In “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” the sequel to the critically acclaimed “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” we revisit Miles Morales on his journey of balancing his adolescent struggles with his occupation as Brooklyn’s one and only Spider-Man. 


It has been a year and four months since Miles sent all his newfound friends back to their own dimensions, defeated Kingpin, and (presumably) restored balance to the multiverse. 


Now, he is taller, stronger, and more comfortable in his role as a hero, but he has also encountered some new challenges. He wants to reveal his secret identity to his parents without straining their relationship, reunite with his beloved friend Gwen who lives in another dimension, and have the agency to carve his own path in life, free from the meddling visions others impose on him.


Aside from its imaginative, breathtaking visuals, “Across the Spider-Verse” is so compelling because of the authenticity and humanity that encompasses its narrative. Each of its characters — heroes, villains, and ordinary civilians alike — feel real


Whether it’s Gwen Stacy, who grapples with her love for Miles and her duties to the Spider-Society, or Miguel O’Hara, the jaded antihero who lost his family and appointed himself guardian of the Canon, each character is written with depth and care.


Hobie “Spider-Punk” Brown, voiced by Daniel Kaluuya, undeniably stole the show. He was initially built up to be an antagonistic love-triangle rival to Miles, but he flipped the script and turned out to be Miles’ only unwavering ally. Hobie’s rebellious, carefree spirit and affability only scratch the surface of an incredibly layered character. 


“Across the Spider-Verse” is a masterpiece of animation and storytelling. I’d rate it 9.7 out of 10. It loses a measly 0.3 points due to its cliffhanger, which left me feeling like I had sipped the last of a tasty milkshake until my straw was hollow. 


Nevertheless, it more than proved wrong my expectations of a sophomore slump. I have no doubt that “Beyond the Spider-Verse,” set to release in March 2024 at the time of writing, will be an even greater work. Now I can’t wait for that day to come!


Tagline: “Cinephile Diaries,” written by Judah Farrell, includes reviews and retrospectives that dissect the various themes within film.