Reviewer watches ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ at The Light Cinema in Wisbech and says it’s even better than the first film
FILM REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE (PG), SEEN AT THE LIGHT CINEMA, WISBECH
VOICE CAST: Shameik Moore (Miles Morales), Hailee Steinfield (Gwen Stacy), Oscar Isaac (Miguel O’Hara), Jake Johnson (Peter B.Parker)
RUNNING TIME: 2 hours. 20 minutes DIRECTORS: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Hands up, this wasn’t a film I was particularly excited about seeing. My son Alfie is a huge Marvel fan, and although I’ve enjoyed watching nearly all those cinematic universe blockbusters with him over the last few years, I really didn’t believe an animated/CGI film was my bag. How wrong I was.
I dutifully watched 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse the night before to make sure there were no blanks in the plot for me, and I was pleasantly surprised. Although the storyline was uncomplicated, the characters were really three dimensional and deep, despite not being acted by real people. And seeing comic strip pages come alive on TV was really cool.
But was this a great idea that could be successfully followed up? You bet. With top ‘go-to’ review site Rotten Tomatoes rating the original as 97% (critics) and 93% (audience) I felt there was no way the first film good be bettered… but it could. By quite a long way.
For adults, these films are a bit like watching an old black and white movie classic…ie they’re so good you soon forget you’re experiencing a different format. Across the Spider-Verse starts as a Gwen Stacy story before we meet our main man (or boy!) Miles Morales again and together they are catapulted across the Multiverse, and encounter a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence.
When the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles has to redefine what it means to be a hero.
The non-stop action, humour and genuinely warm relationships keep the viewer invested throughout and it’s a refreshing change to see the two main characters portrayed as an Afro-Latino and a (possibly) transgender woman. The latter has not been confirmed but there is evidence across the film which seems to confirm the rumour.
With Black, Asian, queer, and disabled Spider-People too, it’s perhaps time this was translated into real-life actors. But, as I say, who needs real actors? Many of us recently shed tears over a CGI racoon is the latest Guardians of the Galaxy film, and this movie too involves characters and relationships you really care about.
I only have one moan, but it is quite a biggie. Marvel did a very good job of keeping it quiet that this is, in fact, a two-parter. It’s brilliant throughout, but they left us on a real cliff hanger and we’ll have to wait until next March to find out how it is resolved.
By Jeremy Ransome