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The Student News Site of Lakewood High School

Spartan News Network

The Student News Site of Lakewood High School

Spartan News Network

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse; A Perfect Sequel but Just Short of a Perfect Film

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is an ambitious sequel that builds upon the already perfect aspects of the original but manages to fall just short of its glory.
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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is both one of the best-animated movies I have ever seen and one of the best superhero films I’ve seen. It’s a perfect sequel that builds upon the already perfect characters, art style, and world of the original. It’s even a modern triumph for films in general lately due to the film market appearing to be in a never-before-seen state of vulnerability with movie flop after movie flop.

Well, the funny thing about this movie is that I believe it only did one thing wrong. Besides some very niche nitpicks of mine there was only one flaw holding back my enjoyment of the film.

It’s a film and a half in all of the worst ways possible. This film ends with the worst cliffhanger I have seen in any movie ever. It doesn’t feel like an organic ending that the film was building up to, it felt like a deliberately mean-spirited ending that punishes the viewer for thinking that this would be a complete film.

One of the worst flaws any film can have is being an incomplete stepping stone to what comes next. If a movie cannot stand on its own then it’s not much of a movie at all.

But even though the ending of the film enrages me to no end, I still love practically every other aspect of this film. The animation somehow manages to outshine the original film’s innovative art style improving upon it vastly.

This new and evolved style of animation can be most easily seen within the first 15 mins of the film. Gwen’s entire world is unique in style from Miles’s world. With a gorgeous water paint style that illustrates Gwen’s changing character throughout the film.

There’s also the matter of characters and specifically antagonists. My god, there are some all-time greats in this film. Brand new characters who are instantly iconic and well realized such as Hobie Brown (Spider-punk), Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099), or the Spot. All amazing characters.

Many people have been comparing this film to the original Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse, debating on which one is better. While I do love across the Spider-Verse its predecessor is superior in about every way besides animation (and arguably the soundtrack). For reference, Into the Spider-Verse is in my top 5 best-animated films of all time, while across the Spider-Verse just misses out on the top 10 ending up at 11.

Into the Spider-verse is simply a perfect, complete film that I really couldn’t critique if I tried. While its sequel maintains its same level of ambition (even surpassing it in terms of animation) it falters underneath its scope and ends up as an incomplete film. Again, I love both of the films to no end, just clarifying on the better of the two.

However, my highlight for this film is easily Spider-Man 2099. Serving as an excellent antagonist throughout the film and being a very well-realized character in his own right. Spider-Man 2099 (similar to the Prowler from the first film) also possesses an epic musical theme that helps convey the sheer anger of the character. But between Spider-Man 2099 and Kingpin from the first film, this movie franchise is giving us some of the greatest sympathetic villains in recent memory (or technically antagonist in Spider-Man 2099’s case)

Something all Spider-Man have in common is the fact that they’re funny. But Spider-Man 2099 personality wise is more akin to Batman than Spider-Man. He’s never funny, always serious, and very quick to hostility. This is expanded on with his abilities differing from your average Spider-Man. Having things like laser webs, claws, and even vampiric fangs (which he does not seem afraid to use to bite off bad guys’ heads) Something about Miguel just feels defeated. He’s a Spider-Man who had his world taken from him twice and got the worst ending to his story, so now he spends the rest of his days making sure no one repeats his mistakes, at any cost.

2099 serves as an excellent parallel to Miles, being someone who was once stuck in a similar “Canon event crisis” like Miles now finds himself in. Naturally 2099 doesn’t want Miles or anyone to make the same mistake he did, so he’s quick and harsh to judge those who even think about trying to break the “Canon” and even quicker to punish those who do, like Miles.

Though Miguel is my favorite character in the film, it would be a crime not to mention the true villain of this film, the Spot. The Spot is hilarious, sympathetic, and terrifying all at once. He goes from villain of the week to a multiversal-level threat, and it all feels completely natural. Similar to Miguel, he possesses an excellent musical theme that echo’s the horror of the villain.

Despite all of this, being a true cinematic experience to the likes of which is becoming harder and harder to come by of late, the film still is not perfect. Upon initial viewing, I felt that some of the characters from the previous film acted out of the norm and should’ve reacted to certain scenes differently. But after additional viewing, I realized that taking into consideration what the characters know at that specific time and what they’ve learned since the last film, it’s easy to write off my initial critiques of character inconsistency.

Another thing I adore about this movie is all of the little moments in it that stick with you just as much as the main plot points do. An example of one of these moments is near the start of the film when Spider-Man 2099 is fighting Victorian Vulture in the art museum and Spider-Man 2099 tackles Vulture out of the museum into the night sky revealing to vulture the beauty of the night city lights leaving him awestruck.

This entire scene is displayed very quickly in the film and is very easy to miss, but the people who made this movie put it in anyway because they cared about the movie they were making and put in the time and effort to include this moment and many others like it throughout the film for audiences to enjoy.

While the film itself is spectacular on its own, the music was a key factor that helped tie the movie together to make it the stunning achievement it is. Even potentially outshining the first film’s already perfect soundtrack.

Featuring a soundtrack primarily composed by Metro Boomin, the score does a great job of appealing to many different musical tastes, as it features popular artists, such as new school artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Don Toliver, and 21 Savage. While also featuring some more old-school artists such as Nas, and Lil Wayne.

What separates Spider-Verse’s soundtrack from other films is how relevant it is to the story and characters of the movie itself. The soundtrack directly ties into Mile’s identity and how his emotions and character change throughout the film. This can be seen in his relationship with Gwen throughout the film shifting, or his changing perspective about both himself and the Spider-Society. With the start of the soundtrack of the film being more upbeat and lighthearted contrasting with the end of the film’s more anxiety-inducing and dangerous tone.

Though I believe this is far from the best animated film ever made, I do believe that this film does have the single best credits of any film I’ve ever seen. It sounds like a rather niche compliment, but after the aggressive/ sudden ending that the film has it’s easy to feel distraught.

That is until you hear that magical violin from the “Am I Dreaming” song, and you start to see the stunning animation depicting events in the film and events yet to happen in the next.

This almost makes the credits feel like an epilogue that is both beautiful and experimental.  Everything about these credits is just perfect the animation manages to look distinct in an already very distinct film. The song itself sounds amazing and the lyrics tie in perfectly with how Miles is feeling by the end of the film.

If you haven’t seen the movie already, you really should consider it. It’s genuinely a very great piece of art that will push the medium of animation forward and hopefully raise the bar for other animation studios just like its predecessor did.

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About the Contributors
KEEGAN CUNNINGHAM, Entertainment and Trends Editor
Hello everyone I am Junior Keegan Cunningham and this is my 3rd year of CJAM and my 6th year of Journalism all starting back at John Hopkins Middle School. Journalism has been my favorite subject for quite some time now and I am very happy to finally be the entertainment editor this year!I love everything movies, shows and games and can’t wait to see what great entertainment stories are going to come out of Lakewood this year.
AUTUMN PEELAR, Editor In Chief
Salutations ! my name is Autumn Peelar and I'm this year's Editor in chief! I have been in CJAM since freshman year and recently got promoted to being the editor in chief. In my spare time when I’m not trying to share my opinion on things happening in and out of campus, you can catch me enjoying some horror movies and true-crime videos, writing, drawing, and more !
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