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  • Hamish Hart

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) Review

RATING: 8/10

AUDIENCES were stunned five years ago when Into the Spider-Verse released in theatres with its visual story-telling and meaningful characters. Nearly five years later, Across the Spider-Verse, in many people's eyes, lived up to the height of its predictor by meaning greater in every aspect. But for my money, despite both reaching the pinnacle of cinematic animation, the sequel swung just a little shorter.

After helping save his universe from a cataclysmic event, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) continues to adopt the Spider-Man persona until Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), a familiar Spider-Friend of Miles, gets him entangled in a multiverse crisis that could wipe out all realities if not handled correctly -- a principle Miguel O'Hara (Oscar Isaac), Earth 928's Spider-Man, is insistent on sticking to.

When compared to its sequel, Into the Spider-Verse was much more grounded in reality despite tackling the concept of multiple universes. Across the Spider-Verse capitalises on this concept set in stone in the previous film by jumping across a litany of universes filled with hundreds of Spider-People, each with their own unique personalities and traits. While not every single Spider-Person is explored on a more-refined level, the film takes its time with the main heroes by further exploring their backstories and current situations, most notably Gwen Stacy who receives some of the film's most emotional scenes, particularly those in the beginning and end.

This isn't to say that she takes up the spotlight as Miles continues to evolve from the lackadaisical high-schooler in Into the Spider-Verse to an emotionally-conflicted hero struggling to maintain his balance between life and legend. The additional Spider-People Miles meet in this movie aren't quite on pair with the originals due to the sheer amount on screen at once, but Hobie Brown (Daniel Kaluuya) and Miguel O'Hara were phenomenal additions to the story, with both affecting Mile's perception on what it means to be a hero and how he can change the meaning of it.

If you mention the Spider-Verse movies to anybody, chances are the first thing that comes to mind will be the visuals. In an unshackling turn of events, Across the Spider-Verse visually improves everything from the first, once again blending a multitude of art styles to tell a coherent and engaging story. Hardcore and casual fans alike will also enjoy the easter eggs sprinkled amongst the action, encouraging viewers to rewatch these scenes in order to fully-appreciate this spectacle of Spider-People.

Across the Spider-Verse is a tricky film to review. The final product is without question the best animated feature I've witnessed in quite some time, managing to be equally emotional and hilarious. On the other hand, one of the best aspects of the original was its ability to deal with a multi-universe dilemma while still being able to tell a story grounded in reality. The original's biggest strength was its focus on Miles, Peter, Gwen and the others as people, with their Spider-Person abilities being a smart story-telling device to warrant action and further expand on its game-changing visuals. The sequel, while incredible, is a great passion project while the original is simply avantgarde -- and its hard to compare greatness to perfection.


About Me

Hamish newsheadshot_edited.jpg

Born in Longreach in Central West Queensland, I have undertaken a number of prominent roles across the region such as Journalist and Digital Media for The Longreach Leader, as well as appearing on critically-acclaimed radio stations ABC Western Queensland and 4LG and West FM to discuss all things film.

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