Miles Morales' second animated solo movie, coming as the sequel to 2018's highly-successful Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, continues to earn rave reviews from fans and critics as it finally hits the big screen.
This movie is also only the second of three movies from the Spider-Verse saga, as Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse will complete this adventure and give Miles and crew their well-deserved last hurrah.
Across the Spider-Verse Director Dives Into Twist Ending
Speaking with Discussing Film, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse director Kemp Powers discussed the sequel's cliffhanger ending.
Powers shared how he believes the secret to a good cliffhanger is when fans think they "have the answer to what the character should do" before the ending makes that decision much more complicated:
"For me, a really good cliffhanger, leading up to it, you think you have the answer to what the character should do. But the cliffhanger introduces another question that makes that seemingly easy answer actually way more complicated. So you already know that in the next story, there’s a lot more to be figured out."
Relating back to the end of Across the Spider-Verse, he noted how Miles knows exactly what he has to do and "where he needs to go" before things go entirely out of whack right at the end:
"Here, I think we understand exactly what Miles has to do and where he needs to go. But it’s important for the cliffhanger to say, 'Wait a minute, everything we thought that he needed to do has now been complicated, endlessly more.' Therefore, you need another entire movie to get that sorted out."
Co-director Joaquim Dos Santos saw it as a matter of how to "ask a strong enough question up" that it needs to be answered immediately, while also making mention of fans needing to be drawn to the characters in order for everything to work:
"For me, it’s how do you ask a strong enough question up top that you need the answer immediately? To have audiences turn around and go right back into the theater to figure out what the heck is going on and how our characters are going to handle the situation. If you’re not drawn to the characters at the beginning of the story, if we haven’t done a proper enough job of setting Miles up and making sure that all those connections are as strong as they possibly could be, then the cliffhanger isn’t as strong."
But while the cliffhanger was an important part of the story, co-director Justin K. Thompson also made it clear that the movie had to feel "like a complete experience and a complete story" on its own rather than just setting up more movies:
"At the same time, we had to make sure this movie felt like a complete experience and a complete story as well. We also needed to leave enough unanswered questions that you would be compelled to come back. That balance was definitely the biggest challenge."
This ending was especially abrupt considering that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was the first Marvel movie from any studio in nearly three years to go without a mid or post-credits scene.
How Does Spider-Verse 2 Ending Set Up Spider-Verse 3?
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
Looking at everything that happened at the end of Across the Spider-Verse, it's not shocking to see so many intense story threads still left hanging for its upcoming sequel.
The big twist came when Miles Morales wound up stuck on Earth-42, coming face-to-face with his doppelganger, who happened to be that universe's Prowler after there was no Spider-Man in that world to stop things from falling into chaos.
And considering that Gwen Stacy now has her own team of Spider-People featuring some characters from the first movie, the set-up is there for an all-out war between dimensions with the Multiverse at stake.
On top of that, with the producers having once discussed an ending to this movie that rivaled Avengers: Endgame, it's clear that Sony's team has every intention to come back after this cliffhanger with a bang.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters, and Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse will arrive in theaters on March 29, 2024.