'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' review: Stunning sequel with fleshed-out characters

The movie's slow pacing, however, interferes a bit with the experience


The much-awaited sequel to Into the Spider-Verse is finally here and it is a must-watch for any fans of the franchise. After Into the Spider-Verse stunned us all with its impressive comic-book-esque animation and a soundtrack to match, Across the Spider-Verse carries on that legacy in an amazing manner. The characters seem thoughtful and fleshed out and as the Spider-Verse slowly unravels itself, the plot slowly but surely thickens.

The first movie left off with all the Spider-Men (and women and of course, who can forget Spider-Ham) being returned to their respective universes after stopping the collider, defeating Kingpin and saving the universe, but from these ashes rises a new threat in a villain unlike Miles Morales has ever encountered. Not just some “new villain of the week” but an interdimensional threat, and Miles must find a way to stop him. However, that is not all.

As we meet and interact with Gwen Stacy, Peter B. Parker and some other old friends, we get a glimpse into lives in their respective universes, their interactions with their families and the situations they face by being a Spider-Person. Each story seems meaningful with some fleshed out to the extent of maybe overpowering our main character. But they all play their role in making these heroes who they are.

We also get to see Spider-People from other universes, like our dear Pavitra Prabhakar and Miguel O’Hara. These new characters bring with them their own charm and spice to the movie, and one is sure to find the Spider-Person of their liking among the vast ocean (if I might) of them. Exploring these universes with their animation style and quirks sure are memorable. The amount of cameos the writers have added is no laughing matter; with easter eggs from various comics and movies, you have to keep your eyes peeled and brush up on your knowledge because if you don't, you’ll miss out.

Carrying over from the previous movie, the animation pulled off by Sony-Animation-Studios and others is so unique, it will leave you thirsty for more. From the fluid movement of the characters to the vivid colours of open portals and glitching people, from the breathtaking sceneries of each new city like New York and Mumbattan to the emotions each character displays, each detail is vivid and full of life. The audio in the movie adds so much depth to every scene, from the stellar and upbeat fight scenes to swinging across the city and especially the scenes filled with emotion.

Apart from all this, it tries to bring in important emotional themes, in a way that not only children and teens, but even adults can connect with. It explores various topics like personal growth, love, the importance of trust and family and how loss can affect a person. The relationship Miles has with his parents and with Gwen, that of Gwen’s with Miles and her parent, growing up feeling different, losing people you love—all these scenes try to bring an emotional depth to the movie that works to a large extent. With these comes the humour that Spider-Man is known for. Acting on the situation and making light of it seem to be their vibe and most, if not all, jokes land beautifully and are sure to leave you giggling in your seat.

But the pacing of the movie interferes a bit with the experience. It seems intentionally slow while trying to set the scene for something bigger. The movie is by no means a drag and will leave you on the edge of your seat, but the pacing of the story and characters seem deliberate and while very exciting, slightly unsatisfying. However, the way the movie ends seems to explain the reason for this and probably leaves you exactly where the writers planned, wanting for more.

Movie: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson

Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Jake Johnson

Rating: 4/5

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