Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse 'builds confidently on stylistic flourishes and visual palettes of first film'

Damon Smith
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse


SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE (PG, 140 mins) Animation/Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Romance. Featuring the voices of Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Jason Schwartzman, Oscar Isaac, Issa Rae, Daniel Kaluuya, Jake Johnson, Shea Whigham, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez. Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K Thompson.

Released: June 2

WE ALL want to live the life we wish we had. So professes a conflicted character in the plot-rich and visually stunning sequel to the "pretty hardcore origin story" Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, which won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Directed at a breathless pace by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K Thompson, Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is a dizzying tumble through Marvel Comics storylines that interlace the tragic fates of more than 100 iterations of a web-slinging hero who we have predominantly known as Peter Parker until now.


Like its predecessor, the sequel champions diversity and inclusion with a rapidly expanding menagerie of anthropomorphic spider-folks of every conceivable shape, size and composition.

In-jokes abound as scriptwriters Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Dave Callaham barely touch narrative brakes during the frenetic opening salvo of a two-part escapade that concludes in summer 2024 when Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse swings into cinemas.

Jessica Drew (Issa Rae) and Miguel O'Hara (Oscar Isaac).


Groundwork laid here is rock solid and an audacious 140-minute running time feels just right, building to a dramatic crescendo amplified by composer Daniel Pemberton's energetic score that truly whets appetites for an apocalyptic showdown akin to Avengers: Endgame.

On Earth-1610, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) struggles to disclose his web-slinging secret identity to parents Jefferson (Brian Tyree Henry) and Rio (Luna Lauren Velez).

The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld)


Escalating tension between family members coincides with the emergence of a blundering villain called The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), who will play a pivotal role in the battle between good and evil in parallel realities.

Meanwhile, on Earth-65, Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) continues to hide her heroic alter ego from father George (Shea Whigham), a captain in the New York Police Department who believes Ghost Spider is responsible for the death of Gwen's bullied classmate Peter Parker.

Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and Miles Morales (Shameik Moore)

During a battle with an airborne villain, Gwen learns about the existence of the Spider Society led by Miguel O'Hara (Oscar Isaac), which is devoted to healing rifts in the Spider-Verse. Gwen enrols with this band of misfits, including pregnant motorcyclist Jessica Drew (Issa Rae), Hobie aka Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya) and Peter B Parker (Jake Johnson), to neutralise the threat posed by a dimension-hopping menace and potentially reunite with Miles.

Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Peter B Parker (Jake Johnson) and his daughter Mayday.


Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse builds confidently on the stylistic flourishes and visual palettes of the first film, using on-screen cues to distinguish each dimension and its colourful denizens.

Comic book traditions are lovingly retained, like when Hobie remarks, "I ain't got a Scooby Doo", and an on-screen boxed caption defines the Cockney slang for 'clue'. Snappy dialogue laden with one-liners and moving vocal performances, particularly from Moore and Steinfeld, leave our Spider-sense tingling with unfettered delight.

Dos Santos, Powers and Thompson exercise their collective power with great responsibility.