FILM COLUMN – Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

WELL, it’s official. I am an old fuddy-duddy!

On the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, back in 2018, I bemoaned, like Limerick’s answer to Victor Meldrew, how Marvel had lost its way. I complained at the time that superhero movies had “melded into a wearisome hodgepodge of lifeless dishwater”.

At this point I found the very prospect of sitting through yet another man in tights romp — which were being sh*t out with Dulcolax ease — as an insufferable chore. But I always bit the bullet and went along, with a head on me like I was sucking on a mouthful of wasps, to keep my little men happy.

But then came Into the Spider-Verse and I thought, wow, could this be the way forward for Marvel Movies, the shot in the arm it so badly needed?

Was this the winning formula needed for me to retain my sanity while skipping to my offspring’s every whim?

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To say I was excited would be an understatement.

“This is an incredibly rare cinematic delight that is bold, exciting, full of humour and heart, and is guaranteed to knock your socks off. This is not only the best Spiderman movie, or the best superhero movie ever made, but also the best damn movie of 2018 by a country mile,” I enthused in these pages at the time.

If only all superhero movies were as staggeringly entertaining, I thought.

So expectations were high when I took my two boys to see the second instalment in this planned trilogy around the hallucinatory adventures of Brooklyn’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.

And sure enough, Across the Spider-Verse is a dazzling explosion of spills and thrills that are bigger, bolder, and manage to push the boundaries even further  — but effectively with the same tricks as before. This is an all-out attack on the senses. There’s no time to catch your breath or even to savour the spectacle unfolding before your eyes.

But between the exasperating cliffhanger and the mind-bending sensory overload, I left the cinema feeling dazed but mostly old. Still, that is probably no bad thing. My kids thought it was better than its predecessor and they were grinning like Cheshire Cats as they guided me back out into the sunlight.

Personally, I think I’d have to see the film another couple of times to make head nor tail of it. But what do I know?

Oh, won’t someone please just pass me my slippers and Horlicks!