Review | “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” an unexpectedly heartfelt story


Courtesy of IMDb

Promotional image for “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (2023)

By Maaike Niekerk, Summer Editor

** This review contains spoilers **

Prepare to come out of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” with the powerful urge to hug your parents and never let go.

The sequel film has everything you would expect after seeing the first — high-speed action, colorful artwork, a brand new super-villain — but delivers even more with its heartfelt storyline.

At first, the biggest issue for 15-year-old Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is getting to his college counseling session on time.

He makes it to the meeting extremely late after fighting off a goofy “villain of the week” who calls himself “The Spot.”

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    After this mishap, Miles faces pretty big consequences in several aspects of his life — while the Spot escapes and begins to create holes in the multiverse, Miles’ parents ground him and start to question their relationship with their son.

    While the thought of different dimensions merging into each other and entire worlds being dissolved is terrifying,  the theme of family love shown through each character in the film is even more emotionally impactful.

    Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) — who is from a different world than Miles — has a hard time forming a connection with her father, a rough and unstable police officer who has been attempting to arrest her for months.

    The washed-up Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) has just had a child, and while their unbreakable bond is extremely cute, it serves as a constant reminder of the connection Miles and Gwen can’t seem to find with their own parents.

    Even the seemingly fearless Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) — yet ANOTHER Spider-Man — once had a loving daughter in another world, but lost her to one of the dimension glitches.

    Alongside the storyline, the visuals of the movie are brilliant. 

    After “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won best-animated feature film at the 2019 academy awards, there was no question that the sequel would have a lot to live up to in terms of animation. The film absolutely delivered.

    Designed to look more like a comic book than the traditional Pixar-esque glossy animation, the artwork is what sets the “Spider-Verse” films apart from other animated superhero movies.

    The sketchbook-style animation also lines up with Miles’ artistic inclination, making it almost seem as though he could have sketched out each frame in the movie himself.

    In every cinematic universe, Spider-Man has always had a slightly different feel to him than other superheroes.

    As a teenage kid, he always struggles with the enormous responsibility of saving New York — or in Tom Holland’s case, the universe — and the fact that he has to juggle his homework and family life on top of it all is nothing short of hilarious.

    Miles Morales maintains a lot of the character traits that Spider-Man had embodied in previous portrayals, but he offers something different from every past Spider-Man film series — while the traditional Peter Parker is an orphan, Miles has parents.

    Many aspects of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” were a huge hit. The soundtrack delivered on all fronts, the characters were lovable for all ages and the action sequences were absolutely mind-blowing.

    What will stick with you the most after seeing this film isn’t the superhero trying to save the world — it’s the teenage kid struggling to form a connection with his parents.

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