Watch out…there’s a new universe in town…
With Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse which is in theatres today we get the multi-layered, genuine and emotionally vibrant tale that feels like the films of Don Bluth and Satoshi Kon had a baby ultimately setting the bar for comic book movies somewhere truly different.
Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar®-winning Spider-Verse saga, an epic adventure that will transport Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man across the Multiverse to join forces with Gwen Stacy and a new team of Spider-People to face off with a villain more powerful than anything they have ever encountered.
To say that Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is the near perfect collision of emotionally driven story-telling and unrivaled spectacle on screen could easily be confused for hyperbole…except for the simple fact that it’s true. The realities are that this film not only takes superhero storytelling to emotional heights that are real and earned but it is a visual feast for the eyes as this hybrid style of animation which borrows from all the best things that have come before it makes for something that is equal parts familiar but also incredibly fresh.
While it could be said that having three different directors and three different screenwriters for this film which is admittedly the first in a two part installment that will finish up next year, what we receive here is simply a gift that will reward on multiple viewings.
This film is unabashedly fearless in maxing out the bang for its buck in the spectacle department we are also treated to layers and layers of nuance that not only allow for three dimensional characters that we can get emotionally invested in, but also for plenty of treats for the hard-core fans of the material and the Spider-Man character.
It’s a visually sumptuous affair that manages to find a style all its own as it borrows from many classic animation motifs while mixing in Japanese anime stylings that simply make the material pop from all ends. As gorgeous as some of the material that we see come out of the likes of Pixar and Disney is, what Sony Pictures Animation essentially does here is reinvent the classic rule of book of how these things are supposed to look.
In many ways the visual design of these films is simply absolute chaos, but the beauty and the method in the madness is always apparent as the strength of the characters that we are following in this universe never goes away.
Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld continue their patter and existence as two confused kids trying to find their way in all this madness with a real sense of beauty that captures the essence of the confusion and emotion around accepting the responsibility of being Spider-Man. All while new voices like Daniel Kaluuya, Oscar Isaac, and Issa Rae bring new layers to it all as the everyman relatability of Jake Johnson’s iteration of Peter Parker bring it all back down to earth.
It’s all thanks to writing which is smart, fun but emotionally very grounded as it never loses sight of what the emotional journey of being Spider-Man actually means. It feels weird to say that comic book movies haven’t been this well written up to now, but in all honesty and particularly in the Marvel universe this actually rings true. With everything going on the narrative (and trust us it’s A LOT) this movie never loses its way.
While 10 months is ultimately going to be a long wait until we get the conclusion of this master stroke of a film, it also feels like it’s just enough time for us to watch and re-watch Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse so we can truly appreciate what a piece of art this piece of unabashed popcorn, spectacle driven cinema truly is.