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Erik Swann

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse Reviews Are Up, See What Critics Are Saying About The Animated Sequel

Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

There are a number of big movies releasing between now and Labor Day, and one of them will finally make (or swing) its way to the big screen at the end of the week. The highly anticipated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is set to make its debut, and the hype surrounding the film seems to be building by the day. The surprisingly emotional first trailer alone was enough to hook any fan, but the footage that’s subsequently been shared just keeps impressing. Last week, members of the press shared positive reactions to the Spider-Verse sequel and, now, full reviews are popping up on the web – no pun intended. So what are critics saying?

It goes without saying that there are sky-high expectations for this film, which is a follow-up to arguably one of the greatest animated movies ever made. The question that everyone’s probably wondering now, of course, is, “Well, does it live up to that standard?” Based on the reviews that have been pouring in, it may actually surpass its 2018 predecessor. CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg had nothing but great things to say about Across the Spider-Verse in his review and has a number of reasons as to why he believes it’s the superior Spidey flick: 

The sequel is everything that is great about its predecessor but even bigger and more impressive. Tonally, it swings between hilarious and devastating; the main characters only develop to be more complex and fascinating; the dramatic stakes are magnified and impressive; and the massive artistic swings are bliss. It’s everything you want it to be, everything it should be, and more.

That’s some serious praise and, to be honest, a portion of fans may be skeptical. However, our review isn’t the only one to hail the movie as an improvement on the first. Valerie Complex shared similar sentiments while reviewing it for Deadline. She also argued that the film manages to set itself apart from other comic book adaptations in a key way: 

What sets this film apart from other superhero fare is its sheer commitment to authenticity. From the comic panel-like transitions to the dynamic action sequences, the movie exudes an organic love for its source material. It isn’t just a film but an experience and a nod to every Spider-Man fan who has ever flipped through the pages of a Marvel publication. The watercolor animation is a lustrous blend that swirls together to create something bold, enchanting, and innovative. It is a true step up from its predecessor, using a colorful palette that brings every frame to life as each scene appears as though it’s hand-painted. This further enhances the movie’s storytelling, elevating the stakes in a way that feels fresh.

Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse picks up with a slightly older Miles Morales, who’s now settled into his role as New York’s defender. He soon reunites with his old friend Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen and eventually gets thrust into a multiverse-hopping adventure. Along the way, he gets on the bad side of Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2009 and comes into conflict with a host of other Spider-People. THR’s critic, Lovia Gyarkye (who mostly enjoyed the movie) appreciated the emphasis on Miles’ personal struggles, but believes there’s an element that undermines that: 

… Miles’ identity takes center stage, but not totally in the ways you might expect. The film retains its signature tone — moving between humor and sentimentalism with a light touch — but there’s a greater effort now to connect Miles’ origin story to broader lessons about superhero canons. That doesn’t always land as gracefully, and parts of Across the Spider-Verse feel weighed down by this need to belabor a well-established point. Still those moments can be forgiven as the story unfurls, revealing that Miles, with his new challenges, remains a hero worth rooting for.

Of course, one can’t discuss this movie without mentioning the brilliant animation, and that was on display in a scene involving Miles and Gwen going for a swing. (CinemaCon attendees were treated to that moment.) Ross Bonaime of Collider lauded the animators for the way in which the movie blends tones: 

The possibilities here are literally endless, as we see worlds like the futuristic Spider-Man 2099 universe, a world that looks even more like a comic book, and even a Lego world, just to name a few. Each universe is captivating in its own way, and the way Across the Spider-Verse seamlessly intertwines all these inventive concepts together in a way that makes narrative sense is appallingly brilliant.

It sounds like there’s going to be a lot for moviegoers to take in but, thankfully, it appears that all of it is rooted in the character dynamics that were established several years ago. Tom Jorgensen made note of this in his review for IGN

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse surges with visual inventiveness and vibrance in an undeniably strong evolution of the style established in Into the Spider-Verse. Miles and Gwen’s search for their place in the multiverse is relentless and exciting, almost to a fault, and though the plot is often an afterthought to the pure chaos of creation on display, strong performances and character arcs that feel true to the heroes we met last time help ensure that Across the Spider-Verse is a more-than-worthy follow-up to an all-time classic.

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m now even more excited to see what the directors – and producers/writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller – have in store for us. The movie was already reported to be on track for a strong opening weekend at the box office, but this additional buzz could bolster it even further. We’ll just have to wait and see how it does in that regard but, right now, know that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opens in theaters on June 2 as part of the schedule of 2023 new movie releases

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