If you’ve watched or read any reviews talking about, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, or have been talking about it since the sequel was announced, then one of the first things you’ve probably noticed that’s been used a lot is, it has very big shoes to fill. Yes, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one of the greatest modern animated films that I’ve seen and lucky for me it was a Spider-Man movie and it’s one of the top Spider-Man movies of all time. Everything about that first movie was just on point and I can’t think of a single thing that it did wrong. Which is why Across the Spider-Verse has such large shoes to fill.
How do you make a sequel to a film that is the closest to perfect as you can get? Well, you do what the team does by giving us Across the Spider-Verse. The question is, is it better than the first? Hmm? Yeah, I know you’re already going, oh no, he’s going hmm and thinking about it so it must not be, but that’s not it. Lets compare the 2 movies (yeah I know that is kinda what I was already doing but just follow along). With Into the Spider-Verse, it’s been 5 years (ugh feels like maybe a year), since it was released, and since then I’ve watched the movie many many times. I’ve had a lot of time to pause and study and try to figure it out and to just sit back to watch and enjoy it. Across the Spider-Verse came out today (yesterday really since I watch it on June 1), I’ve only watched it once, and though I was paying as close attention as I could, it’s impossible to have seen everything that is happening in it.
With that knowledge I can’t honestly give a fair comparison to the 2 films to place a judgment on whether or not Across the Spider-Verse is better than Into the Spider-Verse. So, what can I say? Was it good? Yes! Ok, now you’re wondering, if it was good and you can’t say if it was better than Into the Spider-Verse, then can you say if it is equal to it? Yes!
That’s right, though I can’t say for certain if it’s better than Into the Spider-Verse, I can say it is at least equal to it in my enjoyment of it. As I sit here writing this and thinking about the movie and all the scenes and my feelings I had while watching, I’m starting to begin to think that I just might rank this one as being better than the first one, at least in a lot of departments, maybe not overall, it’s really tough to beat the first, especially one that does what ItSV (I’m going to start using abbreviations for the titles, less to type and no hyphen), but AtSV does things that ItSV didn’t.
I won’t give any spoilers, not yet, maybe later in another article, but for this one I’ll just touch on a few aspects of AtSV that makes it so good. The first being the biggest one that I’m sure is what everyone is thinking about, the animation of it. With ItSV, the animation broke the mold of what an animation can look like and what you can do with it. The style was so beautiful and different that it stands out over almost all animations. Before ItSV, almost all of the animated films being made looked alike. Even when years went by between some, the sequel would look almost the same as the first. Sure, there would be improvements that made it look better but it was taking (and I don’t mean to belittle any film I’m just using as easy to see in you mind reference), taking a cardboard box that’s plain for the first movie then with the sequel taking the same box but putting some ink lines on the corners to give it some more visual appeal, and then with the third giving it a logo on the sides to add to that visual design or maybe changing the brown of the box to a red color. Yes, each one adds to the previous to make it look better but it don’t look different.
With AtSV, the team making it took the film into even more of what they did with the first. When it comes to Miles, the style was the same but very much improved upon, and yes that fits into what I said above, however, that was only with his character. When the other universes and characters start to appear, so does the change in style. It’s not just as simply as taking a character from a cartoon that came out in the 60’s and putting next to an animated character of today. The 2 would look completely different, sure, but that’s all it would be, and AtSV does not just do the simple. In this the animations show the difference of everything, the difference of the worlds and universes, how their moods change the environment, the way the environment reacts to them, and how the Spiders look next to each other. This is yet another stunning film for animations and with some of the added bonuses, (no spoilers), this one I think does take the award for being better than ItSV.
What AtSV does not do as well than the first one, in my opinion, is the soundtrack. When I watch ItSV, the music that’s used to support the scene is great. That opening with Miles listening to the music on his headphones established the mood of Miles, we knew right then who he was, but we also got to enjoy a good song that makes the scene just that much better. Not that AtSV don’t have good music, it does, it just doesn’t have the same level as the first. I mean, it is near impossible to be better than the first, so if there was anything to complain about, then not having as many songs is not that bad of a complaint. It’s not like there isn’t good music, there is, just not on the same level.
If you are wondering what variants of Spider-Man appear in AtSV, I’m here to tell you, a lot. It’s a fine line of being overwhelming and just plain whelmed. If my life depended on naming all of the versions that appeared in AtSV I wouldn’t stand a chance. There is just too many and too much going on at the same time for me to been able to see even half of them and remember them. Though, it’s not a bad thing that this did happen. It makes total sense for the movie and the way the story progresses it had to be the way it was. At no time in the movie or after leaving and over the hours as I’ve been thinking about it, have I thought, wow there was too much going on and it was distracting. It’s not and it’s not. In fact, I’m going to bet that when the move comes out where I can watch multiple times and pause it, I will be thinking that there should have been more in there. One of the other amazing about the Spider-Man’s in this, was how they showed them interacting with the environments. Spider-Man is not a typical human walking around but someone who can stick to anything, anywhere. There are scenes showing how they look at the world upside down, being able to sit upside down, hanging from an outcropping on a skyscraper. The ability to walk on a walk like they are walking on a sidewalk or swinging through the buildings like it was nothing. Seeing Spider-Man fight is cool but seeing the parts that only Spider-Man can do in life is so well done that it makes me want to be able to stick to walls.
Now lastly, how was the villain of the story, the Spot? Ok, this was one of my only real gripes and it’s only a small thing that is a me thing and nothing against the movie itself. I was not too thrilled with the look of the body of the Spot. He just looked a bit too alien like. Like I said, that’s a me thing, maybe I just saw him in a way that he is not, but maybe that is the way the artists wanted him to look and to make me see him as, in that case, bravo to them for doing that. Beyond that, I got to say, I loved the Spot. He’s been around since 1984 but hasn’t been used that much and has always, for most part, been treated as a joke with no real explanations given to why he was in this or that comic. But when I read the comic, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #98 and #99, I loved the Spot. He has this very odd look to him with the black dots on the white body, and being able to make the spots that teleport wherever he wants was so cool. I still rank PptSSM #99 cover as one of my most favorite covers.
In AtSV, the Spot is shown the same as he was in the comics, especially that first appearance, where he is a joke more than a threat, and to Spider-Man, he is just a joke that’s wasting his time. Then Spider-Man starts to realize that the Spot is no joke and that though he is weird and looks like a Dalmatian, he is not to be trifled with, and I love that. This character is so dangerous and the only reason I’ve come up with on why he’s always treated as a joke is that he is so dangerous. It’s easier to explain or show that if there is a character with enough power to take out Spider-Man with no training and not even trying and doing it with such ease, is to make that character a joke so that Spider-Man can take him out in the end. I mean how could you beat someone if you can’t beat someone? That’s the Spot and he is really used well in this movie.
I can’t wait to see the sequel to see how they wrap everything up, sucks that I have to wait another year before I can see, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. Oh, before I end this, there are no end credits to this one so, unless you just want to see the credits, there is nothing once it ends, well, there is the title of the third film, but not added scenes.