Like many a nerd, I have spent the last few weeks glued to my Nintendo Switch playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (which I admit to playing as I do this review)
What makes it a truly effective sequel to the brilliant Breath of the Wild is not just the story (which has elements of Infinity War, time travel, and even Spirited Away) is that it expands upon its already vast world into new heights. The same can be said about Spider-Man: Across the Spider Verse, the sequel to the animated masterclass Into the Spider Verse.
Not long after the events of the first film, young Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is seen doing what we Spidey fans know every Spider-(wo)man has to deal with in the early days of their career: trying to balance fighting crime with having a somewhat every day life. Sadly for Miles, his real friends were not entirely of his own universe and left him in the first film. That changes when he gets a revisit by Gwen Stacey (Hailee Steinfeld), who we get to see more depth too as a character in this film. What she is doing in his universe I will not dive into: This is a film that I refuse to spoil further.
I even wish to refrain from mentioning the characters but I will tread lightly. The vocal cast is rather remarkable, including the likes of Brian Tyree Henry, Jason Schwartzman, Karan Soni, Issa Rae, and an almost unrecognizable Daniel Kaluuya. The biggest stand out is Oscar Issac as Spider Man 2099 (who was featured in the now legendary post credit scene in the first film).
I am struggling to come up with the right words to describe the animation of this film (for any word I use will be understating the effect of the film), but I will have to settle on simply stellar. As you may have gathered from the title (as well as the trailer), this film settles in more than one universe, each of which has their own animation style. You can see why this film (as well as the upcoming third film) were pushed back, and it was all for the better.
Even with the plethora of universes and their unique art styles, the core of every good Spider-Man flick is how relatable the protagonist is (especially to teenagers). Deep down, we all want to do what is right with the limited amount of time we have in our schedules (this was perfectly exemplified in 2004’s Spider-Man 2). We are always, in our own ways, thrown in situations where choices may seem like life or death. And, of course, we all just want to be told it is all okay at the end of the day.
Parents, the film has been compared to the likes of The Empire Strikes Back, but not just because of quality. It is indeed a darker film, mainly due to its themes. It has some casual swearing for a PG movie, but nothing too drastic. If you kids saw the first one, they are fine here.
At two hours and sixteen minutes, the film’s length is indeed the only minor qualm, even if it barely drags at any moment, even the intentionally slower, tender moments. I for one could not think of what part to cut if I were editing this.
Even at this length, I should note I did not get up once during the film to use the restroom.
And I consumed many liquids before and during the film.