Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse sets an unreachable bar for sequels


Content warning: This story contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse made its theatrical debut on June 2. A few friends and I went to see it, and we left the theatre nearly incapacitated. Everything about this movie was so good it was sickening, and I’m still not completely recovered from watching this absolute beast of a film. 

One of the most immediately noticeable changes from the first film are the character designs. While characters like Miles Morales, Miguel O’Hara or Peni Parker are still completely recognizable, they look infinitely better. 

Peni Parker was one of my favorite characters of the first film, but she was also one of my biggest complaints. I felt the way she was 3D despite being a more anime-esque character was weird, but she looks trillions of times better in this film. She only appears for a few brief scenes, but her design is much closer to how she was depicted in her respective comics. 

We also have characters such as my beloved Hobie Brown, A.K.A. Spider-Punk, whose style is completely different from anyone else in the film. It makes all the spiders feel much more separate in a way that makes a lot of sense. I really loved how creative the artists got with some designs. 

The spiders are obviously the stars of this show, but it would be remiss of me to discuss this film without talking about the other aspects that make it so awe-striking. Probably the most astonishing part of this movie is the artists’ overall use of colors to convey emotions. One of the best examples of this is the scene between Gwen Stacy and her father. 

The two characters are arguing as Stacy reveals herself to her cop father who hates Spider-Woman. During the entire sequence, bright watercolors are shooting all over the scene. It flawlessly shows the emotions both Stacy and her father are feeling in the moment. In general it was just super pretty.

My favorite part of this entire movie–and of the franchise so far–is the villain of the film. The Spot didn’t entirely stand out to me before I saw the movie, but the second he appeared on screen, it was love at first sight. His seemingly benign motives for being a villain, terrifying but misused powers, eventual sinister turn and generally pathetic vibe drove me crazy. I’m now a proud The Spot lover and sport a deeply adored action figure of him. 

I would kill to do in-depth character studies of every single face that appears in this movie, but I’m unfortunately unable to do so. I instead heavily encourage all that are able to go see this life-altering film in theatres. And if you’re unable, I beg that you stream it once it’s available.