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Get caught in the web of the Spider-Verse
Justin at the Movies
Spider Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the follow-up to the unique, innovative and bizarre animated adventure from 2018. If the first movie was only the tip of the iceberg of multiple Spider-Men or women, then this sequel expands on the level of creativity and inventiveness in such a way that no one will be left disappointed. 

Shameik Moore returns as the voice of Miles Morales, who is Spider-Man in Earth-1610. He's still trying to figure out his identity while buckling under the crushing pressure of his parents' expectations. Hailee Steinfeld is back as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman from Earth-65. She's interested in starting a rock band while also trying to live up to her dad's reputation, who still remains oblivious to her secret identity.

They're reunited when a new villain known as the Spot (Jason Schwartzmann) emerges. He's a scientist whose body is covered by black and white dots and his unique powers are that he can travel through any multiverse. He can also soak up the power of any word he lives on. Like so many great comic book villains adapted to film, Schwartzmann brings a terrific balance of allowing us to empathize with his plight. There is an inevitable connection between the Spot and Miles which I won't reveal.

Miles and Gwen team up with other Spider-Men and Spider-Women from across the multiverses when they're able to teleport all over the world to join forces. It's here where the film's beautifully trippy animation is launched at full throttle. 

I can't say that I'm able to solve the mysteries of the Spider-Verse and how these characters all intertwine, but I know that this series is a wonder in the animation genre. There are some genuinely remarkable animation sequences that stretch the boundaries of what is capable in an animated film and the results are riveting and stirring in a way very few animated films manage to succeed. 

However, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has much more going for it than gorgeous visuals. There's also a great deal of character development that feels authentic and the voice-over work by the cast is one where we know they're fully invested in these characters. 

The plot never gets too murky to the point where we get lost in the action and there are some high stakes that raise the bar from what was done in the first film. This could easily be in the same league as The Empire Strikes Back or The Dark Knight. If anything, this sequel is fertile with possibilities for how the story will continue. 

Fans will appreciate its animation, humor, brains and the unsurprising amount of heart that this sequel has as did I. 

The Spider-Verse is an ingenious franchise that does something very few movies leave us with: Praying for a sequel and high hopes for a perfect trilogy. 


Grade: A-


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