Like any good comic book tale, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was faced with an almost impossible task: Live up to the Oscar-nominated, groundbreaking spectacle of 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. According to the first batch of reviews, the sequel amazingly gets the job done, and somehow, with even more style.
Across the Spider-Verse, which brings back Miles Morales for another multiversal adventure, is racking up near-universal acclaim with the only complaint being that fans will have to wait a year for the second part of this tale that once again pushes the boundaries of animation and redefines what makes a great comic book movie in these days of superhero fatigue.
You can see what the critics are saying below:
Mike Ryan, Uproxx:
While watching Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – which is very much on par with the first movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – that won an Oscar and, somehow, came out five years ago – I did wonder how fine the line is between this being the immersive, wonderful experience it is, as opposed to something that just gives one a headache. I suspect it’s closer than we realize. I think that’s why I’m so amazed by these movies. On paper, these really probably shouldn’t work. “An ambitious mess,” would be the most likely headline. Instead, it’s one of the most, if not the most, immersive superhero stories going, pushing far beyond the boundaries of what superhero stories should and could be.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety:
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” doesn’t just extend the tale of Miles Morales. The film advances that story into newly jacked-up realms of wow-ness that make it a genuine spiritual companion piece to the first film. That one spun our heads and then some; this one spins our heads even more (and would fans, including me, have it any other way?).
Valerie Complex, Deadline:
What sets this film apart from other superhero fare is its sheer commitment to authenticity. From the comic panel-like transitions to the dynamic action sequences, the movie exudes an organic love for its source material. It isn’t just a film but an experience and a nod to every Spider-Man fan who has ever flipped through the pages of a Marvel publication. The watercolor animation is a lustrous blend that swirls together to create something bold, enchanting, and innovative. It is a true step up from its predecessor, using a colorful palette that brings every frame to life as each scene appears as though it’s hand-painted.
Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter:
Across the Spider-Verse vibrates with the same energy as its predecessor even when it feels more leaden with backstory. This chapter is the first of a planned two-part sequel to Into the Spider-Verse. Dividing the follow-up in half gives the screenplay, written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and David Callaham, more room to settle into the ridges and grooves of Miles’ story. The additional space proves to be both a gift and a curse as Across the Spider-Verse pulls us deeper into Miles’ world.
Nick Schager, The Daily Beast:
Looks, though, are merely a part of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s astonishing package. Staging a series of set pieces that are so swift and complex that trying to keep up is its own joy, the film leaves its blockbuster competition in the dust, buried beneath an avalanche of titanic urban-chaos action. The level of detailed planning and unhinged invention that must have gone into concocting these sequences is jaw-dropping. What ultimately matters, however, is the finished product, and what a product it is, with each milieu and chase, skirmish and rescue more distinctive and impressive than the last.
Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com:
Like the work of a young artist who refuses to be restrained by the borders of the frame, “Across the Spider-Verse” is loaded with incredible imagery and fascinating ideas. It is a smart, thrilling piece of work that reminded me of other great part twos like “The Dark Knight” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” Like those films, it leaves viewers anxiously anticipating the next chapter (which will come in March 2024), and it earns its cliffhangers by grounding them in a story of young people refusing to submit to a concept of what a hero’s arc needs to be.
Tom Jorgensen, IGN:
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse surges with visual inventiveness and vibrance in an undeniably strong evolution of the style established in Into the Spider-Verse. Miles and Gwen’s search for their place in the multiverse is relentless and exciting, almost to a fault, and though the plot is often an afterthought to the pure chaos of creation on display, strong performances and character arcs that feel true to the heroes we met last time help ensure that Across the Spider-Verse is a more-than-worthy follow-up to an all-time classic.
Germain Lussier, io9:
Truly, this couldn’t be real. How could it actually be possible that a sequel to a basically perfect movie could, itself, be so incredible? And yet, it wasn’t a dream. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is that incredible. It’s everything everyone loved about the first film, but more human, more complex, and more visually stunning. Directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson lead a tour-de-force of filmmaking that transcends animation and will leave you heartbroken, breathless, and utterly dazzled.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings into theaters on June 2.