Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new English animation film Spiderman : Across The Spider-verse which is the official sequel to the film Spiderman – Into The Spiderverse. Now while Marvel might be receiving flak for focusing only on concept-driven films in the MCU- Phase 5(and the start of Phase 5), Marvel and Sony have had a winner of a collaboration in Spiderman – Into The Spider-verse. One of the main USPs of the film wasn’t in its creative concept but the ability of the writing to tell a new origin story which was simplistic but filled with concepts of a multiverse. In other words, the focus was always on the protagonist and never diverted towards the concept. And with that reasoning in place, I ventured into Spiderman : Across The Spiderverse with sky high expectations given also that its word of mouth was glowing. So then does Spiderman : Across The Spiderverse manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
The events of Spiderman : Across The Spider-verse unfold almost a year after Spiderman : Into The Spider-verse and that is all you need to know before venturing into the drama. And I have purposely kept its story under wraps because anything that I say will act as a spoiler! But the story is trippy, energetic and high on concept that will bowl you over and leave you gasping for breath. The writers here tread a thin line and I must admit that there were junctures where the drama could have gone for a toss. But things are so well controlled and that must be attributed to the screenplay which stands at 140 minutes. It is everything that I expected from a Spiderman film which is so much more than a superhero saving the universe. In fact, the writers make the viewers ponder on the concept of a superhero too!
The drama open with the re-introduction of a couple of the principal characters – a little context is given on where things stand in their life in a world building that is meticulously done to allow the viewers to absorb the drama. The proceedings are a slow burn to begin with and that is intentionally done for a payback towards the end when all hell breaks loose! There are certain things that you will question during the course of the first half, almost like the character of Miles who is given the same pieces of information as the viewer. But you need to be patient as the picture does get clearer as the drama progresses. The characterizations here also have a bit of an emotional streak to them. Ahh clever, very clever….I’ll leave this point here!
The proceedings are engrossing but I was on the fence with respect to the antagonist to begin with. Here, he was shown to be inexperienced as opposed to being powerful although his superpower was something which was interesting. But as I had said earlier, this drama does go beyond any other superhero film and so the ability of the writers to tease the audience with the character sketch of the antagonist was a victory in itself. The fun element kicks in at the halfway mark when the drama first shifts to a settinh which was interesting in itself. As a minor spoiler, the place was Mumbattan – a mix of Mumbai and Manhattan which made for such an interesting watch. But the main concept of the film which was under wraps upto this point, is introduced in the second hour when all hell breaks loose!
The events in the second hour would take you a while to absorb and ponder on its concept. Yes it is the multiverse but with severals twists thrown in, one of them being the exploration on the concept of a superhero in itself. The lines blur between the protagonists and the antagonists, or the superheroes and supervillains which makes for one of the most memorable second halves of the year. It was edge of the seat stuff that had my undivided attention while I was clasping on to the hands of the chair while gssping for breath. It was fast-paced but extremely well measured ending in an absolute cliffhanger thus setting up thing perfectly for the next part Spiderman : Beyond The Spiderverse. Oh and don’t waste your time sitting through the end credits – the film doesn’t have a post credit scene! Overall, the screenplay was filled with layers of concepts but the skills of the writers lay in controlling the proceedings which was done to perfection.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quirky with a dash of humour but do pay attention to the details for a wholesome watching experience. The music is on point exuding of the vibe of the drama just so well. The BGM is pulsating and it enhances the drama to no bounds. The cinematography and animation are outstanding to the core. Directors Kemp Powers, Justin K Thompson and Joaquim Dos Santos have done an exceptional job by creating thrilling moments in the amidst of an exceptional concept, all under 2.5 hours. The proceedings are so interesting and exciting that I was always invested in the drama at any given point of time. And for that, the directors deserve distinction marks.
The voiceovers are outstanding here. Karan Soni as Pav is phenomenal and a wondrous addition to the spider-verse(with representation from India). Jason Schwartzma as The Spot is excellent, adding excitement through his voiceover here. Daniel Kaluuya as Hobie, Issa Rae as Spider-Woman, Brian Tyree Henry as Davis and Luna Lauren Velez as Rio are terrific with their voiceovers. Oscar Issac as Miguel adds weight to his character through his voice. Jake Johnson as Peter Parkar is affable. Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen is excellent. Shameik Moore as Miles is the soul of the film and he does a smashing job.
Spiderman : Across The Spiderverse is a banger of a sequel to the brilliant Spiderman : Into The Spider-verse, and probably an early contender for Best Animation Film at the Academy Awards next year. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Highly Recommended!