Following the first screenings of Sony Pictures' Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, critics shared their strong early reactions.
Heavy anticipation continues to build for Sony Pictures’ Spider-Verse 2, the sequel to one of the most celebrated animated movies in history in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Expanding on the boundaries of the Multiverse more than ever before - which could even lead to appearances by Venom and other Spideys that have been seen in live-action - it’s no surprise to see that fans want to see Miles Morales back in action.
And with potentially emotional deaths in play alongside more Spider-Men than one could fit on a promotional lunchbox, many are wondering what exactly to expect to see on the big screen.
Spider-Verse 2 Winning Critics Over
Critics took to social media to share their initial reactions to Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Fandom's Eric Goldman called the sequel "fantastic," highlighting the "deeply heartfelt character beats" and expressing his excitement for the sequel in 2024:
"I am very happy to say that 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' is fantastic! Deftly juggles deeply heartfelt character beats with crazy multiverse content just packed with so many delightful Easter eggs. Loved how Gwen's story is expanded. Can't wait for the third one."
Yahoo Entertainment's Kevin Polowy couldn't believe how good Spider-Verse 2 was, even proclaiming it to be possibly better than the original movie:
"It’s honestly absurd how good the 'Spider-Verse' movies are. 'Across the Spider-Verse' is just as great, if not better than 'Into the Spider-Verse.' I really don’t know how."
ScreenRant's Joe Deckelmeier exclaimed that "the hype is real" for the Spider-Verse sequel, teasing "some surprises in this film" that he didn't see coming:
"The hype is real! Every frame of 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' is gorgeous. I didn't want to blink because I didn't want to miss anything. You can watch this film over & over & finds something new to enjoy. There are some surprises in this film that I truly wasn't expecting."
ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis described the sequel as "an incredible accomplishment," teasing that it's "very much an unfinished story by its end" but also expressing disbelief at how good it is:
"'Across the Spider-Verse is simply an incredible accomplishment. It’s stunning but also very much an unfinished story by its end. Visually, it’s such a stunning achievement. It’s everything a Spider-Man fan could ask for and much more. So good, it’s hard to believe it exists.
Davis continued to analyze the movie, noting that its Multiverse storytelling puts "every other super hero movies’ attempts to shame" and saying only DC's The Flash comes close:
"What the 'Spider-Verse' movies are doing with their multiverse storytelling visually and thematically is putting every other super hero movies’ attempts to shame, with 'The Flash' being the closest second but still behind it.
DiscussingFilm's Andrew Salazar celebrated Spider-Verse 2 as "yet another milestone for animation," even saying that it exceeds the first movie "for always putting Miles AND his family front and center:"
"'Across the Spider-Verse' is yet another milestone for animation. Yes it's gorgeous & visually mind-blowing, but this sequel surpasses the first for always putting Miles AND his family front and center. Spider-Gwen also rightfully steps deeper into the spotlight, co-owning the film."
Salazar continued, noting that this sequel is "a massive celebration for Spider-Man fans everywhere" while highlighting that Miles' story always comes before everything else:
"This feels like a massive celebration for Spider-Man fans everywhere, whether you love the movies, games, comics, etc. But again, all the cameos and multiversal elements come SECOND to both Miles and Gwen's story. For my money, this could be the best comic-book movie of 2023."
Collider's Steven Weintraub also loved Spider-Verse 2, already looking forward to the chance to "study the incredible artistry on display" in every frame:
"Absolutely loved 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.' Wanted to push pause about a hundred times to study the incredible artistry on display. Cannot recommend this film enough and already looking forward to seeing it again. Next time in IMAX!"
The Reel Rejects' Coy Jandreau proclaimed Spider-Verse 2 as "the reason [he loves] comics," even going so far as to call it one of the best movies he's ever experienced:
"'Across the Spider-Verse' is the reason I love comics. It’s hugely impactful It can only truly be told in this medium. It’s drama & comedy and action and spectacle with the most heart I can imagine put into two hours Call me hyperbolic, one of the best films I have ever experienced."
