‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ was a smash hit that allowed fans to dive into the world of Spider-Man and the characters’ many different comic book versions. Of course, the storyline focused on the journey of Miles Morales, who had just gotten his Spider-Man powers and was just starting to learn how to become Spider-Man after the death of his dimension Peter Parker. The first movie’s storyline ended well enough without a cliffhanger but opened up the possibility of more stories about the Spider-Verse.
The sequel, ‘Across the Spider-Verse,’ had just been released in that regard. The storyline continues the individual journeys of both Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy as they navigate their way through their own universes. This time, their stories are now more intertwined than ever before. And there are good reasons to love this movie as much as the first one.
The first thing noticeable about ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ is that the character backgrounds are now more fleshed out. Of course, we already know a lot about Miles’ background, and it was great that the second movie started out by allowing us to see more of Gwen’s past in her own universe. It was great to see what kind of family she lived in and how she became who she was. Of course, we loved how her background allowed us to see how lonely she felt the entire time and why she loved being around Miles.
Even though we already know Miles’ past, the second movie added more color to his ever-evolving character as he is still a teenager trying to navigate himself through the world of puberty and self-discovery. While he may be Spider-Man, he understands he is still a teenager with a family to look after. And the fact that he has to balance between his life as a superhero and his identity as part of a family was given more attention.
Of course, the new villain was also given his own character background. Calling himself the Spot, this villain seems to have a very human personality that focuses more on his quest for revenge without taking away the fact that he isn’t exactly evil. The antagonists, who aren’t necessarily villains, were also given good background stories that let us understand what made them tick and why they had their own perspectives on certain matters.
Overall, the characters had stories that were fleshed out better than in the first movie. ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ made us understand every single one of the characters more humanly, as we can’t really say that someone has a wrong perspective. The movie did well in allowing us to see the different kinds of personalities involved without sacrificing its high-quality storytelling.
Another thing that ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ did incredibly well was in the visual department. We already saw in Into the Spider-Verse how well the VFX team blended different art and animation styles into an animated movie. But ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ improved on that aspect by seamlessly blending different characters with the different environments that they found themselves in.
For example, Spider-Punk has a more cartoonish and comic-y art style but is still able to blend well with his surroundings. We could also say the same about the live-action scenes that were prevalent in the movie, as there were live-action characters that didn’t look out of place in an animated surrounding.
Like the first movie, the colors can be quite vibrant and too shocking to the eyes. But there wasn’t anything unnecessary regarding the movie’s visual appeal. In a way, it was just as consistent as the first movie in terms of how well the visuals captured the viewers’ attention.
But while the characters and the visuals are great, the story of ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ truly captures the audience’s attention. The first movie was more of an introduction to Miles Morales and the universe he lives in. However, the second movie allowed us to see how Miles fits into all of this.
We already know that there are a lot of different Spider-people that live in different universes across the large multiverse. But Across the Spider-Verse did an exceptional job at handling Miles’ character arc while explaining what makes him different from the other Spider-people.
Miles was always different in terms of his color, race, and personality, and that’s why he was a refreshing departure from the usual Peter Parker-focused Spider-Man movies and stories. And it was this movie that made us see why and how he is unique not only in terms of his powers but in terms of his beliefs.
Simply put, ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ did its job of portraying how Miles wants to be different. He isn’t the same kind of vanilla Spider-Man we’ve seen in other movies and comic books because he has his own story to tell and is looking to pave his own path as a superhero who no longer has to allow fate to tell him what to do. If he had to choose between two options, he would choose the third option that wasn’t presented to him but is still very much an option for him.
Of course, let’s not forget that the origin of his superpowers was also one of the aspects that made him stand out when compared to other Spider-people from different dimensions.
Let’s not forget how Gwen Stacy also fits into all of this. She was introduced at the start of the movie as someone who was just looking for her own band because she always felt different from other people. Nevertheless, it was through Miles that she found comfort in the first movie. But her relationship with him was also at the center of the larger issue involved in ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ as she was made to choose between her own beliefs as a superhero and doing what society wanted her to do as far as the greater good was concerned.
As the second part of a trilogy, ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ was always meant to be The Empire Strikes Back in terms of its overall atmosphere as the “bad guys” are able to get a step on the good guys, who are still in the middle of trying to fix their personal issues.
The film allowed us to see how human and vulnerable the characters can be as they are now looking to recover from this setback and bounce back stronger than ever in the third film.
So, with all that said, ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ is a fantastic follow-up to the first movie and did a phenomenal job at raising the stakes even higher to set up the events of the third movie. It opened a larger Spider-Verse that allowed fans to dive deeper and deeper into it. As such, those hooked on Into the Spider-Verse will surely get reeled in by ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ just in time before ‘Beyond the Spider-Verse’ completes the catch.
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