Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson
Starring: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Vélez, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Daniel Kaluuya, Mahershala Ali, and Oscar Isaac
Movie Length: 2 hours 20 minutes
Darren’s thoughts: The second animated Spider-Man film from Sony further expands on the multiverse concept that formed the backbone of the original (and has now been integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe). This provides a great opportunity to bring in a lot more spider characters, some of whom are fan favorites and some of whom are deep cuts. Where the first movie was focused on Miles Morales, this film promotes Spider-Gwen (one of my favorite characters) to a lead role.
What do you need to see/know before seeing this movie? Seeing the first film is almost required to understand what is going on with this movie. Knowledge of other Spider-Man movies or books is not required, but it will add to your appreciation of the film. One of the best parts of Across the Spider-Verse is how it integrates comic storylines, art styles, and characters.
Across the Spider-Verse starts a bit slow, but once it gets going it is a fun ride chock full of spider-hero goodness. My only complaints are the cliffhanger ending (totally frustrating when you have to wait a significant amount of time for the next film) and the sound levels on the voice work. I checked with others to make sure it wasn’t just my experience and found that many people have some difficulty at times understanding the dialogue. This is a shame, as there are tons of zippy lines and Easter eggs to enjoy.
Here is my Through the Lens podcast review of Across the Spider-verse:
Darren’s Score: A – I’m a huge Spider-man fan so the odds were very high I’d love this film. It did not disappoint.
Dan’s thoughts: Wow. Let me start by saying if you enjoyed the first movie in this series, you’ll enjoy this one as well…maybe even more. Once the movie introduces the main characters and gets rolling, it’s a lot of action squeezed into just over 2 hours. As Darren said above seeing the first movie is almost a requirement before you see this one. Spider-Gwen moves from a non-primary role in the first movie to a primary role in this movie, along with introducing a few new major characters from the comics including Spider-Man 2099 and Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew. Of course we have to talk about Spot who will being the catalyst for what happens in the movie, I thought was underused.
The various animation styles (some coming directly from the comic book source material) was terrific (I recognized some of the art styles and sat through the credits to see if I was correct…and some of the comic book artists didn’t surprise me). Some of the Easter eggs (both from the comics and the Sony live action movies) got a good reaction from the audience who I was seeing it with at a pre-screening. The movie does end on a major cliffhanger which will lead into the next movie in the series, which as of now is set to be released sometime in 2024.
Dan’s Grade: A. Great animation, great storyline, and great characters make for a great movie.