Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse (Kemp Powers, Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, 2023): USA

Reviewed by Andrea Weaver at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2024.

Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) effortlessly ensnares audiences through a captivating blend of animation mastery and storytelling brilliance. Like a spider weaving its web, the film seamlessly intertwines innovation and artistry, solidifying its place as one of the highest rated animated movies of all time. Serving as a sequel to Rothman and Ramsey’s Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, this eagerly awaited film continues the saga with a level of depth, creativity, and attention to detail that makes this not just one of the best animated movies of all time, but one of the greatest superhero movies ever created. In the sequel, fifteen-year-old Miles Morales gets a long-awaited visit from Gwen Stacy, his close friend from another dimension. sparking an exhilarating journey through the multiverse filled with new discoveries and challenges.

Continuing from the groundwork set by the first movie, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2018), this film transports audiences back to the fascinating universe where Spidermans of all shapes and sizes from alternate dimensions collide. What I am in constant awe of when I watch this film is the detail in animation; each spiderman has a different frame rate and different animation style that matches their respected dimension. From the smooth, fluid movements of Miles Morales to the gritty, comic book-inspired textures of Spider-Punk, every character feels like a living, breathing embodiment of their universe.

This focus on detail doesn’t stop at the characters, either. Every area of the Spider-Verse, from the NYC streets to the expansive views of other dimensions, is brimming with character and life. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a film that, in every frame, demonstrates the ability of animation to take us to realms beyond our wildest dreams. By making this decision, the movie was able to feature a wide range of ethnicities and demographics seen through other spider-mans from other dimensions, giving the opportunity for everyone to recognize themselves on screen. Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, and Kemp Powers seemed to have discovered the infinite possibilities of animated storytelling through their ability to successfully create lively worlds within lively universes.

Besides the stimulating visuals, my favorite thing about this film would be the music. The soundtrack, produced by Metro Boomin, is stacked with several incredible producers and music artists. A$AP Rocky, Don Toliver, Future, Lil Uzi Vert, Offset, JID, and 21 Savage are just a few of the collaborators that made this album really stand out, and the tracks always manage to match the on-screen energy perfectly. The music not only makes for a better movie experience, but it also fully immerses viewers in the lively world of Spider-Man, with its heart-pounding rhythms and memorable hooks. Daniel Pemberton’s composing for the original score felt absolutely perfect and fit all of the emotional beats of the film; I could not imagine watching this movie without it.

I almost forget that Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse is deemed as a children’s movie because of how this film is able reach all audiences so seamlessly. It took me sitting with 2,000 kids cheering to Miles Morales during Mike’s Fieldtrip to The Movies just to realize the scale of impact that this movie has on the new generation. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of children having on-screen representation, and animated movies like this one give a sense of inspiration and empowerment that sticks children well beyond the theater’s walls.

About this entry