Climb to new heights of heroism with Spiderman 

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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Swinging onto the screen this week at Tryon Theatre is the highly anticipated “Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse,” the sequel to the commercially and critically acclaimed film “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.” 

This Spiderman series is a departure from the live-action Spiderman portrayed in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both the identity of Spiderman and the art form used to depict his heroic exploits have been novelly reimagined, providing for an artistically beautiful, narratively compelling and emotionally resonant film. 

The film, much like its predecessor, makes an impassioned argument for the capacity of animation to tell a story with all the equivalent depth and complexity of live action. It also demonstrates how animation, in its limitless potential for nuance, is able to bring a unique art style to each different character/universe, providing personality and emotional commentary that would otherwise be lost or shoehorned into tedious exposition. 

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This film’s plot, as with many of the comic book adaptations of late, is concerned with the concept of the multiverse, the infinite catalog of parallel worlds, each different in their own slight permutations. The foundational concept of the “Spiderverse” films is that Spiderman (and various other Spider-heroes – not all of whom are men, let alone human) is a constant, present in each iteration of reality. Until recently, these worlds were kept separate, with no overlap between them. However, in the first “Spiderverse” film an industrial experiment gone awry brings these worlds crashing into one another in complicated and dangerous ways, including meetings between various Spider-heroes, all of whom had previously thought themselves unique and singular in their powers. 

The hero at the center of the film is teenager Miles Morales, a young and compassionate Spiderman, still relatively fresh to his powers and the great responsibility inseparable from those powers. As Miles progresses in his skills the art beautifully reflects it: his earlier, more untrained, actions are animated with fewer frames than his later educated efforts, providing a clipping and jerky movement to his inexperience and a graceful fluidity to his earned proficiency. 

As Miles encounters Spider-heroes from other worlds, they are depicted in differing art forms, some watercolors, some paper-overlay, some oil, some cel-shaded and more, allowing each iteration of Spider-heroes to present uniquely. As Miles explores this new limitless multiverse he faces new foes and new challenges to the morality that has always underpinned the character of Spiderman, he proves over and over the importance of compassion. 

As we are installing a new projector at Tryon Theatre, we will be closed on July 19 and July 20. “Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse” will show July 21 – July 23. 

Any lover of animation will find themselves enthralled with the film’s artistry, and any movie-lover should find themselves compelled by the narrative. We know our younger crowd will be eager to see this, and we hope some of our older crowd will take a chance on this animated film and find the cinematic value inside the frenetic form.