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Is Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse the most psychedelic movie ever released by a major studio?

Even non-fans can get behind characters like Spider-Cat. Is it canon? Who cares?

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse review

— by Shawn Conner

You’ll be tripping balls at Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

That’s not a new tag-line, though it should be, or a warning to parents, which might also be a consideration. 

The new movie is chock-a-block full of great ideas and fantastic set-pieces. The only flies in this web are the emotional moments. There are too many of them and they are very long. Unless you’re heavily invested in the relationships of Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy to their respective and very boring police dads, concerned whether Miles will get into a good school (how many times will we have to endure this as a plot point?), or losing sleep over the intricacies of the multiverse (snore) and staying true to Spider-canon (double snore), these black holes bring the movie to a thudding halt.  

But mostly, Across the Spider-Verse works. New directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson and new writers Christopher Miller and David CallahamPhil Lord is the only returning scribe — amp up the first one’s anarchic blend of animation styles and add dozens of new Spider-characters. Spider-Gwen has a bigger role than in the first, and Peter B. Parker is back from Into the Spider-Verse, although Noir Spidey makes barely a cameo. One of the best ideas is a Renaissance-era Vulture, based on Leonardo da Vinci-type drawings. Another scene is set in a Spider-Man Lego-verse. (Co-writers Lord and Miller are responsible for two Lego movies.) There is a Spider-Cat. 

Boy, is Spider-Verse a trippy movie 

But there is also Spider-Man 2099 (voiced by Oscar Isaac), a character that only hardcore fans will recognize. In fact there is so much fan-pleasing going on in Across the Spider-Verse that viewers not up on their Spider-lore won’t have much context for much of what is going on. For those audience members the best advice is to just kick back and enjoy the stunning visuals, which are a nonstop, LSD-like barrage of styles, in-jokes, and colours. In fact this might be the most psychedelic movie ever released by a major studio. 

Oh, and be prepared for a cliffhanger. I wasn’t, and felt like whaaaat? The movie ends abruptly, with the promise that it will be continued in Beyond the Spider-Verse (scheduled for a March 2024 release). 

 

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