Warning: minor spoilers ahead
Superhero fatigue was something that has been happening to everyone. After Endgame, Marvel lost its charm and with the disappointing release of Antman and the Wasp Quantamania, many people, including myself, were very skeptical about the future of superhero movies. On June 2, 2023, the highly anticipated sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, was finally released in theaters. It’s been almost five years since the first Spider-Verse movie was released, which was a technological marvel for it introduced a whole new form of animation. The question is, does Across the Spider-Verse live up to its predecessor? I am happy to say, not only does it live up to the first movie, the animation, story and soundtrack exceeds my expectations, and has cured my superhero fatigue.
The sequel follows Miles Morales and his life as Spider-Man. After operating as Spider-Man for many months, learning new abilities, and meeting various new villains, he meets up with Spider-Gwen to help her take down a multiverse-hopping villain called the Spot. With the help of the Spider Society, led by Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099), Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), Hobart Brown (Spider-Punk), and Pravitra Prabhakar (Spider-Man India), they hop through the multiverse to take down The Spot.
Right off the bat, the animation is pure eye candy. Every frame, every second, every scene was made with pure love. The scenes are wallpaper-worthy with colors splashed all over the screen. The film deals with a lot of multiverse shenanigans, so as a result, every separate universe has a unique art style. Gwen’s universe has radiant pink glowing skies with white shadows, while Spider-Punk has a more “hand-cut and glued” animation style. The film also takes animation to a whole new level: text bubbles are used frequently, and some scenes align the camera in such a way that it feels as if they were ripped straight out of a comic book, an homage to Spider-Man’s comic book origins.
The soundtrack is astoundingly good and, dare I say, better than the first movie. It’s stacked with many big artists like Metro Boomin, JID, and Lil Uzi Vert. The background music would be one of the catchiest tunes, even in a scene with just two characters talking. Every Spider-Man has a unique genre of music associated with them and every time one of them appears on the screen, the music changes accordingly.
One of the strongest and weakest elements of this movie is sadly the story. Now to clarify, the story itself is not bad in any way — it is spectacular — but its execution leaves the audience wanting more. The final 10 minutes had all the ingredients coming to place as they introduced new villains with completely new arcs, new storylines, and brought back some familiar faces. Just as all these elements were brought together, the credits rolled. All this buildup was just for the studio to hype the sequel, Beyond the Spider-Verse. In the end, it felt like the movie was meant to be watched as a two-part sequence.
Regarding the story itself, unlike the first movie, Across the Spider-Verse fleshed out the stories of other Spider-Man variants. It gave a glimpse of what it’s like in their worlds and what they are going through. This created a much-needed depth for Miles’s allies, while increasing the audience’s emotional connection with the characters. However, the character that stole the spotlight for me was the Spot. His whole character arc is like a snowball rolling down a hill — he starts off as just another “villain of the week” but by the end becomes a terrifying force to be reckoned with.
In conclusion, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a love letter to the character Spider-Man with gorgeous animation, melodious tunes and a very compelling if incomplete story. It is the movie we needed to cure superhero fatigue, I cannot recommend this movie enough. If you have the time, even if you don’t, go watch it.