‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ struggles to live up to legacy of first film in series


‘Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse’ takes viewers through a diverse, seemingly random variety of new settings and parallel universes. The movie starts out with a short anecdote about Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and her early conflict with her father. From there, the plot slowly builds, bringing new characters to life and complicating Miles Morales’s (Shameik Moore) role as a superhero. Audiences learn more about Morales and what the future could possibly hold for the spiderverse.

It took this movie a while to get into the action and build on the well-formed plot from the first movie. Some unnecessary beginning details could have been cut short to allow the main plot to evolve more. The relationship between the Spot, a new villain, and Morales should have gotten developed more to make the rest of the movie more coherent. There should have also been more focus on the inner struggle of Morales. His life was changing in major ways, but the plot always seemed to be running away from these ideas and allowed no time for self-reflection.

The plot did succeed in certain aspects such as the relationship between Morales and his parents continuing to be heartwarming and authentic. The serious moments were balanced out with some humorous moments that made these parts of the movie very entertaining. Specifically, Morales’s mother Rio perfectly executed the role of a stern but loving Puerto Rican parent.

The relationship between Gwen Stacy and Morales was dynamic but deserving of more screen time. This pair is a staple to the Spiderman franchise, so they should be seen together more.

One standout aspect was the creative characters introduced and the familiar faces brought back in the movie. In particular, the Spot was a clever villain to bring into the plot, making it more entertaining for lovers of the Spiderverse comic books.

Of course, the graphics were the best part of the movie. Everything from the fighting scenes to the characters’ appearances to the portrayal of a Brooklyn neighborhood was done well. The graphics were the perfect amount of contrast between dramatic and sensitive moments. The colors popped out of the screen to indicate switches from one universe to another.

Since ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse’, the prequel, was such a strong movie, the flaws of Across the Spiderverse easily stand out. However, some parts of the movie saved it for me. The vision behind the film is very unique which I appreciated. It upheld many of the key qualities of the prequel. All in all, Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse is worth seeing for its innovative ideas and spectacular visuals.

Grade: B