In 2018, SPIDER MAN ACROSS THE SPIDER VERSE Sony Pictures Animation ventured into the superhero blockbuster universe with the release of the animated sensation Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
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Helmed by directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, the film featured a star-studded voice cast including Shameik Moore, Jake Johnston, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicolas Cage, and Liev Schreiber. The story followed the journey of a young high school student named Miles Morales, who assumes the mantle of Spider-Man in his world and becomes embroiled in a multiverse-threatening crisis, teaming up with other Spider-People from parallel dimensions. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swung into theaters on December 14th, 2018, earning widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike for its animation, characters, humor, story, and voice acting. The film also swung its way to over $384 million in box office earnings against a $90 million production budget. Additionally, it earned prestigious awards, including the Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards, making it the first non-Disney/Pixar release to achieve this feat since 2011’s Rango. It also claimed accolades at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, the 46th Annie Awards, and the 72nd British Academy Film Awards. Given the immense success and critical acclaim, a sequel was greenlit by Sony. Now, after five years since its debut, Sony Pictures Animation, along with directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, is ready to dive back into the “Spider-Verse” with the release of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Does this highly anticipated sequel live up to the lofty standards set by its predecessor, or does the hype overshadow a mediocre second installment?
THE STORY OF SPIDER MAN ACROSS THE SPIDER VERSE
Having embraced his role as the latest SPIDER MAN ACROSS THE SPIDER VERSE Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) faces the challenges of balancing his life as a superhero while concealing his secret identity from his concerned mother, Rio (Luna Lauren Velez). Meanwhile, his father, Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry), is promoted to captain in the police force. Miles’ life becomes even more complicated when Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), also known as Spider-Woman, pays him a visit. Gwen has her own burdens to bear, including leaving her father, George (Shea Whigham), who is unknowingly on a quest to find his own daughter. The situation escalates with the emergence of The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), a scientist turned supervillain, who is determined to harness his portal-opening powers and wreak havoc on Spider-Man. Fearing chaos across all realities, Gwen reveals her affiliation with the SPIDER MAN ACROSS THE SPIDER VERSE Society, a group of Spider-People from various dimensions led by Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac). As Miles joins this diverse group of Spider-People and strives to tackle The Spot, Miguel becomes suspicious of Miles and his manipulation of different realities, which could spell doom for them all.
THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES
It has been several years since the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018, and upon revisiting it recently, the film still holds up as an exceptional animated gem. When the movie was first announced, I admit I had reservations. At that time, Tom Holland’s live-action portrayal of Spider-Man had garnered significant attention with films like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War. So, the prospect of another Spider-Man iteration, especially in animated form, left me somewhat skeptical. However, Sony Pictures Animation proved themselves more than capable of delivering a captivating animated Spider-Man story, bringing Miles Morales into the cinematic spotlight. The film offered a fresh and unique take on the character while maintaining elements familiar to long-time fans. It introduced a spectacular, multiverse-style adventure (before multiverse shenanigans became common in mainstream superhero blockbusters) and paid homage to the Spider-Man legacy. The film’s animation was a visual treat, breaking away from traditional 3D/CGI styles and embracing a unique, comic book-influenced aesthetic. This paved the way for other studios to experiment with animation styles in films like Mitchells vs. the Machines, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Bad Guys, and Klaus. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a delightful surprise, offering an engaging origin story for Miles Morales while appealing to both new and seasoned Spider-Man enthusiasts.
This brings us to SPIDER MAN ACROSS THE SPIDER VERSE, the eagerly anticipated 2023 animated sequel to the 2018 hit. As mentioned, Into the Spider-Verse was a thrilling animated adventure with the potential for sequels. Despite the quick greenlighting of a second film, it took some time for the sequel to materialize fully. Perhaps this was due to securing the right talent or creative direction. Regardless, the idea of a follow-up to this iteration of Spider-Man remained on the horizon, generating excitement and anticipation. The buzz for the sequel grew stronger as it was announced that the film would be released in 2022 as a two-part story. However, the first part was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing the theatrical release to the summer of 2023. With the film’s trailers generating immense excitement, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse had substantial expectations to meet. Having watched it during its opening weekend, I can confidently say that this sequel was outstanding. While it had some minor drawbacks, it delivered an electrifying expansion of the previous film’s concept, featuring breathtaking animation, humor, and deeper character development within its cinematic universe.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, brought to you by The Movie Hubs, proves itself as a worthy sequel to the 2018 animated hit. Building on the success of its predecessor, the film delivers an exciting narrative, stunning animation, and memorable characters, all while exploring the multiverse concept. While it may only be half of the story, it stands on its own as a thrilling installment in the Spider-Verse saga.