I gave a bit of a spoiler to this article about a week ago with my ranking of the Spider-Man movies. I tried to cause a little bit of controversy, but proved to be rubbish at doing so. If you didn’t read that article, I put Across the Spider-Verse at number 3 behind the first Spider-Verse and Far From Home. I heard some people say that they considered this one the best Spider-Man movie of all time.
Why don’t I agree? For the clicks? Well, if that’s true, then it hasn’t worked. Also, I never perform simply for the reaction. All of my opnions, even the rotten ones, I come by honestly. So, what caused me to show (little horse racing humor for ya) this one?
To Be Continued…: I mentioned this one in my rankings. I also wrote about the other topic that I included in this section. But, we wait to discuss that one further. First, I understand that cliffhangers at the end of movies used to be more commonplace. But, I feel like we grew out of that and figured out how to tell coherent and cohesive storied to avoid that fate.
I mean, even Infinity War that left on one of the biggest cliffhangers of all time felt like it stood on its own as a movie. Plus, Endgame gave us a time jump that made the end of Infinity War feel more like an ending. Building the snap into Endgame and then giving the time jump feels uglier to me. This ending feels more like the Back to the Future series, which I love. But, the seamless transition between movies just gives off bad vibes.
The Decent, Part 2
Too Much Story: Obviously, this follows from (or leads to) the previous. Trying to jam The Spot (especially when they transitioned him to massive Avengers level threat) and Miles as the ultimate threat to the multiverse into one movie feels like a bit much. I understand that these stories are intertwined and that writing them can be difficult.
A bit of an aside here, but hopefully I pull it off. I talked all kinds of shit about Brian Michael Bendis with Chris when I heard that Marvel planned on rebooting the Ultimate line. I tried to comment a couple of times on their social media that I hope they leave out cannibalistic Hulk and incestuous Maximoff siblings, but they deleted them. So, I discussed it with Chris. I said, “All I want is a viable 2099 reboot and they’re bringing back the Ultimates.” Then, “I mean, Ultimate Spidey launched BMB’s career, so isn’t that enough hate for one lifetime?” Well, I come not to bury, but actually praise Mr. Bendis. I think, as the godfather of the serialized trade format in comics, he’d figure out a way to separate the two stories if they gave him a chance.
Supporting Spider-People: Seeing Spider-Man 2099 in the post credit scene made me more excited that I’m willing to admit in public. Like the movie before it, in Across the Spider-Verse, Miles finds himself teaming with others who lived a life very much like his. Spider-Gwen (more in a minute) makes a return. They also follow The Spot and pick up Spider-Man: India, Spider-Man (Hobart Brown, don’t call him Spider-Punk!), and our friend Peter B. Parker from the original. Because I love Hobie and Spider-Man: India grew on me, I wish they gave them move screen time and the team up potential with the players from the first movie is too enticing. Perhaps in the next movie.
Spider-Gwen “Controversy”: I said several times to my family, “People are big mad because the trans community identified Gwen.” Now, I just read that they banned Across the Spider-Verse in UAE becase of the presence of the trans rights flag in the movie. Mind you, none of this is discussed outright in the movie. There are some subtle mentions like the flag above (the only time I even noticed it in the movie), a discussion where Gwen talks about living two lives (which can be interpreted as her spider life, but I can see where the trans community identify it otherwise), and the fact that as the movie progresses and the stress gets to her, her color scheme reflects the trans colors very prominently. So, stay mad if you must, but I’m here for all of it.
The Spot Evolved: After saying they did to much with the two stories, I feel compelled to come back and explain myself a bit. Don’t get me wrong. I love both stories. There are things I’d do differently about the movie and both stories, but I’m a frustrated author blabbing on a blog and they’re all making one of the greatest animated movies of all time. With that being said, The Spot went from a literal joke at the beginning of the movie to a character that I legitimately feared by the end. When they revealed his final form and he spoke, I got chills. Maybe that’s why I’m so mad about this. I can’t wait to see the smack down that he delivers.
Right Place, Right Time: When Christine and I watched the Across the Spider-Verse trailer, we both cried. That’s not news. Getting older and watching your kids grow up changes your perspective and, apparently, you cry at the drop of a hat. Both of us sobbed at the Alanis Morrissette musical, too. Well, watching the movie and seeing a family on screen that genuinely loves each other (and finally getting that from Gwen and her dad) gives me the warm and fuzzies all over. I don’t give too much credit to pop culture (but I do give it credit when due) but I’m glad to have been able to experience all of this with my own family and share it with them.
So, if you think I “dissed” Across the Spider-Verse in my rankings, hopefully I redemmed myself here. I enjoyed the movie. Very much. As I said, there are things I’d change about it on a fundamental level. I watched the first one again the other day and I can’t say the same about that one. It is just a perfectly crafted story from beginning to end. Again, perhaps I’ll revisit my rankings after the next one.