I’ve watched some movies more than once during their initial cinema run, but Across the Spider-Verse has broken my cinema viewing record.
I’ve seen it not once, not twice, but three times in total in the cinema; once a week since its release date on 1 June 2023.
I’m not even a big Spider-Man fan. I’m not the type who watches the latest superhero movies. Yet this is one film that I really cannot stop appreciating.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) is a direct sequel to the first film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).
The first movie was critically acclaimed and became the first non-Disney and non-Pixar film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature since 2011.
When I watched Into the Spider-Verse, it was immediately apparent why the movie was receiving so much praise. It was funny, heartfelt, thrilling, and visually breathtaking.
It only took fifteen minutes of Across the Spider-Verse to make me realise that not only did they reach the level of the first film, but they completely outdid themselves.
Across the Spider-Verse is more than just a movie. It surpasses what we usually expect of animation to create an ambitious explosion of colour, action, and story.
Plot: Serious, dramatic, and keeps on building
The first movie serves as the hero-origin story of our protagonist Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and introduces the idea of a multiverse, where familiar characters have different iterations.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Across the Spider-Verse, you’ll know that they’ve expanded upon the idea by introducing more Spider-Men.
However, our hero doesn’t travel across dimensions till a good way through the movie. That’s not to say there isn’t any action, there are plenty of fight scenes and swinging scenes.
Mixed between the fast-paced action scenes are emotional moments that let you slow down, take a breather, and feel for the characters you are watching.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have its funny moments either – the jokes are usually well placed, brief, and don’t overstay their welcome.
Across the Spider-Verse is 140 minutes but doesn’t feel like it. Only the last portion of the movie felt a little dragged out, but with good reason as it was building tension for the third film.
During my second viewing, I noticed the audience collectively relax their shoulders when the title of Beyond the Spider-Verse appeared and the credits started to roll — the tension was that high.
Acting: Every character gives it their all
Although Into the Spider-Verse had many serious and heartfelt moments, Across the Spider-Verse introduces more drama into the mix with other storylines.
There are so many scenes where you can’t help but sympathise with the characters. The acting, music, and animation all help to paint these heartbreaking experiences.
For me, Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfield) definitely stole the show. The sheer panic and sadness that she portrays, coupled with the animation and music in her portions are easily my favourite scenes.
The portrayal of the Morales family was great too. The way they interacted with each other really made it feel like they truly had a parent and child relationship.
I particularly liked Rio Morales (Luna Lauren Vélez), Miles’ mother, who has more lines in this movie. There’s one scene where she lectures Miles that really reminds me of the classic ‘Tiger’ mom.
Another thing I liked to see was how she and Miles would sometimes swap between Spanish and English, which is so relatable to any bilingual or multilingual person.
I could go on and on about other characters in the movie that were amazing, but I want to end this section by giving praise to its villains – they deserve respect too!
Visuals: A masterpiece of art and film
Every scene in Across the Spider-Verse is a form of visual eye candy. While the first movie was stunning, Across the Spider-Verse knocks it out of the park.
The film takes the multiverse concept and uses it to showcase different visual styles. One character is made up of newspaper clippings, another with scribbles, and there’s even a Lego dimension.
When I finished watching Across the Spider-Verse the first time, here is how I described the film’s aesthetics: “Imagine Mob Psycho and Spider-Verse and Life is Strange all mashed together.”
The various art styles aren’t used purely for aesthetics but are woven cleverly and artistically into the story to make a visual cinematic masterpiece.
In one world, the colours of the scenes change based on the character’s emotions and those of the people around them. You can even spot reflections of their Spider-Man ego in the backgrounds.
The amazing visuals are one of the main reasons I went to watch this in the cinema three times, because this is one film that should be enjoyed on the big screen if possible.
Soundtrack: I’m listening to it right now
While some animated movies use modern pop songs that can be out of place, Across the Spider-Verse makes sure to use music and sounds to emphasize a scene and highlight a character.
I only noticed this detail on my third viewing, but during the battle against a medieval-themed villain, you can actually hear the ringing of church bells and opera singing mixed into the music.
Each of the Spider-Men also has their own special theme that really represents who they are and help you get a feel of how their character is like before they even speak.
For example, there is a friendly and positive Spider-Man who has upbeat cultural folk music in their theme. Another has loud heavy hitting electric guitar and drums which matches his wild personality.
Perhaps the best thing about the soundtrack of the Spider-Verse franchise is that it doesn’t even feel like a movie soundtrack – it could easily be a separate album.
Memang conclusion: One of the greatest movies ever made?
📖 Plot — 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
🎭 Acting — 4.5 out of 5.0 stars
🎥 Visuals — 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
🎵 Soundtrack — 4.5 out of 5.0 stars
🍿 Memang score — 4.5 out of 5.0 stars
I would consider Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) a must watch movie and maybe even one of the best animated movies out there.
Perhaps weeks or months later, I might rate this film differently. Maybe I am blind to the hype and amazement of the film at the moment.
It’s also possible that the third film might change my mind, because I would have to see how the story is going to play out to make a concrete judgement.
But for now, even though I’ve already gushed so much about this movie, I feel like there is so much more I want to say that I may need to write another article about it.
Because I’ve always been certain of what was my favourite movie of all time. Now I’m not so sure anymore, and maybe that’s a good thing.
If you’re thinking about watching this film, then you should pay close attention – every detail is there for a reason – you might miss something on your first viewing.
Featured image: Sony Pictures Entertainment