Film, TV + Theatre

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ review: The best Spider-Man film

Feat of animation


By Marissa Chin

IMAGES: Sony Pictures Entertainment
‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ review: The best Spider-Man film

Spider-Man fans have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and with good reason. The first animated instalment, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, was acclaimed and revered by critics and fans alike for its innovative art style and heartwarming storyline. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any negative review on the film because it was quite simply a masterpiece. Now five years on, the highly anticipated sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is about to hit theatres tomorrow and I’m here to tell you—it’s even better than the first.

Before you raise your eyebrows at that statement, believe me, I don’t say it lightly. Seeing as the 2018 movie was already incredible, the bar was exceptionally high for me going into the screening and I had no idea how the follow-up was going to top it. Alas, Across the Spider-Verse came swinging in and knocked every other Spider-Man movie out of the realm of consideration for best Spider-Man film to date. Read on to find out why in our spoiler-free review.


The Spider-Man story feels effortlessly original 

Since we were first introduced to the web-slinging superhero on the big screen, Sony Pictures has released six Spider-Man movies: we had three different Peter Parkers, three different Aunt Mays, two different Mary Janes and three different Green Goblins. And they all tell the same story. At this point, we’ve had the backstory of Peter Parker drilled into our heads: boy gets bit by a radioactive spider, uncle dies due to said boy’s mistake, and he learns how to be a superhero from that life-changing event. 

It’s a sticky trap any Spider-Man character can easily get stuck in but Miles Morales is someone who refuses to get tangled up in the web of clichés and contrivity. Right off the bat, this is a different Spider-Man than what we’ve been accustomed to. There is a Peter Parker that exists but the focus on Morales makes for a refreshing new plot as the teen comes with his own set of trials, tribulations and dreams. We see this explored a lot more in Across The Spider-Verse in which Morales fights to tell his own story, one that diverges from the usual Spider-Man script. It feels unique and not at all like we’re trudging towards the inevitable plot lines. When I see huge canon events not happen the way I expect them to, it reinforces the fact that this movie truly redefines what we think Spider-Man is and shows us what Spider-Man can actually become.


The visuals are even more astounding 

Another aspect of what makes Across the Spider-Verse so great is the absolutely amazing visual experience you get. If you were mesmerised by the first film, you’ll be floored watching the second (seriously, I lost count of how many times my jaw dropped). I may be going into hyperbolics but there really isn’t any other way to describe the incredible comic art style in the film. The stylised animation is back in full force—we have the classic Ben-Day dots, speech bubbles, comic-book captions for internal monologues and multiple panels displayed across the screen. I was able to watch it in an IMAX theatre and I implore you to do the same if you are able to. As Harry Styles once said, “It feels like a movie…a ‘go to theatre’ film movie.” Yes, I may not have totally understood you then, Harry, but after watching Across the Spider-Verse, I do. 

The visual treat also comes in the form of a plethora of Spider-People that will get fans frothing at the mouth. As seen in the trailer, Morales enters the Spider-Verse and discovers a Spider Society full of Spider-People. Each of these characters has its own unique art style that can be easily told apart from the others. There are over a hundred Spider-People featured, and yet, not one of them looks out of place. Most importantly, Morales still stands out in a sea of blue, red and black. 


Characters, characters, characters

It’s so easy to be taken by the animation of the film but without a solid ensemble, it can still fall flat. With Across the Spider-Verse, much of the film is also carried by the characters that are written exceptionally well. More than just a superhero movie, the film is, at its core, a touching character-driven piece that makes me care for the person behind the mask. I don’t just fawn over Spider-Man’s cool web tricks and stunts, I also root heavily for Morales as an individual. While he is the star protagonist, we also get substantially more screen time for Gwen Stacy AKA Spider-Gwen. We dive into her tragic backstory and find out who she is beyond being Morales’ love interest and villain-kicking teammate (which is more than I can say for other films). Other Spider-Man iterations that debut in the film also get proper introductions and motivations.

The villain of the sequel called The Spot is also a standout. He may seem friendly in the trailer, but by the end of the movie, he will prove to be a formidable antagonist that pushes Spider-Man to his limits. Morales also buts heads with Miguel O’Hara AKA Spider-Man 2099 and the tensions between them are played out so well, I was tense in my seat the entire time.


The throwbacks and references never end 

If you’re someone who touts Marvel’s No Way Home as the best Spider-Man film of all time, chances are, it’s because you loved the nostalgia it offered. Good news: Across the Spider-Verse is chock-full of it! With so many comic book, pop culture and cross-MCU references, the film is bound to induce giddy moments from die-hard fans and casual movie watchers alike. 

I was “oohing” and “aahing” at many scenes, thinking how certain character cameos and Easter eggs would open up the door for so many developments in the future—and let’s say, it’s looking very exciting. After all, Peter Parker already mentioned Doctor Strange and the nerd in the trailer so don’t be surprised when we see a live-action-animation crossover soon!



Across the Spider-Verse is a gift of animation that feels unlike any other superhero movie we’ve seen. I rarely give movies a perfect score but this film is flawless. From its tender storyline, and innovative art style to the solid script, Across the Spider-Verse is in a league of its own. Unlike the usual superhero fatigue I have often felt with past releases, this film has the opposite effect on me. Instead, I feel reinvigorated and filled with the same sense of wonder that captured me in the first movie. I was reminded of the magic and comfort a superhero can offer, and why Spider-Man is a well-loved hero and person. We’ve seen many iterations of Spider-Man and dare I say, I’m ready for more now. But this time, with Miles Morales behind the mask.

Rating: 10/10


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