An comic book animation of Spider-Man dressed in a red and blue suit leaping of a building
One of the dizzying art styles in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Image credit: Sony Pictures

Across the Spider-Verse made me want to disappear into one of the black holes created in the film and land in another dimension where it does not exist.

I have never willingly gone to see a nerd film. I’m not a fan of superheroes, fairies, transformers, or whatever. Honestly, Superman, Batman and Spider-Man all make me cringe. I have no idea what Marvel, DC or comics include, and I don’t want to after going to see Across the Spider-Verse. I would rather live in ignorance in my own little dimension.

To prepare myself I saw the first film Into the Spider-Verse at home which to my surprise, I actually enjoyed. I appreciated the animation, understood the plot, and was interested in the characters. Probably because it wasn’t just a story of ‘man gets bitten by a spider, makes oddly sticky webs around a city, singlehandedly saves the world, and kisses a ginger girl.’ But for me, Across the Spider-Verse was a let-down by comparison. It was unimpressive and even boring at times.

A kids’ film:

Firstly, this is a kids’ film, and no one can tell me otherwise. If it’s not, then why is it animated and why was the cinema crammed with chattering children accompanied by their kid-trapped-in-adult-bodied parents? I was running late to the 12pm screening of Across the Spider-Verse so I was already in a bad mood as I noticed a swarm of children waiting to buy tickets in front of me.

As for why I was late, I was getting a Meal Deal at Tesco. Yes, I do sneak food into the cinema because I refuse to pay £10 for popcorn and a Tango Ice Blast, judge me all you want.

multiple adult men appeared wearing skin-tight full-body Spider-Man suits

I arrived sweating with minutes to spare and managed to secure the only ticket left and was somehow seated with the best view in the house. Which, naturally, was wasted on me.

I patiently sat through the trailers watching adverts for about 15 more nerd films in which there is some form of apocalypse that a man with random superpowers in a tight suit prevents. Now that I’ve seen Spider-Man I feel like I’ve seen them all. And as a group of grown men shushed some children a Fruit Shoot advert started, confirming Spider-Man as a thing for those under the age of ten.

As the film began, I got over myself and settled into the animation which impressively combined several art styles to create a dazzling performance on the big screen. However, after about ten minutes into the almost three-hour film I began to get a headache from the animation style changing rapidly multiple times per scene. It seemed to me that the loose storyline about multiple dimensions and a million different Spider-Men, women and pigs in the universe, sorry Spider-Verse, were all created just to show off the filmmaker’s ability to hire every animation artist in Hollywood.

I didn’t get much from the plot aside from the fact that the main character, Miles Morales, was mildly more interesting than the other Spider-Creatures and black holes were being created by a faceless man that looked like a Dalmatian. While this held my interest the first time he appeared I soon got distracted from his plans and consumed by his spots, or whatever they were.

Meanwhile various Spider-Species were webbing around in an alien dimension but my eyes were focused on my Tesco Meal Deal. I was transfixed by my chicken, mozzarella and pesto sandwich, smoothie, and snack which for £3.40, Club Card price, was pretty good.

I am aware the film was only the first half and a second will be released in comic book fashion but the ending of the movie was predictable, despite audible gasps from the four small children seated in front of me. It felt unfinished, as though they ran out of time and had to rush the ending because they had dragged out the beginning with apparent love interest Gwen so much.

Bucketsful of popcorn:

I realised as I sat in the dark stuffy cinema smelling bucketsful of popcorn that I had just sunk more than two hours of my life into a film that didn’t even have a satisfying ending. I suppose now I’ll have to begrudgingly go to a second nerd film when it is released. By which time I will have entirely forgotten this mundane experience and I refuse to waste another four hours attempting to understand it.

As the lights came up and the children resumed their high-pitched giggling, I made my way out of the cinema contemplating what I had just seen and what my dream Meal Deal would be. And just as I thought the experience couldn’t get much worse multiple adult men appeared in the reception wearing skin-tight full-body Spider-Man suits where nothing was left to the imagination. The sight instantly made me retract my decision to see the next movie.

And I found myself wishing I had a watch to create one of those giant black holes to swallow me up and shoot me off into a universe where Spider-Man is non-existent.

An animation of a faceless black and white man falling backwards into a black hole in a supermarket
One of the villains in Across the Spider-Verse was a ‘faceless man that looked like a Dalmatian’ Image credit: Sony Pictures