A helpful reminder for Spider-Man fans flocking to see Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: Just remember, this one’s only the first of two “parts.” As Polygon notes, the film’s working title was Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse—Part 1. If you want to know how the story really ends, you’ll have to wait until next spring.
Did we not get enough of this stretched-out nonsense from Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight, It, and, most recently, Dune? Is anyone really still yearning for one story stretched out over two shaky movies? As I type this, I’m struggling to imagine the kind of person who re-watches The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 by itself, on purpose. (And that title? An ungodly mouthful!)
Thankfully, Across the Spider-Verse delivers enough meat to satisfy hungry Spider-Fans—even if it does end on a frustrating cliffhanger.
A sequel to the massively popular Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Across the Spider-Verse does exactly what its (more concise) title suggests. For more than two hours, Shameik Moore’s web-slinging Miles Morales yanks viewers along for the ride across a series of alternate universes. The new film brings back the same stunning visual style as the first—a stunning array of textures, colors, and animation styles that all meld into one gorgeous kaleidoscope. And just like before, the performances—from Moore, and from co-stars including Brian Tyree Henry, Hailee Steinfeld, Jake Johnson, Oscar Isaac, and Lauren Vélez—deliver that coveted blend of comedic levity and emotional sincerity.
As Miles soon learns, haphazard dimension-hopping can rupture “canon events”—essentially ripping holes in the space-time continuum, et cetera et cetera. All of this is well and good and fun, and Donald Glover even shows up for a delightfully dry cameo. There’s just one catch. According to canon, Mile’s dad has to die—and Miles is not ready to let that happen.
A leaner version of this film would have arrived at that reveal sooner, but then again, this version’s ending also feels like what should be the start of its third act. While Into the Spider-Verse came in under two hours, Across the Spider-Verse flimsily unspools across 140 minutes.
Still, credit where it’s due: The ending is mind-melting. Miles finds out that the spider that bit him was never from his universe, and that he was never supposed to assume the Spidey mantle. In fact, he’s the “original anomaly” that first fractured the multiverse. When he escapes Spider-Society headquarters, Miles thinks he’s made it home to save his father, but he quickly realizes things are amiss: There’s no Spider-Man in this universe, and here, his uncle is still alive and his father is already dead.
Instead of his home universe, Miles realizes he escaped to that of the spider that bit him: Earth-42. And while he initially believes that his uncle is the Prowler here (just like he is at home), the reality turns out to be far more devastating. In this universe, he becomes the villainous Prowler.
It’s a massive dangling thread—one that will remain unresolved until Beyond the Spider-Verse premieres next March, much to the assured chagrin of any fan who went in not knowing this would be the case. Still, the film does at least offer a little closure, through Hailee Steinfeld’s Gwen Stacy. While Into the Spider-Verse largely belonged to Miles, Gwen provides the structural backbone for its sequel—the first and final lines of the film belong to her.
In the film’s opening, Gwen grows forlorn as she looks back on her ill-fated days in a rock band. “I guess I just never found the right one,” she says. “In this line of work, you always wind up a solo act.” The Spider-Man franchise has always known how to build parallels between teenage angst and the emotional isolation that comes with being a superhero. By the end of this film, we see that, like Miles, Gwen has found community among her fellow Spideys. At the very end, as she rallies a few allies to find Miles, she bookends her opening comment with a sunnier outlook.
“I never found the right band to join,” she says. “So I started my own—with a few old friends.”
It’s no substitute for a self-contained story, but I’ll admit, my heart was bursting nonetheless.
Post source: TDB