris Lord and Phil Miller, was one of the most anticipated films of the year leading up to its release in June. To the delight of fans and critics, the film exceeds all expectations and furthers the evolution of the animation medium.
The film serves as a follow-up to “SpiderMan: Into the Spiderverse” released in 2018, a film also considered to be trailblazing in the animation industry thanks in part to its incredibly stylized and fluid animation and refreshingly great story in a sea of blockbuster superhero films. With each new decade, the medium of animation pushes the boundaries of incredible artistic achievement, and “Across the Spider-Verse” serves as the next upper echelon of animation.
One year after the events of the first film, Miles Morales is balancing school life with the great responsibilities of being the one and only Spider-Man, at least within his own universe. After Miles gets wrapped up in a conflict with Spider-Gwen, a close friend, and Spider-Man from a different universe, Miles is introduced to a whole web of Spider-Man timelines. One of the Spider-Men, Miguel O’Hara, is in charge of keeping the Spider-Man universes in check as each one is meant to experience a “canon event.”
The film deals with Miles’ conflict of balancing his normal everyday life with superhero responsibilities while fighting the threat of an unavoidable future that could spell disaster for the people he loves.
The animation in Across the Spider-Verse can only be described as exemplary. Whether it be the stellar action-packed scenes with excellent choreography or more emotionally charged scenes with outstanding color and backgrounds, each scene is packed to the brim with gorgeous and hyper-stylized 3D animation that makes the previous film look tame by default. It’s hard to believe that the same studio that put out the “Emoji Movie” also has two of the best-looking animated films under the same umbrella.
The story, while not nearly on par with the animation, is still very effective. Being nearly two and a half hours long, “Across the Spider-Verse” is currently the longest theatrical animated film to date, but despite the lengthy runtime, the plot moves by at a brisk pace. Miles struggles to maintain a stable relationship with his parents, as well as being ostracized by Miguel O’Hara, who deems his circumstances a mistake.
While the titular main character gets a majority of the focus, the film is absolutely jam-packed with standout characters, most of which are Spider-Men from other separate timelines, and each one has a separate art style that is perfectly blended into the scene with the use of mixed media. Every scene in the film is jam-packed with endless references and phenomenal scenery, making every scene a joy to rewatch.
Across the Spider-Verse not only serves as a proper sequel to one of the most beloved animated films of all time, but it surpasses it and is an absolute must-see for fans of animation, superhero films or films as a whole.
The film is planned to debut on Netflix starting Oct. 31, 2023.