Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse Early Buzz: Does The Sequel Match The Excitement Of The First Film?

We're a little over a week out from the release of "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" — the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2018 Oscar-winning movie — and the first reactions to the film have arrived on social media. And according to critics who were lucky enough to catch an early screening, "Across the Spider-Verse" is "terrific," an "incredible accomplishment," and the "ultimate Spider-Man experience." As you might've expected, everyone is going ga-ga over the work put into the animation, noting how it's "impossible to see it all [and] experience it all in one sitting."

Collider's Steven Weintraub echoed that with his reaction: "Absolutely loved ['Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.'] Wanted to push pause about a hundred times to study the incredible artistry on display. Cannot recommend this film enough and already looking forward to seeing it again." Characters being highlighted include "Get Out" star Daniel Kaluuya's Hobart "Hobie" Brown/Spider-Punk who uses a guitar as a weapon, and the new villain The Spot, played by Wes Anderson favorite Jason Schwartzman.

This time around, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales/Spider-Man (Shameik Moore) is reunited with cross-universe love interest Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld) on a mission to defeat The Spot (Schwartzman). Along the way, he meets the Spider Society, a whole group of Spider-People whose job is to protect the existence of the multiverse. We'll be treated to five new universes, writer-producer Christopher Miller teased back in March — they are "expansive" and "expressive," The Wrap's Drew Taylor said, noting Gwen's world was his favorite.

A lot more Spider-People!

Everyone is — expectedly — full of praise for the new "Spider-Verse" adventure. Fandango's Erik Davis said that it's the "real deal." Davis continued by saying it's "Visually unlike anything you will see in a theater this year — it very much feels like the ['Back to the Future Part II'] of the series. A middle chapter that's weird [and] funky [and] shocking, but also the ultimate [Spider-Man] experience." For Davis, Daniel Kaluuya's Spider-Punk is his favorite new character, calling him a "scene stealer [with] some great lines."

Kaluuya is one of many new Spider-People in "Across the Spider-Verse." We also have Issa Rae ("Insecure") as Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman who's pregnant, Karan Soni ("Deadpool") as Pavitr Prabhakar/Spider-Man India who got his powers via magic, Andy Samberg ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine") as Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider who was grown in a lab, and Oscar Isaac ("Moon Knight") as Miguel O'Hara/Spider-Man 2099 who leads the Spider Society. Alongside, in addition to Moore, Steinfeld, and Schwartzman, there are the returning talents of Brian Tyree Henry as Miles's police officer father Jefferson Davis, Luna Lauren Vélez as Miles's nurse mother Rio Morales, and Jake Johnson as Miles's mentor Peter B. Parker/Spider-Man.

ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis called it a "stunning achievement [visually]. It's everything a [Spider-Man] fan could ask for and much more. So good, it's hard to believe it exists. [...] What the ['Spider-Verse'] movies are doing with their multiverse storytelling visually and thematically is putting every other [superhero movie's] attempts to shame, with ['The Flash'] being the closest second but still behind it."

All across and beyond the Spider-Verse

All that said, "Across the Spider-Verse" is the first half of a two-part story. As you might recall, the film was called "Across the Spider-Verse – Part One" for a while. They decided to drop that ultimately, and turned "Part Two" into "Beyond the Spider-Verse." But that structure hasn't disappeared, per critics. Uproxx's Mike Ryan — who called the film "terrific" and Jason Schwartzman's The Spot the "funniest villain" — noted that it's a "bigger story, spread out over this movie and next." Brandon Davis agreed, calling it "very much an unfinished story by its end."

Still, Davis feels the "Spider-Verse" trilogy has the potential to become the "best ['Spider-Man'] trilogy by a landslide." And for what it's worth, the next chapter — "Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse," set to debut in March 2024 — is in the same hands as this one. We've three new directors at the helm of "Across the Spider-Verse" in Joaquim Dos Santos ("Justice League Unlimited"), "One Night in Miami..." writer Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, all of them making their feature film directorial debuts.

Christopher Miller joins frequent collaborator Phil Lord — they've written and directed "The Lego Movie" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" — as the writer, alongside David Callaham ("Wonder Woman 1984"). Miller has described "Across" as "The Empire Strikes Back" of the "Spider-Verse" trilogy.

Full reviews are out Wednesday, May 31. "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" releases June 2, 2023, in cinemas in the U.S.