Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the sequel to the 2018 Oscar-winning animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, opens this Friday. I’ll have a full review then, but…yeah. This is it, y’all. 


I said it after Into the Spider-Verse, and I’ll say it again—animation is where superheroes live. At least, animation as done by the team behind Spider-Verse (which is made by Sony with Marvel’s limited input), which includes Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and for Across the Spider-Verse, directors Kemp Powers, Joaquim Dos Santos, and Justin K. Thompson. Live-action superhero movies have provided some iconic moments, but the Spider-Verse films truly feel like a comic book come to life in the very best way. The trailer gives you a sense of how unreal and vivid the animation is.



The premiere for Across the Spider-Verse was last night. Shameik Moore is back as Miles Morales, Hailee Steinfeld returns as Spider-Gwen, and Jake Johnson is also back as Peter B. Parker. They were all on hand for the premiere, as was Daniel Kaluuya, who voices Spider-Punk; Issa Rae, voice of the pregnant Jessica Drew; Brian Tyree Henry, who voices Jefferson Davis, Miles’s father; Jason Schwartzman, voice of the villainous The Spot; Rachel Dratch as Miles’s high school principal—you get the idea. This is a star-studded cast and it made for a star-studded premiere. RZA came with Moore (who played Raekwon in Wu-Tang: An American Saga). 

Not pictured: Oscar Isaac, who is still starring in The Sign on Broadway with Rachel Brosnahan, but he is terrific as the antagonistic Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099. 


Part of the fun of these movies is how they load up the multiverse with so many Spider-Men—Spiders-Man?—which leads to great visual gags. The trailer included here gives one of them away and it’s not even close to the best visual gag in the movie. Animation just allows you to do so much more in a way that doesn’t feel overstuffed or forced. Maybe it’s because some part of our brains knows it takes years to make animated films like this, and so as free-wheeling and wild as it can feel in the moment, we know, in fact, everything is planned and carefully arranged. We know none of this happened “on the day”, but it has that off-the-cuff feeling, and there is so much imagination and creativity on display in every frame, it’s thrilling to watch. It’s like a good magic trick. You know it’s not real, but it feels real.

Speaking of the Spider-Men—Spider-Mans??—Tom Holland is back in New York after going to the Monaco Grand Prix over the weekend, and yes, that’s an MCU dig in the Spider-Verse trailer. Honestly, if I was Tom Holland, I would not be so anxious to come back to the MCU—No Way Home is a good note to go out on—but I WOULD be campaigning to do a vocal cameo in the next Spider-Verse movie. They’re just so goddamn good!