After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse. There, he encounters a team of Spider-People and clashes with them over how to handle a new threat.
Starring Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld and Brian Tyree Henry, this movie is an action-packed adventure with heart and humor. Its striking animation matches bold storytelling for a purely enjoyable experience.
Miles Morales is the Spider-Man of his own reality. But despite his accomplishments, he’s not accepted by the larger Spider-people because of his differences. Across the Spider-Verse shows this through the scene where he returns to his dorm room at Brooklyn Visions Academy and finds Peter Parker waiting for him, restrained by Ganke Lee.
Unlike the other spiders, Miles doesn’t have the power of invisibility or the ability to turn himself into a bioelectric blaze. But he does have a venom strike and the ability to camouflage into his surroundings, thanks to the specific species of spider that bit him.
When Miles and Ganke arrive at the house of Peter’s Aunt May, they find three more interdimensional travellers: the private-eye spider Noir, a Japanese teenager with a robot suit named Peni Parker and the cartoon-logic wielding anthropomorphic pig Spider-Ham. They’re all looking to shut down Kingpin’s supercollider and return to their own universes.
But Miguel O’Hara — better known as Spider-Man 2099 — doesn’t want them to go. He feels that the Spider-Society needs to maintain the multiverse’s stability by ensuring that every Spider-Person’s canon events (like their uncles dying) play out the way they’re meant to.
Gwendolyn Maxine “Gwen” Stacy was bitten by the radioactive spider in this alternate dimension and gained superhuman powers, which she used to become the sexy crime-fighter known as Spider-Woman. She’s a confident neighborhood web-slinger, but struggles with guilt over her failure to save her friend Peter Parker from his death. She also tries to balance her duties as a superhero with her responsibilities as a daughter to Miles Morales.
Across the Spider-Verse, we see Gwen grapple with all of these issues as she pings around the Multiverse and meets many different versions of herself. One detail that fans have seized on is her visible support for transgender people. Gwen is often shown wearing pink and blue, the colors of the trans flag. In one scene, she’s seen hanging a framed “protect trans kids” flag in her room.
The movie also shows Gwen forming a band with Spider-Man variants from other worlds, and collaborating with them to fight off the villains that plague her home. But she’s also struggling with her hesitancy to join Miguel O’Hara’s Spider-Society, a conflict that puts her at odds with Miles. Ultimately, Gwen decides to choose her duty as a superhero over her feelings for Miles.
The Marvel Multiverse is filled with many different alternate realities and worlds. In one of those realities, Peter Parker became a crime-fighting hero called Spider-Man Noir. This version of Spider-Man is based on 1930s pulp fiction and has a very unique style of writing.
Noir was first introduced in the mini-series Spider-Man Noir and Eyes Without a Face. It was created by David Hine, Fabrice Sapolsky and Carmine Di Giandomenico and features a very cool costume design by Marko Djurdjevic. The series was so popular that it spawned several sequels.
Eventually, Noir began to work with other Spider-Men from different universes and even ventured into the Spider-Verse. He took down Wilson Fisk, went toe-to-toe with Octavius and even saved the life of his Aunt May. He also helped to create a device that allows Spideys from across the Multiverse to travel between their home universes.
After all of that, Noir was seemingly killed in the Spider-Geddon storyline but was resurrected in 2020’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie. He now uses stereotypical 1930s dialogue and his appearance has been altered to match that of the movie. He works as a private detective and teams up with Miles Morales to retrieve the Spider-god idol.
It’s hard to imagine, but in the world of comics, there once existed a pig-headed parody of Spider-Man. Created by Tom DeFalco (a co-creator of the X-Men character Dazzler and a longtime Spidey writer who’d wind up as Marvel’s editor-in-chief) and Mark Armstrong, the anthropomorphic Peter Porker first premiered in a 1983 one-shot called Marvel Tails.
After that, he got his own solo series published by the short-lived Marvel Comics subsidiary Star (and back-up stories in Marvel Tales and What The–?!), lasting 17 issues before fading from the spotlight. He’s made sporadic appearances in other books, though, and has been featured in various Marvel Comics crossovers over the years.
Most recently, he’s joined the Web Warriors team of Spider-folk from different realities — first during the 2016 Secret Wars miniseries and then in the ongoing Web Warriors series written by Mike Costa — as their oddball comic relief. But as this week’s animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse shows, you can never really forget that he’s the Spectacular Spider-Ham. He’s not just a joke; he’s an unstoppable hero who’ll wreck you no matter what you throw at him. Just ask any of his long-time foes.
Spider-Man has appeared in a ton of animated shows and movies over the years. So much so, in fact, that he has become a sort of pop culture icon of his own, appearing on a slew of merchandise and even making the rounds on the lunchbox circuit.
Before the current incarnation of Miles Morales, he got his own animated series, which ran for six seasons and received a wide variety of themed merchandise (like comic books and McDonald’s Happy Meal toys). Though not the most critically acclaimed show to feature our friendly neighborhood hero, it is a nostalgic favorite thanks to its ’80s-inspired animation and madcap adventures on the techno-futuristic Counter-Earth.
This reimagined version of the character also featured a star-studded cast of voice actors, including Dan Gilvezan as Spider-Man and Stan Lee himself in his role as Marvel Comics editor-in-chief. The show also introduced fan-favorites like Iceman (Frank Welker), Firestar (Kathy Garver) and Morbius (the villain of the week, voiced by Ethan Embry). It’s a series that’s often cited as a major influence on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Gwen Stacy has a long history of caring for people close to her, from rescuing her boyfriend Peter Parker from the Mumbattan bridge collapse to standing up to Ned Leeds and defending Miles against Miguel O’Hara. She has also proven herself to be an effective superhero, as she showed by being able to shoot webs out of her wrists and using her computer hacking skills to help her fight against her enemies.
She took a break from interdimensional travel in order to spend more time with her loved ones, but returned to her role as Spider-Woman when Kingpin brainwashes her father George into stealing police files. She later faces a new threat in Man-Wolf, but she is rescued by her friends Spider-Man and Norman Osborn, who have both lost their memories as the Green Goblin and Kingpin, respectively.
In the 2018 movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Gwen is voiced by Hailee Steinfeld. In the film, she has pink ombre hair and is a regular member of the Champions team alongside Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, and others. She has also appeared in various Spider-Gwen solo adventures, as well as the ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’ crossover. In Edge of Spider-Verse, Gwen fought her own version of Peter Parker, who was mutated into the Lizard due to an experimental serum.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Spider-Man first jumped between multiple universes in Marvel Comics’ bimonthly title, Marvel Team-Up, which began in March 1972 and ran for 150 issues. In the years that followed, he would frequently be paired with various Marvel heroes (and sometimes with characters from other publishers’ worlds) in his annual titles, including Fantastic Four, Hulk, and the Avengers.
In 2018, Sony Pictures Animation debuted a different take on the character with Into the Spider-Verse, which introduced Miles Morales and his multiversal friends. The film earned critical acclaim for its animation, visual style, story, voice acting, and action sequences.
The movie follows New York City teenager Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) who is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains powers he can’t control. He teams up with Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Jake Johnson) to stop greedy crime lord Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) from opening a portal that could destroy the entire city.
The movie demonstrates that Spider-Man can belong to anyone, even those who aren’t part of the majority. It also shows how each of these characters has their own unique identity and heart, despite being part of an immense group of spider-heroes. In addition, the film features an array of diverse and inclusive characters, from female incarnations to different races.