The Wrap's Drew Taylor saw Spider-Verse 2 as "a stunning achievement," loving the "emotional depth" and "beautiful, melancholic tone" even more than its visual excellence:
"'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' is a stunning achievement. Yes, it’s visually dazzling, with expansive, expressive new realms (Gwen’s world is my favorite). But the movie’s real superpower is its emotional depth and its beautiful, melancholic tone. I love this movie so, so much."
CinemaBlend's Sean O'Connell had incredibly high praise for Spider-Verse 2, putting it "one step above Masterpiece" and noting that "every frame deserves to be hung in a museum" for how good it is:
"OK. 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' lives one step above Masterpiece. It's an actual work of art. Every frame deserves to be hung in a museum. The jokes and nods to Spidey lore are perfect. It's OUTSTANDING. The best Spider-Man movie. Might be my favorite movie ever. Cherish it."
The Hollywood Reporter's Brian Davids heaped specific praise on Hailee Steinfeld and Shea Wingham for their performances as Gwen and Captain Stacy, calling the whole movie "darker and sadder" than he expected:
"'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' is yet another resounding win for the Lord Miller-produced universe. Hailee Steinfeld really comes into her own as Gwen Stacy, and her scenes with Shea Whigham's Captain Stacy are truly special. It's darker and sadder than I expected, but necessary.
ReelBlend's Jake Hamilton compared the Spider-Verse sequel to Star Wars' original trilogy, likening the movie's darker tale to Empire Strikes Back:
"The moment 'SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE' ended, I knew I'd experienced a cinematic moment I'd cherish forever. If INTO is A NEW HOPE, this is EMPIRE - darker, more powerful and better in every way. It's going to be a LONG wait until March '24. HOW DOES THIS MOVIE EXIST?!"
Tessa Smith of Mama's Geeky believed that Across the Spider-Verse has done the impossible by topping its predecessor:
"'Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse' raised the bar with its unique animation style & way of storytelling. Minds were blown when it was released & fans thought there was no way it could be topped. Think again. 'Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse' raises its own bar which seemed impossible."
ComicBook.com's Aaron Perine praised the movie's two leads, saying that Miles Morales "absolutely shines" in his second outing:
"'Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse' lives up to the hype in every conceivable way! Miles Morales absolutely shines in his second Marvel movie adventure. Gwen Stacy takes her place at the head of this table too. Tons of heart on display in every corner of this one."
Comic Book Resources' Ashley Saunders lauded Spider-Verse 2's animation and soundtrack, while also teasing that the movie's "surprises are insanely epic:"
"'Across The Spider-Verse' is EVERYTHING! The animation is next level, every spidey is perfect, the surprises are insanely epic, & the music is fire. You'll be on the edge of your seat bc this ride is wild. It feels so good 2 back in the Spider-Verse!"
The Nerds of Color's Laura Sirikul affirmed that she was not "overhyping it" when saying that "everything" in the movie is outstanding:
"OMG... 'Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse' is mind-blowing. The animation, the writing, the music, and everything is simply amazing. I'm not even overhyping it. It deserves the hype. OMG... they did it again"
Will Spider-Verse 2 Land With Fans?
After Into the Spider-Verse won the 2019 Oscar for Best Animated Picture and won fans and critics over across the world, seeing these reviews for Spider-Verse 2 certainly paints a great picture for the franchise.
It’s especially impressive to see that some even rank this new sequel above the original, as Miles Morales leaves Brooklyn for the first time and joins dozens of Spider-people from across numerous alternate dimensions.
While Miles’ story alongside Gwen Stacy will likely be the key driving force in this new sequel, Oscar Isaac’s 2099 and dozens of other Spider-Men will give Miles some of the biggest challenges he’s faced to date.
Of course, some of the surprises mentioned in these reviews will remain a secret until Spider-Verse 2 debuts in theaters, even with promotional photos spoiling a handful of characters that fans have wanted to see alongside Miles, Gwen, and the rest of the gang.
But with Sony looking to ride the highs of its Multiversal efforts in Spider-Man: No Way Home, possibly even bringing in heroes seen in the live-action universe as well, all bets are off for what could happen this time around.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will debut in theaters on Friday, June 2.