Review: ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

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“He’s lying to you ………and I think you know it.”

Rated PG (SONY & Marvel Studios) 

I say this in all sincerity and with the solemnity of a priest, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is even better than the previous film. And I don’t make that claim lightly, because as we all know, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was an absolute visual and creative beast. 

Shockingly, this latest installment actually builds upon the original. Set in Brooklyn and centered on Miles Morales (who is Puerto Rican and Dominican), as he struggles to strike a balance between crime-fighting as a recently christened Spider-Man and maintaining good grades at a prestigious magnet high school and, all in secrecy from his family (for their own safety).

The film’s ‘intention to details’ is staggering. It is bursting with myriad vibrant, sumptuous, intricate aspects of Black & Brown cultures. Plus, the very specific and numerous variations of strategic, eye-popping animation styles are stunning and truly next level.

Even the arc transitions are spectacular and creatively done. The dizzying array of Easter eggs and fast-moving, never-ending minutia are inspired and meticulously placed while the action sequences and pacing are to the point of exhausting. The compelling and surprisingly emotional intertwining stories will have your heart-racing and your pulse-pounding as it keeps you utterly absorbed up to the last minute. 

Foremost, especially for a franchise that’s only in its second phase, it’s beyond impressive how we’ve all come to care so much about this endearing character whom we can almost feel the crushing weight of numerous worlds on his small, 15 year-old frame.

What he’s going through is intense and relatable (and ultimately, extremely isolating), and that aspect about him makes us want to reach into the screen and hold Miles tightly as if he were our own. Most impressively, “Across the Spider-Verse” brilliantly excavates, exhumes, sifts, breaks down and reassembles (on a number of levels) core tenets of Miles’ incarnation of the Spider-Man mythos and it is breathtaking.

And despite his appearing alongside legions of similar counterparts, this film crystallizes why Miles Morales is so special. Longtime, diehard web-heads will love this film and newcomers and casual observers are going to be wildly entertained by it. 

With almost baffling ease, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” will not only meet your expectations, it will exceed them. 

Click image to watch trailer

Andre is a Los Angeles-based writer and stand-up comedian.

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