Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse is a Triumph in the Superhero Genre and Animation as a Whole

Photo shows promotional poster for the film. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

2018’s “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse” took the world by storm, offering an alternative to the incessant crossovers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that was funnier, deeper, and more exciting than most superhero movies to date. It was a true game changer for animation and for the superhero genre. After years of anticipation, its sequel, “Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse,” is out in theaters. The second film in the series is just as exceptional as the first, with breathtaking animation, spectacular action, and a heartfelt narrative that makes most Marvel movies look more like “Justice League” (which is to say, terrible). 

“Across the Spider-Verse” branches out its focus to Spider-men from all universes, alternating the narrative from Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) to Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and several more. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details of the plot, Miles accidentally lets a deadly villain free and teams up with an elite force of Spider-men to defeat him before he destroys the Spider-verse. Meanwhile, Miles and Gwen must balance their secret lives with the stresses of being teenagers.

It feels taboo to start this review with anything other than the animation. It’s not crazy to say this could be the best drawing and coloring ever seen in film. Intricate costumes pop against the stylishly colorful backgrounds, and different sequences employ different art styles. Resembling a comic book, split screens and stunning transitions are regularly used. Movement and life fills every single frame, giving an unstoppable energy to the film. More abstract styles are used on occasion, particularly in sequences featuring Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya) and The Spot (Jason Schwartzmann), and these enhance the characters’ individuality. After all, you can only have so many characters named Spiderman before it gets confusing. The camera whips around and tracks characters at lightning speed during action sequences, which makes it doubly impressive that the movement never struggles to keep up, always looking smooth and realistic, while also being spectacularly cartoonish. 

The action sequences in the film are all exceptional as well. The undeniable highlight is a chase sequence toward the end of the movie, as Miles runs away from literally thousands of Spider-men, led by Spiderman 2099 (Oscar Isaac) and Jessica Drew (Issa Rae). A beautiful blend of kinetic action, hilarious moments (they do the pointing meme!), and dramatic tension ensues as Miles’ pursuers chase him through their futuristic utopia, culminating in a jaw dropping shot of hordes of Spider-men charging forwards toward the top of a train (it’s a vertical train, don’t ask). However, more emotional scenes are equally powerful, particularly those featuring Miles and Gwen’s parents. 

The voice cast does an absolutely brilliant job of bringing the engaging script to life. Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld are great leads, but the supporting ensemble shines brightest. Jason Schwartzmann is hilarious as the villain The Spot, switching from menacing to pitifully funny on the flip of a coin (when robbing a bodega, he describes himself as “Robin Hood, if he gave to himself”). Karan Soni and Daniel Kaluuya bring humor and heart to their roles at Spiderman India and Spider-Punk, respectively. Luna Lauren Velez perfectly portrays Miles’ mom, giving her a genuine warmness. The standout, however, is Oscar Isaac as Miguel O’Hara, a.k.a. Spiderman 2099. The film’s most complex character, he is both sympathetic and infuriating, and he’s one of Marvel’s best villains ever (he often skews closer to antihero). A taciturn leader with a traumatic past, Miguel becomes such a compelling character that you begin to question Miles’ motives in acting against him. 

It would be remiss of me not to mention one of the film’s greatest assets: it’s just really cool. Every second oozes style, from the catchy original soundtrack (record producer Metro Boomin created a whole album for the movie), to the slick camera moves, the epic fight scenes, and the brilliant character introductions (Spider-Punk and Spiderman 2099’s first appearances are infinitely memorable). The film carries with it a sense of insouciant fun that permeates through you during the film, and you’ll be sad to see it end.

I’m going to say it: “Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse” is the second best superhero movie ever made. Although it may not be as good as Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, “The Dark Knight,” the film still stands above hundreds of other competitors thanks to beautiful animation, energetic voicework, and dazzling action sequences. Additionally, It’s a supremely fun film. To quote the great director Bong Joon-Ho, “To me, that’s cinema.”

Lucas Chiorini, '25
Lucas Chiorini is the Culture Editor for the RamPage. He also participates in clubs such as Student Government, Stage Crew, and the YamPage.