Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review: A Fantastical Family-Focused Film
The Spider-verse films are in rare company, being some of the only excellent comic book films in modern times. I truly didn’t think it could get better than the first film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), but it absolutely took it up a notch.
Light spoilers ahead about certain characters appearing but not about any major reveals or twists.
For Spider-Man, It’s About Family
Between Rio Morales’ beautiful speech about being yourself, to Peter B. ‘s anxiety over being a good dad to little Mayday, the theme of parents struggling with their purpose in their kids’ lives was prevalent throughout the film.
Rio and Jefferson want the best for their son, while he still can’t figure out how to share his biggest secret with them. Gwen’s dad is a cop who is hell-bent on taking her down (in costume that is), with his grief and rage drawing a wedge between them. Peter knows he doesn’t have this “new dad” thing down correctly, but he’s doing his damn best. Jessica Drew is a mom-to-be that is grappling with what it truly means to be a good person when you lose sight of the little things.
A Multiverse of Responsibility
Full disclaimer, I am not a Marvel reader, in fact, Spider-Man was my least favorite superhero growing up. I say all this because there were so many cool concepts introduced in this new film and I’m very impressed if it was created just for the film versus being based in comic lore.
One of those things being the Spider Society. The few Spider-people we met last time was amazing, but up that by about 4000 different Spiders across the multiverse. We’ve got Spider-Horses, Spider-Cars, Spider-Cats, including fun new characters like the Spider-Man of Mumbattan with the best quotes.
Spider-Punk was a personal favorite of mine with his rants on capitalism and fascism, while generally just raging against the machine. The vast array of Spider-people wasn’t just impressive for the visuals, it was impressive for how much they managed to flesh out a lot of these personalities.
Visually Stunning From Hair to Different Earths
Everyone – from production to art direction to costume design – deserves a round of applause. Each Earth and its inhabitants had distinct art styles unique to them, like the steampunk Vulture or the Lego world (yeah, it canonically exists in the multiverse). It helps to keep the audience from getting too overwhelmed and confused by all the new faces.
One of the things that struck me the most, was the use of color especially in the first part of the film where we learn more about Spider-Gwen. Her moods changing with the color and the backgrounds mixing and remixing during her conversations with her dad were strokes of visual genius.
Before I wrap this up, I want to say all the Puerto Rican references (my mother is from Puerto Rico) made me smile. Seeing Miles’ relationship with his mother reminded me a lot of the warmth, comfort, and stability I feel when I talk to my mama. A+ from me for that reason alone.
TLDR: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) is a brilliantly fun, family-focused event that will tug the heartstrings of everyone across every generation. It’s for you, me, your dad, your best friend, his older brother, their grandmother, your aunties, etc. I can’t wait to go back and rewatch with my own family.
Rating: 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. However, when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders. He must soon redefine what it means to be a hero so he can save the people he loves most.
Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson Written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and David Callaham Starring: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Vélez, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Daniel Kaluuya, and Oscar Isaac