REVIEW: ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ a love letter to Spider-Man

The new ruler of franchise references in films

An official poster of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.


An official poster of “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”


I will come right out and say that “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is the best Spider-Man movie. Period. Andrew Garfield’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” is still my favorite installment of the webslinger, but this new movie is the best.

From the stellar, unique animation to the surprisingly intense and mature storyline, I think “Across the Spider-Verse” really takes the cake and cements itself as one of the best superhero movies.

Growing up, Spider-Man was always my favorite superhero. I remember reading every comic book that I could get my hands on, as well as a guidebook of sorts that had information on all things Spider-Man. I had checked out that book from my elementary school library all year.

This movie is a sequel to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and somehow tops the incredible animation style that the first movie had.

While it can be hard to serve the animation justice through words alone, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” is animated in what can only be described as a comic book style, with text boxes popping up to emphasize characters’ words or actions, as well as giving some funny, tongue-in-cheek descriptions of what is happening.

Probably my favorite example of this animation style is in Spider-Gwen’s universe, where everything is animated in what appears to be a watercolor/pastel style. What makes it even cooler is that the colors and animations change in that universe depending on her mood and the things that are going on around her.

While the concept of there being a seemingly infinite number of universes and Spider-People could get a little bit confusing at times, the movie does a good job of narrowing (I use that term loosely) the number of important Spider-People variations down to approximately 10.

My favorite of the Spider-People is probably Hobie Brown, or Spider-Punk, a Cockney British version of Spider-Man who wields an electric guitar, a despise for “the system” and all things fascist. Brown provided good comic relief through what was a pretty intense movie.

On that note, I was really surprised at the approach this movie took. I know that the story of Spider-Man is not necessarily a happy one, but there is always a light that shines through, and this movie pushes that boundary.

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” tells a really human story about acceptance, fitting in and the overall importance of family. At the core of this movie, the story is about Miles Morales and his internal struggle of balancing his relationship with his family and his dreams and aspirations as Spider-Man.

I want to avoid talking about the plot because I think that it is best seen in the theater and not read about. So much of this movie comes from the visual effects that I mentioned before; the little accents and animations that the movie includes really help flesh out the story and meaning behind everything going on.

An aspect of this movie that I found interesting is that essentially none of the plot points were brought to a conclusion. Spoiler alert: there will be a part two of this movie.

The Spot was a weird addition to the movie; he was not necessarily the main antagonist of “Across the Spider-Verse” but he was the main villain. You will see what I mean if/when you watch the movie, but just keep an eye out for that aspect; it was one that I found intriguing and unique.

If you have read my review of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” I had crowned it the king/queen of references. I am afraid I have sworn in the royalty too early; “Across the Spider-Verse” has a truly impressive basket of Easter eggs and references to Spider-Man’s rich and vast history.

Each iteration of Spider-Man is chock full of personality and character, even if only shown for a few seconds. The Ben Reilly version of Spider-Man is super dramatic and hilarious, while Spider-Man 2099 is an intense, no-nonsense version of the character that is surprising and unusual to see.

This movie brought me back to my childhood in a way that was so much fun to experience. Spider-Man has always and will always be my favorite superhero, and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” seems like a love letter to the character that I love the most.