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