Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse continues the misadventures of Miles Morales, the teenager who struggles between being a son, a superhero, a student, and a Spider-Man who’s not the right one.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Synopsis
With great power comes great responsibility. For the Spider-People across the Spider-Verse, that responsibility is always preceded or followed by great tragedy too. But what if such tragedies are preventable? Are the world-erasing anomalies that ensue worth risking? Miles Morales examines this dilemma the hard way. He also learns that he is not necessarily the neighbourhood hero that he strives hard to be.
I begin with a summary. I deeply enjoyed Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse not just because of its exuberant art style but also because it’s all about thorny morality discussions.
Unlike recent MCU movies which presented the concept of a multi-verse as a cosmic threat to be avoided at all costs, Across the Spider-Verse sidesteps all of that and dives right in, embracing a paradigm of many Spider-People as inevitable and manageable. Through the developments, the story then brings in a parade of increasingly ugly ethical questions.
Questions such as: If someone is doomed to live the worst moments of your life, should your prerogative be to help that person avoid what you’ve suffered, even if it means doing so would create a new catastrophe?
And if you opt not to help, is it because you are aghast by the likely consequence? Or is it because you want that other similar soul to thoroughly experience what you have gone through?
Now, by stating the above questions, I’m already giving too much of the story away and so I’ll leave that as that, and move on to the art style. The eclectic mix of 3D, 2D, and even live-action cinematic snippets that has won acclaim from all over the world.
Back in 2018 when I reviewed the first movie, I wrote that I enjoyed this unorthodox approach but nonetheless found it a wee bit too dishevelling, for the lack of a better word. To be honest, it still took me a while this time around to adjust to this eclectic art style but perhaps the presentation has been refined, or perhaps it’s just the magic of the middle movie, I find myself savouring the barrage of colours and giddying action more and more.
There’s an irresistible energy, you see. An unrelenting, unabating electricity that keeps pushing the story to higher and zanier, and grimier grounds. As so many reviews have pointed out, the unrestrained imagery also accomplished what has evaded so many superhero films. It captured that “panel-to-panel” thrill of reading a classic comic book. You just want to keep reading/flipping. You just want to keep discovering the craziness, the exuberance, that lies on the next page.
One word: magnificent. It is a magnificent experience so satisfying that I actually didn’t mind that much that the movie ended on a cliffhanger—I normally loathe this. In fact, Across the Spider-Verse is such a fulfilling watch that I now worry whether part 3 would match up.
The final movie in a trilogy usually … doesn’t live up to expectations. (BIG SIGH) But who knows? Maybe the incredible talents who gave us this superb sequel will deliver. At the moment, still high from all that energetic energy, I’m inclined to believe that they would.
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