Over the past 3 months, I’ve seen “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” over 4 times in theaters, not even including all the totally legal at-home viewing. What makes this movie so great? The moving story? The unbelievably gorgeous art style? The underpaid and overworked animators? (No seriously, look up the conditions the directors put them through.) Join me as I review (spoilers included) what I would call one of the greatest superhero films of all time.
The Art Style
The art style of ATSV, to nobody’s surprise, is gorgeous. When I first saw it on its release date, I was awestruck by how much better the animation had gotten since Into the Spider-Verse (ITSV), which already pushed the boundaries of animation. There are many more unique art styles, from the beautiful watercolors in Gwen’s universe to the chaotic and never-conforming Hobie universe (Fun Fact: it took animators 3 years to get his unique style right, and he’s animated at around 6 frames per second), and of course, the classic comic book cell shading of our favorite Miles Morales. The styles all merge so well and look amazing on the big screen. The web-swinging scenes were my personal favorites, as they had so much character and thought put into every frame. Every frame is a masterfully drawn art piece in itself and could easily be someone’s wallpaper.
The main theme of ATSV is to never let someone tell you that you don’t fit in, a sentiment felt by Miles, as he feels like he doesn’t fit in under the Spidey moniker at times. Being reassured by his mom, someone he previously felt didn’t understand his struggle, was a very moving way to address the other themes of expectations and family. His struggle to balance his home and hero life is on full display here and works so incredibly well. Being someone who feels like they have problems balancing the different parts of their life and fitting in (minus the web swinging, unfortunately), I resonated a lot with this story. Hearing Miguel O’Hara tell Miles he was never supposed to be Spider-Man, leading to Miles breaking free from his cage and leading hundreds of Spider-people on a city-wide manhunt throughout Miguel's dimension, served as an inspiration to not only me but anyone else who can see themselves in Miles’s shoes to learn to break free from the expectations of others and “do your own thing.”
Closing Remarks and Rating
ATSV is one of the most successful movies of the year, making nearly $700 million at the global box office. Despite a sequel release slated for 2024 and multiple delays due to the writing and acting strikes, I am still looking forward to watching the last movie in the trilogy, Beyond the Spider-Verse. Even so, ATSV is by far my favorite movie of the year, maybe of all time. Everything, from the performances to the art style to the moving story of family and expectations, blends together to make quite possibly the best Spider-Man film of all time, and I give it a resounding 11/10.