Film review: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the highly anticipated sequel to the groundbreaking film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is out in UK cinemas today. Great family film for the last weekend of half-term.

While it boasts stunning animation and a fantastic soundtrack, the film falls short in terms of its thin and stagnant plot. However, it still manages to capture the essence of the Spider-Verse and offers a visual spectacle that is a feast for the eyes.

Spider-Man- Across the Spider-verse london mums magazine collage

One of the standout features of Across the Spider-Verse is its cutting-edge animation. Just like its predecessor, the film pushes the boundaries of what is possible in mainstream animation. It seamlessly blends different art styles, incorporating split-screen panels, cross-hatches, and Ben-Day dots that have now become synonymous with the Spider-Verse franchise. The film also introduces new visual landscapes, such as Gwen Stacy’s home world, which is filled with vibrant colours and abstract designs inspired by the works of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint. The attention to detail and creative use of animation techniques make Across the Spider-Verse visually stunning and a testament to the power of animation as an art form. 

My favourite character from the multiverse has to be rock star Spidey who looks like Jimi Hendrix.

Another strong aspect of the film is its soundtrack. The first film set a high bar with its music choices, and Across the Spider-Verse continues that trend. The pulsating score by Daniel Pemberton adds to the intensity and energy of the action sequences, while the selection of songs helps create a dynamic and immersive experience. The soundtrack complements the visuals and enhances the overall atmosphere of the film.

However, where Across the Spider-Verse falls short is in its plot. The narrative feels thin and stagnant, lacking the depth and complexity that made Into the Spider-Verse so engaging. The film is divided into two parts, with its conclusion set to be explored in the next instalment, Beyond the Spider-Verse. While it’s understandable that the film sets up for future events, the climax of Across the Spider-Verse overdoes it with cliffhangers and montages of spider-characters, making it feel excessive and overwhelming. The lack of a compelling and well-developed plot detracts from the overall experience of the film.

Despite its shortcomings, Across the Spider-Verse does excel in its portrayal of the multiverse. The film seamlessly integrates different versions of Spider-Man from various dimensions, paying homage to the rich history and cultural impact of the character. It successfully balances fan service with genuine creativity, offering cameos, gags, and visual references that will delight fans of all ages. The film’s ability to integrate itself into the wider cultural landscape is commendable and serves as a reminder of the significance of comic book films as a legitimate form of storytelling.

Ultimately, Across the Spider-Verse is a mixed bag. It excels in its animation and soundtrack, providing a visually captivating and immersive experience. However, the thin and stagnant plot hampers its overall impact. The film serves as a bridge to the next instalment, but its excessive use of cliffhangers and lack of narrative depth prevent it from standing on its own as a compelling story. Despite its flaws, the Spider-Verse franchise has earned its place as a beloved and unique part of the superhero genre, and fans will likely find enjoyment in this latest instalment.

The trailer

London Mums’ rating: 6/10

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