Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse UHD Review

4.5 Stars Exciting next chapter
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Review

Miles Morales returns in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, a thrilling sequel to 2018’s Oscar winner for Best Animated Feature.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
Released: 02 Jun 2023
Rated: PG
Runtime: 140 min
Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Cast: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry
Writer(s): Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dave Callaham
Plot: Miles Morales catapults across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. When the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles must redefine what it means to be a ...
IMDB rating: 8.9
MetaScore: 86

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG
Run Time: 2 Hr. 20 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 09/05/2023
MSRP: $29.99

The Production: 4/5

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has a much more complicated plot than its predecessor, and to try and write a summary that is spoiler-free is nearly impossible. Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) has been recruited by alternate universes Spider-Men Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) and Jessica Drew (Issa Rae) to assist them in maintaining order in the already unraveling multiverse. Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is considered by Miguel to be an anomaly, a person who was never supposed to become a Spider-Man, but must now follow “canon” like all others like him. But Miles’ new nemesis, The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), who has the ability to create portals, has been travelling through multiverses, using the collider to increase his powers. On Spots’ tail is Gwen, who defies orders and visits Miles during her investigation. When Miles realizes the real reason for Gwen’s visit, he follows her to an alternate universe where they meet the Indian Spider-Man aka Pavitr Prabhakar (Karan Soni) to help him take down The Spot along with assistance from Spider-Punk aka Hobie Brown (Daniel Kaluuya). But during the ordeal, Miles breaks canon for that universe, saving someone he shouldn’t have, which leads to serious consequences for both him and Gwen.

There is a lot more going on here, and one could easily get lost if not paying close attention to what is unfolding on screen, which does make this a good movie for repeat viewing. The movie alternates its animation style as it travels through universes (including a rather funny Lego world), making this another eye-popping adventure in terms of its overall unique look. Directors Joaquim Dos Santos (Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra), Kemp Powers (Soul) and Justin K. Thompson keep the story flowing along with brief backstories that callback to issues of the various incarnations of Spider-Man in the Marvel comic books. Do be prepared, though, for a real cliffhanger of an ending, with the conclusion tentatively set to be released in 2024.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, at least according to IMDB, was rendered out as a 2K digital intermediate. Sony’s 2160p HEVC encode has been graded in high dynamic range with both Dolby Vision and HDR10. As expected, the HDR really helps the colors pop throughout most of the film. There is also some perceived depth to the image, as well as some intentional spotted color drift like you would see occasionally when reading a color comic on newsprint. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks that still retain strong overall detail.

Audio: 5/5

The default Dolby Atmos track on the UHD disc is very immersive, with very active surrounds where necessary and great use of heights to portray characters and other objects flying overhead in addition to atmospheric street sounds. LFE is strong, lending some nice low-end support to its heavily hip-hop influenced score. Dialogue is always clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 4/5

It was nice that Sony included the directors’ commentary track on the UHD disc. All other extras can be found on the included Blu-ray disc.

Filmmakers Commentary: The only special feature included on both discs, writer-producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson have a very lively discussion on the various aspects of the film including animation design, voice performance, story, etc.

Creating the Ultimate Spider-Man Movie (1080p; 14:49): A very entertaining look at the making of the film.

Obscure Spiders and Easter Eggs (1080p; 5:39): A brief rundown of the many Easter Eggs scattered throughout the film.

“I’mma Do My Own Thing” Interdimensional Destiny (1080p; 8:26): A look at the many questions Miles faces in the movie.

Across the Worlds: Designing New Dimensions (1080p; 7:52): A look at the different animation styles used in the movie.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Cast (1080p; 13:09): A look a the movie’s voice cast.

Designing Spiders and Spots (1080p; 12:31): A look at the different character designs.

Raising a Hero (1080p; 8:56): Family life of the many characters in the movie.

Scratches, Score and the Music of the Multiverse (1080p; 5:17): A look at the music in the film.

Across the Comics-Verse (1080p; 8:03): Hiring many of the artists from the comic books to help design characters and worlds.

Escape from Spider-Society (1080p; 8:14): Designing the multi-Spider chase.

Miguel Calling (1080p; 5:33): A deleted scene in storybook/animatic form.

Lyric Videos (1080p; 4:33): Annihilate by Mero Boomin, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, Offset; Calling by Metro Boomin, Nav, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie with Swae Lee.

Digital Copy: A Movies Anywhere code is included to redeem a 4K digital version of the film.

Overall: 4.5/5

Fans of the first film will likely enjoy this one, and Sony has really packed this edition with tons of special features that never feel like filler material.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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Colin

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Awesome review. We have the first one on UHD. I can’t wait to watch this second installment with my kids.
 

SD_Brian

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Not a comment on this particular movie (which I'm looking forward to seeing), but am I the only one hoping that Hollywood will soon get this whole "multiverse" thing out of their systems?
 

DigniT@DigniT!

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Loved this film. Saw it multiple times in the theatre. I find the storytelling and the visuals endlessly compelling. This and THE BLUE CAFTAN really have been my favorite films so far this year!
 

Kyle_D

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It's a great film, and I say that as someone who is largely burnt-out on superhero and "multiverse" movies.

Unfortunately, my disc arrived damaged and would not read past the first layer change in two different drives.
 

Jake Lipson

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Unfortunately, my disc arrived damaged and would not read past the first layer change in two different drives.
I would try to exchange that for a replacement. Mine plays fine (although I have the Blu-ray+DVD, not the 4K edition.)
 

Kyle_D

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I would try to exchange that for a replacement. Mine plays fine (although I have the Blu-ray+DVD, not the 4K edition.)
Yes, Amazon already shipped a replacement, no-questions asked. This is the second triple layer disc I’ve received with defects at a layer change. Unfortunately, I did not catch the first one (For a Few Dollars More) until the return window had expired.
 

Bryan Tuck

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Not a comment on this particular movie (which I'm looking forward to seeing), but am I the only one hoping that Hollywood will soon get this whole "multiverse" thing out of their systems?

I think it's like any idea they latch onto. The idea itself might be pretty good, but then it's just run completely into the ground by a lack of creativity.

That said, "lack of creativity" is not a problem for the SPIDER-VERSE movies. :) I'm much more tolerant of overused concepts when they're used not as a crutch but as a springboard to explore genuinely interesting characters and ideas.
 

Kyle_D

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I think it's like any idea they latch onto. The idea itself might be pretty good, but then it's just run completely into the ground by a lack of creativity.

That said, "lack of creativity" is not a problem for the SPIDER-VERSE movies. :) I'm much more tolerant of overused concepts when they're used not as a crutch but as a springboard to explore genuinely interesting characters and ideas.
Agreed. Interestingly, Lord and Miller were hired to make The Flash back in 2015 before Andy Muschietti took over the project. On a superficial level, the plot of The Flash shares a lot in common with the Spider-Verse movies, but the gulf in execution between the two illustrates your point quite nicely, IMO.

The Spider-Verse films would be remarkable for their visual design alone. The writing elevates them even further, with well-defined characters, emotional stakes, and plotting that uses the "multiverse" to cleverly question so many stale genre tropes. If they have a flaw, it's that they're almost too frenetically caught-up in their own inventiveness.
 
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