After watching Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, my teenage daughter and I walked out of the theater speechless, followed by an equally silent car ride home as we attempted to process the greatness we just witnessed. When writing this review, I asked my daughter if she would like to provide her own artistic observations of the film, which she gladly accepted. So without further ado, the following review contains special insights from a burgeoning digital artist in her own right—my daughter.
We both appreciated how the movie emphasized color choices to not only embrace but also enhance the themes of the story. She pointed out that Hobie Brown/Spiderpunk (Daniel Kaluuya), who is usually standoffish and guarded, is illustrated with jagged lines and loud graphics. But when he is next to Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), he changes to pink, indicating an emotional connection and shared kinship. It’s details like this that made Across the Spider-Verse such a sensation to watch. This second iteration of the animated Spiderman movie mesmerized us both in ways that made this sequel better than the original. Colors, hues, and splashes of texture and light made this a visually stunning masterpiece and a celebration of art, culture—and even emotion.
In one particularly heart-wrenching scene, Gwen Stacy (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) is engaged in a heart-to-heart conversation with her father (Shea Whigham). The artistic embellishment supplied during this scene is what makes this movie so special. While she is talking with her dad, the background animation lends itself well as the pink and purple shades of watercolors literally drip down the walls, emotions oozing visually amid the confines of the room.
For an animated film, nuanced choices such as these are what sets the Spider-Verse series apart from anything else on the animated market. As a child, I remember my parents gushing over the quality of animation in early-generation Disney movies such as Bambi and Snow White. They would comment on how Disney animators were head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field. My daughter and I agree that Sony Pictures Animation has lapped the current field. Across the Spider-Verse is a true moviegoing experience, and it is our opinion that it has pushed the genre forward to the point where all other animation studios must either adapt or risk getting phased out. (PG, Sony Pictures Entertainment)