When Miles Morales swung into theaters during the holiday season of 2018, Spiderman fans lost their minds! Garnering more $384 million dollars worldwide, taking home the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for directors Peter Ramsey, Phil Lord and Bob Persichetti changed the world of animated features forever while making history.
Now, in 2023, after reuniting with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. However, when heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles (Shameik Moore) finds himself pitted against other Spiders and redefining what it means to be a hero in order to save those he loves most.
This time the trio of directors includes Howard University alumni Kemp Powers, Joaquim Dos Santos and Justin K. Thompson who are serving up an animation gourmet coupled with energetic kaleidoscope colors and palettes, plethora of cameos and a theme resonating around family friendship and grief make the trip across the Spider-verse worth the trip.
Broken up into three specific chapters centering around Gwen and her Dad, Miles, his family and the Multiverse of Spiders, what struck me was the spotlight given to the entire Morales family. I was slightly concerned when the start of this film centered around Gwen and father, especially, since the previous iteration proved to be a origin story for Miles. My concerns were addressed soon enough when the opportunity to have a more fleshed out peek into the tough love, concern and genuine adoration Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry) and Rio Morales (Luna Lauren Velez) have for Miles was refreshingly realistic and poignant regarding love and loss.
The scene stealer of the film was Jessica Drew voiced by the hilariously gifted Issa Rae. Rae’s addition to the franchise alongside Academy Award-winner Daniel Kaluuya (Hobart ‘Hobie’ Brown) is pure magic and massively entertaining (even though there were moments I couldn’t quite make out what Hobie was saying).
The first and third chapters of the film work best, even though the middle section dragged and seemed a little unfocused in some sections. Having said that, Spiderman: Across the Spider-verse has a soundtrack making audiences bop in their seats and is a visual animated rock opera via an animated superhero flick. Produced by Sony Pictures in tandem with Marvel Studios, this film will be released exclusively in theaters on June 2nd.