The sole purpose for the review of this film is to remain as vague as possible with my analysis. "Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse" follows the surprise success of the critically acclaimed and Academy Award-winning "Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse" released in 2018. Its predecessor utilized innovative technological advancements, furthering the element of capturing the fantastical comic book realm of Spider-Man.
Admittedly, my initial reaction to the first film prior to the feature was a solidified method of low expectations. One of my assistant managers from work, Jeremy Carter, recommended that I take the direction of alleviating my hesitation and view the film. To say I fell in love with the story, characters, visuals and concept is a complete understatement. Sony Entertainment reinvigorated the animation style by presenting the world of Spider-Man in authentic comic book format with the usage of spectacular colors, dazzling visual effects and an emotional storyline perfect for audiences of children, adults, comic book fans and general audience alike.
"Across The Spiderverse" continues the unique and complicated journey of young Miles Morales, continuing the path of carrying on the mantle of being the one and only Spider-Man in Brooklyn after the events of the first film involving several multi-verse Spider-Men from different timelines. This sequel shows the development of Miles maturing in maintaining his family, educational and superhero activities, understanding and at times refusing to accept the consequences that come with being a hero.
Gwen Stacy, under the mantle of Spider-Woman, finds herself facing a dilemma of gaining some form of inner and physical peace. Her timeline is filled with tragedy, questions, emotions and loneliness while seeking a place where she's ultimately comfortable. Both of their worlds clash with the multiverse, establishing a connection between the two characters that builds upon the bond they have with one another. A new villain emerges coined with the moniker The Spot, endowed with the ability to create and travel worlds, using his powers to open portals. Unfortunately, the stronger he becomes, the more his existence threatens the fabric of time and space, altering events that often change for the worse in the process.
Without going into detailed spoilers concerning the overall synopsis involving dialogue, references and shocking revelations, I can and will say without any hesitation that "Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse" absolutely and positively surpasses its previous film in every way, shape or form. The fact that this came after a five-year wait cements it as literally the best animated superhero film of all time in my opinion.
A main reason for a sequel is establishing a path of surpassing the story that came before it in a fashion that successfully provides strong development of characters, captivating and powerful storytelling resonating with the audience, adding more emotional weight to the stakes at hand and even showing no fear with introducing more of a darker element of focusing on the consequential measures of decisions surrounding time, fate and loss. Visually this film is astounding with how every frame on screen is clear, pristine, innovative, lifelike and spiritual in the sense of embracing the comic book element without feeling forced or ridiculous. It's difficult to explain how innovative the presentation is relating to how the story was created and realized. I can only say that in order to fully understand my description, you should experience the film for yourself. How the artists, writers, producers and directors found a way to surpass the dazzling display of visuals, storytelling and pushing the emotional dynamic of the voice acting is beyond my understanding.
This animated adventure is perfect in every way imaginable. "Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse," in my eyes, successfully explored the confines of the multiverse better than any other Marvel or DC film ever could. I myself was captivated with the journey of witnessing unique and quirky timelines of other Spider-Man characters filled with references to past and current events. Many of the highlights for me were the characters of Spider-Punk, Spider-Woman (Gwen Stacy version) and Spider-Man 2099 portrayed by critically acclaimed actor Oscar Isaac. Spider-Man 2099 was one of my favorite incantations of the character, for it brought back memories of my childhood collecting those comics while living in Germany.
It's important to avoid all spoilers, walk into this presentation with a fresh perspective and not allow yourself to fall into the temptation of being exposed to detailed spoilers. This film has every element for all audiences on both sides to enjoy. There are exciting and innovative action sequences, beautiful, complicated imagery, wonderful and emotional voice acting, intense scenarios revolving around actual consequences pertaining to stakes at hand and a cliffhanger that will either make you upset at the ending or excited. How I review this film is for its 2-hour-and-20-minute run time, it didn't feel long, nor did it drag in my opinion. I would've been perfectly fine with the story continuing immediately afterward for another two to three hours. That's how captivating this story is from beginning to end. When I mention perfect, that's the definition of this magnetic form of cinema. It's absolutely perfect.
"Across the Spiderverse" is an absolute must see for comic book fans of all ages. It's a story that families, children, teenagers and adults can easily relate to and have fun experiencing. My final rating is a resounding and much-deserved 10/10. Please do not miss this film.
Isaiah Ridley works at Beacon Cinemas in Sumter. To watch his movie reviews online, find him @Izzy's Cinematic Escape on YouTube.
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