Just like the creature that started all this, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” will leave you itching … for the third part of this trilogy.
It’s a link movie, the middle part of three “Spider-Verse” flicks. This one is a sequel to the 2018 “Into the Spider-Verse,” a masterpiece of animation that makes the viewer feel as though the pages of the comic have sprung onto the big screen.
Animation-wise, this is created as artfully as its predecessor – maybe even more so.
Directors Justin K. Thompson, Joaquim Dos Santos and Kemp Powers follow two parallel lives of victims of spider bites.
Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is Spider-Man in his own universe. And then there’s Spider-Woman, or Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) who has been separated from Miles, who obviously wants to consider her to be more than just a pal.
Gwen becomes part of the Spider Society, who travel from universe to university with Oscar Isaac as their leader.
Gwen, as we already know from the trailers, visits Miles, who insists on taking off after her. Trouble ensues.
Jason Schwartzman is on hand as a villain called The Spot, whose presence is at first comical … that is, until you realize just how much havoc he can wreak.
The film moves at a frenetic pace, with all kinds of nods to the comics and characters that have come before. There are a few moments in the Lego universe, and one hilarious live-action scene that’s a nod to an entirely different character’s universe. Even non-human creatures are web-slingers in other universes, and we see some of them briefly.
Each universe has a different visual style, with some that hearken back to the look of old-school comics. To say this psychedelic art is dazzling is an understatement. Some great emotional moments that focus on family relationships add to the action. Also, I loved the score, which is a fusion of a variety of music that kicks off with a throbbing beat to set the stage for the action to come.
Aficionados of the extra scenes at the end of Marvel movies should take note: This one does not have one. That’s because it’s not really a finale.
We’ll have to wait until 2024 to see what’s in store at the very end.
3 ½ stars
Rated: PG for violence and coarse language.
Running time: Two hours and 20 minutes.
At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.
Watch the trailer here.