The first thing that strikes me about Spider-Man Across the Universe is its colourful imagery coupled with a script that is matured and intelligent. There are thankfully no dumbed down dialogue or endless silly one liner gags. Just a straight off kick start to a jam-packed plot that will simply boggle the mind with its multi-verse trotting.
The opening epilouge sequence took up 20 minutes to set the stage for the rest of the story. The fast paced action and dialouge with a multitude of cameos, easter eggs, hidden details, inside jokes and crossover references to other Spider-Man movies, is to say the least, overwhelming and frankly, intimidating. In fact, I for one found this worked against the movie’s flow as there seem to be an secondary objection working in the background to cram in as much Spider references as possible in practically every scene. It made the viewing experience stressful as you struggle to keep up with its high speed pace. Not everything will be registered the first time round and you may end up lost and feeling a bit frustrated in the process.
On the plus side, the creative design and look is the film’s strongest factor. The vast variety of the different versions of Spider-Man and their respective universe never fails to impress. My favourite Spider-Man here is Pavitr who lives in the universe that has the city of Mumbattan – a futuristic mash-up of Mumbai and Manhattan. He came across as a very likeable, funny and humble version of Spider-Man. Hobie Brown the British Spidey from London is also another creative take of the character complete with his heavy accent and cool punk look. To the film makers’ credit, this superhero movie does stand out as an improvement over many of the live action superhero movies being churned out these days. It has a decent story line, and a very good script that does not insult the viewers’ intelligence. The only drawback is perhaps its subject matter revolving around the multi-verse which is frankly being done to death in the genre.
The film took its time to arrive at its final act which unfortunately ends with a cliff hanger. That means we need to wait for the third installment, Beyond the Spider-Verse which is expected to end the trilogy. In fact, in order to further appreciate this second installment, you might be better prepared by rewatching the first movie in the trilogy, Into the Spider-Verse (the titles are all so similar) before watching this second installment. I am not a fan of movies that leave you dangling without a proper closure, so this was a bit of a letdown for me.