He’s not the only one
I think we’ve all come to expect a certain quality from superhero movies. Big bad guy, powerful good guy, so much action, people getting bloodied up, the world being saved from total destruction—and it’s all well and good, but Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse proves there is so much more to be done from a storytelling point of view.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opens with Gwen Stacy. She’s angry, alone, missing Miles and struggling with the fact that her father wants her to put her in jail. She comes across an alternate version of Vulture, and meets Spider-Man 2009/Miguel O’Hara and Spider-Woman, who eventually tell her that they’re part of a secret Spider-Society that cleans up inter-universe anomalies.
Gwen can’t help it; she visits Miles even though she is explicitly told not to. And together, they are inevitably catapulted across the Multiverse, and Miles is in absolute awe. After meeting with head honcho Miguel, who explains what must be done (or not done), Miles is hell-bent on doing the exact opposite—resulting in a spider-chase. As the synopsis goes: Miles must redefine what it means to be a hero.
Oh, and there’s a villain, too. The Spot has the power to cross universes, which makes him the ideal villain for the Spider-People.
The animation is spectacular and refuses to be boxed in. There are so many versions of a beloved character that are showcased in so many different mediums, many times sharing the screen with each other. The characters, though essentially the same, are so different from each other and so dynamic that it’s easy to follow the narrative. And Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is so aware of itself, so intelligent that it blows the first chapter out of the water.
The real conflict of the film puts everything we know on its head. When both guys are “good guys,” where do we stand? This isn’t about whether or not you are pro or anti-Thanos; Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is about layers upon layers of principle. Does Miles risk everything for the sake of keeping this in place, or does he pursue what he knows is right (for him)?
Unfortunately, we don’t get much of an answer as we would like, because Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse isn't the end. Even after more than two hours in the cinema, there were audible groans ringing from everyone in attendance.
But the groans were well placed, because Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse does something that not a lot of sequels are able to do. Very rarely do we see a second chapter that bests its predecessor, but this one does so with ease. It’s confident in itself and pushes boundaries—in storytelling, in animation, in what is deemed acceptable in the superhero genre. Watch it, watch it, watch it.
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is showing in theaters now.
Art Alexandra Lara