Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) Review



While I enjoyed aspects of the movie’s stories and characters, it was too long and the animation literally gave me a headache.

Plot: Miles Morales finds himself traveling across multiverses as he tries to stop The Spot from destroying multiple worlds.

Review: I was not a big fan of the preceding movie in this series, Into the Spider-Verse. I hated the animation and found the characters uninteresting. Regardless, I still gave the movie 2 ½ stars and when the sequel came out, I decided to give it a chance.

On the animation front, I have to say that it’s both better and worse. Better in the aspect that the animation no longer is twitchy to me like a bug being electrocuted. I still wasn’t a fan of some of the character designs (particularly Vulture and Spider-Punk), but overall, I thought the character design was good. However, the backgrounds being constantly blurry bothered me. When I say bothered me, they literally gave me a headache. I could only get through the film by concentrating on what was happening in the foreground and ignoring anything else. Otherwise, I would have turned off the movie before it was done. It was that bad.

As for the characters, they were, for the most part, alright. I warmed to Miles in this one and I always liked Spider-Gwen. Spider-Man 2099 is easily the best part of this movie – both the character design and the actual character are terrific. If they made a Miguel O’Hara-centric movie and did animation that didn’t incapacitate me, I would be first in line. I didn’t care much about any of the characters – I hated Spider-Punk, who was just one-dimensional (and if you saw the animation, you would laugh at that one). Peter B. Parker was an afterthought. The Spot was actually pretty cool and I liked his backstory but he wasn’t featured throughout.

As for the story, it was alright, though it took way too long to get going. The first hour felt a lot like Spider-Gwen fighting with her dad and Miles struggling to get along with his parents. There’s superhero stuff in there (the fight between Miles and The Spot, for instance), but there’s also a lot of teenage angst. I didn’t really care about those parts. I’m a little tougher on animated films than live-action, specifically because animation isn’t restricted to a lot of real-world problems in filmmaking. It’s rainy outside? No problem. The light isn’t right? You create the light! So, if you want to make a 140-minute animated feature, you better make the story outstanding. This movie’s story was not outstanding, unfortunately.

And it really is the run time that undoes this movie. The characters and the world created aren’t compelling enough to me to want to spend that length of time watching it all unfold. I was happy that they included the ’67 Spider-Man and the live-action bits were neat. The last half hour is the best part of this movie. There’s pieces to really good movie in here. Unfortunately, it’s all caught up in a blurry, bloated mess. And for that, I can’t recommend it or give it a good rating. I know this movie has its defenders and I’m sure I’m going to piss them off. All I can say is, I have to call it as I see it – or in the case of this movie, as I couldn’t see it.