Across the Spider-Verse: Visual masterpiece and an almost perfect sequel


Across the Spider-Verse. FILE PHOTO | POOL

After a five-year wait, a staggering budget of $100 million, the collaboration of three esteemed directors, and a highly proficient team of animators, we are finally bestowed with the long-anticipated sequel to the visually remarkable masterpiece of 2018 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

This initial instalment garnered resounding acclaim as one of the most exceptional comic book adaptations ever brought to the silver screen.

The animated film, revolving around a character I had limited knowledge of, exceeded all expectations and set itself apart from the live-action superhero films of its era.

Unquestionably, this sequel Across the Spider-Verse was burdened with extraordinary levels of anticipation.

What is Across the Spider-Verse about?

The film’s central narrative revolves around Brooklyn’s Spider-Man (Miles Morales), who embarks on a journey that reunites him with Gwen Stacy and thrusts him unexpectedly into the intricate tapestry of the Multiverse.

In this multidimensional realm, he encounters a collective of Spider-People whose mission is to safeguard the very existence of the Multiverse.

However, as these heroes clash over confronting a new menace, Miles finds himself pitted against his fellow Spiders. To protect those dear to him, he must redefine his understanding of heroism.

To enrich your viewing experience first watch Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse before watching this sequel.

So, what worked?

Visuals: Let us first delve into the most prominent selling point of this cinematic opus: its visual prowess. If one believed the first movie to be a visual spectacle, brace yourself for a delightful surprise.

The sequel unfolds as a breathtakingly beautiful work of art, which elevates the craft of visual storytelling through different animation styles and an awe-inspiring use of colour.

The visuals take on a life of their own, each assuming a distinctive presence.

The film builds upon the pioneering visual style established in its predecessor, propelling it to even greater heights. As an artist myself, this was one of the primary reasons for my ardent anticipation of the film, and I wholeheartedly recommend experiencing it on the biggest screen available.

Across the Spider-Verse employs a diverse array of animation styles and visual languages, expertly guiding us through the myriad universes we traverse and effectively distinguishing each one.

The character designs are resplendent, crafted with precision, and imbued with colours that allow every individual to stand out, even within the potentially crowded canvas of the film.

While the visual feast may occasionally overwhelm, the astute use of varied animation styles, skilful incorporation of colour, and masterful editing ensure that viewers never feel disoriented.

However, it is worth noting that the movie contains numerous flashing and colourful scenes, rendering it unsuitable for individuals prone to photosensitive epilepsy.

Story: The essence of every Spider-Man story lies in its ability to resonate with people, whether in the form of comic books or movies.

Spider-Man tales have consistently sought to create characters that mirror ordinary individuals. In Across the Spider-Verse, the filmmakers adeptly weave a tale that resonates with any parent of a teenager while remaining true to its comic book origins.

The film delves into profound father-daughter dynamics that intertwine with the Spider-Man story arc, particularly in Gwen’s character arc.

Moreover, we witness the growth of Miles since our last encounter with him, observing his struggle with his parental relationships.

The story takes an intriguing turn in its final act, wholeheartedly embracing its comic book roots and the concept of the multiverse, which serves as the film’s core.

It is during this time that we are treated to visually mind-blowing action sequences and gripping character moments, aided by the introduction of Miguel O’Hara.

Character and sound: The character designs within the film are nothing short of outstanding, brilliantly reflecting the essence of each individual.

For instance, the primary antagonist, Spotz, possesses a simplistic and sketch-like design that impeccably aligns with his role within the narrative.

His black-and-white appearance serves as a symbolic representation of his unadorned approach as a villain.

The voice acting and the meticulously curated soundtrack further elevate the personalities of the characters, resulting in a surprising level of authenticity despite the medium of animation.

When character design, meticulous animation, and exceptional voice acting converge harmoniously, the result is a true feast for the senses.

What did not work?

However, not every aspect of the film flawlessly achieves its intended impact.

The ensemble cast at times appears to exceed the narrative requirements, as the character of Jessica Drew offers a comparatively inconsequential contribution to the overarching storyline.

The screenplay occasionally undermines the significance of Peter Parker, much to the dismay of ardent fans longing for the embodiment of the iconic Spider-Man

Across the Spider-Verse serves as the first half of a two-part narrative, The film’s initial half can be characterised by certain unresolved aspects and artificially prolonged sequences.

The story may feel bloated, as excessive attention is dedicated to supporting characters, needlessly elongating the first act.

Consequently, the first hour of the film can feel somewhat drawn out. The running time of the movie, spanning 140 minutes, might seem excessive compared to its predecessor.

The excessive emphasis on supporting characters can be tiresome, detracting from the main protagonist’s central journey.

The film concludes on a significant cliffhanger, as it serves as the first part of a two-part narrative, leaving the audience eagerly anticipating the resolution in the forthcoming instalment, scheduled for release in the subsequent year.

This cliffhanger imparts the impression that the film was deliberately designed as a setup for the subsequent chapter, placing the primary conflict at the centre of the second act.

It's quite intriguing that this year brings us three movies that mark the beginning of two-part series: "Fast X," "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," and "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning."

In summary, "Across the Spider-Verse" represents a remarkable cinematic achievement, characterized by its liveliness, vibrancy, and creativity.

The film masterfully combines profound character development, humour, and visually breathtaking animation, paying homage to its comic book roots.

By delving into the intricacies of the multiverse, the plot transcends the offerings of other franchises, establishing its dominance in this narrative territory.

The cliffhanger adeptly establishes the framework for the ensuing instalment, laying the foundation for heightened anticipation.

Although it may not ascend to the identical pinnacle of its forerunner, "Across the Spider-Verse" undeniably stands as a remarkable cinematic achievement holistically.

Twitter: @stanslausmanthi

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