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  • Writer's picturePatrick Mooty

FILM REVIEW: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

An incomplete and largely unsatisfying offering

The sequel to 2018’s mostly good, albeit slightly overhyped Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Across the Spider-Verse continues the story of Miles Morales as he faces further challenges in his personal life while juggling the responsibilities of being the new Spider-Man. Before he knows it, though, he is thrust into a whirlwind adventure across the Spider-Verse, encountering an elite group of Spider-People from alternate universes, and must reconsider what it means to wear the mask.

As visually remarkable as its predecessor, Across the Spider-Verse incorporates numerous animation styles for each new Spider-Person and Spider-World that is introduced, every frame looking like a gorgeous piece of experimental art: dripping watercolours for Spider-Gwen, crumpled, anarchic Sex Pistols poster for Spider-Punk, and futuristic M.C. Escher for the Spider-Society HQ.

On that note, the winks, nods and references to Spidey characters and Spidey lore are easily the most fun aspect of the film and are sure to put a smile on the faces of all Spider-Fans. Unfortunately, that just turns out to be the hype-inducing icing on what is a pretty unsatisfying cake.

Miles is still a likeable character with relatable struggles (a solo film starring him and separate from the Spider-Verse being a welcome idea) and characters like Spider-Punk (voiced by Daniel Kaluuya) and Miguel O’Hara (voiced by Oscar Isaac) are great additions to this expanding world (or 'verse'), but the film focuses on Miles’s repetitive family drama for too long without progressing anything. The references are a fun distraction once the Spider-Versing starts, but the stakes of a multiverse in danger are too big to have any emotional impact and, once the film finally feels like it is properly starting, it ends. It was no secret that Across the Spider-Verse was intended as the first part of a two-part story but, unlike Infinity War which managed to resolve its story while setting up for a sequel in Endgame, Across the Spider-Verse is just an incomplete film.

Visually stunning and featuring Spidey characters and references that will make fans squeal, a lot of effort was clearly put into Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Unfortunately, it is all setup with no payoff. Perhaps Beyond the Spider-Verse will soften this review when it is eventually released and there is a complete film to judge, but for now Across the Spider-Verse is an incomplete and largely unsatisfying offering.

Rating: 4/10

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