Film: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K Thompson
Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Jake Johnson, Issa Rae, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Rachel Dratch, Daniel Kaluuya, Michael Rianda, Andy Samberg, Jason Schwartzman, Karan Soni, Amandla Stenberg, Jorma Taccone, Shea Whigham
This sequel builds upon the nuts and bolts of the previous avatar, taking the scope to a much broader level. The film plunges audiences into a frenetic journey across dimensions, using familiar characters and new faces. Creatively unprecedented, it is surprisingly emotionally resonant too. The spider-verse gets expansive (beyond imagination) and the homage to the past allows you the luxury of taking a trip down memory lane alongside.
Like in the first film that came out nearly five years ago, the animation style continues to be groundbreaking as it captures the imagination and allows the viewer to be intimate with dynamic characters and their individual angst. ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ takes cinema animation to a new artistic high, while elevating the stakes and exploring uncharted territories.
The animation represents a visually rich and resplendent chaos. There’s so much variety in every frame that your mind will have to go into overdrive just to absorb all that’s happening on screen. It’s obviously an upgrade from the first, holding on to the beautiful original and unique art style even while introducing newer artistic flourishes. The kind of chaos unleashed on screen is obviously not for everyone. Kids might get a high seeing so many spider-people at the same time, but it also makes it that much more difficult for them to process and enjoy the experience in totality.
The voice acting is also distinctive enough to help separate similar characters existing in different timelines. There are multiple plots running simultaneously, intertwining with each other, making events merge in such a way as to generate hyper action. The narrative delves deeper into the classic characters of the first film while allowing them to grow, evolve and face new challenges.
The writers also use roller-coaster transitions from humour to playful to serious and more — making it turbulent and dynamic. The film spins so many spider tales at the same time that you will be awestruck by the sheer magnificence involved in having numerous spider-people and references thereof.
You see Spider-Man comics, film, TV, and gaming history celebrated in noteworthy fashion with each character being elaborated upon with a different art style, motion, and voice acting.
Miles Morales still struggles with his responsibilities both as a young teenager and as New York’s only Spider-Man. Gwen Stacy’s story is much more developed and the troubled Miguel O’Hara is another great addition to this franchise (in addition to many others, including Pavitra Prabhakar — the Indian Spider-Man voiced by Karan Soni).
The film has it all — heartwarming moments, radical breaks from the past, and thrilling action wrapped in thought-provoking, inclusive themes, thus making it a unique cinematic experience.