In movie history, it’s indeed a rare thing when a film sequel surpasses its original predecessor in quality and entertainment value. The examples are few and typically far between.
“Godfather II” surpassed the spectacular “The Godfather” in execution and quality, an incredible feat.
“Aliens” succeeded in being better than the singularly original sci-fi classic “Alien” with an intense action-filled storyline.
Now add SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE to that mix.
Just five years after its 2018 predecessor “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” burst onto the screen with an Oscar-winning turn as that year’s Best Animated Film Academy Award winner; this sequel has all the right stuff to duplicate that honor.
Some believe it should be considered as a “Best Picture” nominee and I don’t disagree.
This sequel returns to the ongoing story of teenager Miles Morales as he continues to become more confident and comfortable as a young crime fighter, while navigating high school adolescence.
However, the key focus at the start of this film is Gwen Stacy AKA Spider-Gwen, the teenage crime-fighting web slinger from another dimension that helped Miles in the first film.
Both teens have a connection that goes beyond climbing walls and catching bad guys. Like many teens, they miss each other’s mutual understanding as friends; and the bond they share has more than a small hint of budding romance.
Gwen is eventually recruited into a group of Spider heroes from worlds across the “Spider-Verse” who capture and return escaped criminals.
However, when she makes an ill-advised return visit to Miles’ world to see him again – events spiral out of control to threaten the entire existence of the worlds inside the Spider-Verse and everyone within.
This film presents a visual story telling experience via animation that is truly spectacular. Myriad animated styles mix, blend and enhance each other to form nothing less than a masterpiece in animated storytelling.
The action and complexity of the animation is a visual feast of color and movement; combined with quieter moments of subtlety and emotion that are spellbinding.
The connection between Miles and Gwen feels as real as if they were portrayed by real actors.
An added bonus is the carefully crafted and executed way Miles’ Latino family and Brooklyn neighborhood are accurately portrayed. Whether it’s a rooftop neighborhood BBQ birthday party or the sprinklings of actual Spanish and “Spanglish” into the dialogue; this attention to Latino / Boricua culture is one of the most welcome and celebratory touches in a mainstream film.
Every Latino will recognize touches of their own mothers in Miles’ loving, affectionate and, at times, stern mami – in body, personality and demeanor.
SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is genuinely amazing, astonishing and spectacular in every way. It’s definitely earned its place as an early Oscar contender.
In short, SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE is simply the –
… BEST. SPIDER-MAN MOVIE… EVER !