Miles Morales returns to anchor another visual marvel in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the highly anticipated sequel to Into the Spider-Verse. With eye-popping animation and an emotional story, this second chapter in the Oscar-winning Spider-Verse saga doesn’t disappoint. Directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson build an epic multiverse adventure that does justice to Miles’ growth into his own as a hero.
We pick up with Brooklyn teen Miles continuing his double life as Spider-Man one year after his first universe-colliding adventure. But when a new threat emerges capable of shattering the multiverse, Miles re-teams with interdimensional allies like Gwen Stacy to stop the villain the Spot from gaining absolute power over reality. Their dimension-hopping quest takes the Spider-Verse visuals to thrilling new heights.
Vibrant animation allows each reality to stand apart with unique flourishes, from the hand-drawn noir of Spider-Man ’67 to the painterly textures of Gwen’s art-focused home. The Spider-People retain expressive designs reflective of their worlds. Actions scenes burst with comic book energy, using trippy visuals to realize the kaleidoscopic multiverse. The visual innovation builds beautifully on the fresh style of the first film.
While the dimension-crossing plot follows a familiar comic book movie formula, the script keeps relationships at the core. Miles’ anxiety over whether the ever-capable Gwen still needs him as a partner adds sympathetic drama. And as Miles questions his role amongst infinite Spider-Heroes, he gains hard-won confidence to be his own hero by the triumphant finale. The personal stakes resonate beyond multiverse spectacle.
Shameik Moore returns to voice Miles with charm and heart, evolving the character beyond wide-eyed newbie mode. And Hailee Steinfeld brings dry wit once again as fan favorite Gwen Stacy. The pair’s endearing friendship remains the emotional anchor through eye-popping set pieces. Spider-Ham, Spider-Man ’67 and newcomers like Japanese spider-mecha pilot SP//dr add enjoyable energy around the edges.
Of course the film delivers on blockbuster animation action too. A standout sequence sees the Spider-Team work together to stop the Spot from absorbing their home reality, with surreal imagery realizing unique powers like Gwen’s web-portals. While the ambitious scale can overwhelm at times, the story stays character-focused, with Miles embracing his role as the center of the Spider-Verse webbed family.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse beautifully expands the Oscar-winning world of Miles Morales and friends. The cutting-edge animation and affecting story avoid a sophomore slump, instead soaring to new creative heights. The dimensional scope fits perfectly with honing Miles’ young hero’s journey. Moving and spectacular, this is a spider-sequel with brains, heart and vision to marvel at.