Making sense of that cliff-hanger Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ending

As cliche as it may sound, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse lands its Empire Strikes Back ending perfectly, leaving audiences wanting more.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ends on a note that left fans shocked and in total disbelief.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a slam dunk. Sony Pictures Animation proves yet again that it's a premier storyteller in the superhero genre. The film, which is a sequel to the 2018 critical and commercial hit, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, picks up exactly where its predecessor left off. But, this time around, the follow-up broadens the Spider-Verse and its narrative canvass, providing an enthralling universe-hopping adventure that draws us in from the beginning.

From the start, we're pulled into a Spider-Verse on steroids, miles away from where we last saw the film's protagonist, Miles Morales, with Spider-Gwen's universe, Earth-65, serving as the opening backdrop.

From then on, the universe-hopping adventure is akin to swinging down a multidimensional rabbit hole, with more Spiders and more dimensions as well as a villain, The Spot, who takes the Spider-People for a wild, dangerous ride.

The Spot's emergence as a multiversal threat is one of the highlights of a film that's full of them.

The Spot, a character with dimensional portals on his body, is often seen as a comic relief, and the movie isn't afraid to play on this. In what can only be described as the greatest retcon in cinema history, The Spot is actually the guy who got Bagel'd in the first movie.

But. there's nothing funny about The Spot in Across the Spider-Verse. The sequel's creative reinvention transforms The Spot into a daunting villain who could literally threaten the entire multiverse.

Critics and audiences alike found the transformation brilliant, with parallels being drawn between him and Miles - both of which are anomalies within the Spider-Verse, initially dismissed before becoming pivotal moments of their own rights.

Interestingly, the movie subtly nods to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and seems to blur the lines between Sony's Spider-Man Universe, the MCU, and the Spider-Verse.

Spider-Man 2099's jaded view of who must be sacrificed for the good of everyone puts the very essence of who Spider-Man is and should be in question.

As Miguel O'Hara explains the Spider-Verse's interconnectivity, the MCU appears on-screen, as depicted in films such as Avengers: Endgame, Loki, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. This visual connection hints at a much deeper and closer collaboration between Sony and Disney, fanning the flames of speculation about Tom Holland and his live-action appearance in Beyond the Spider-Verse and one of the Spider-People from the Spider-Verse possibly swinging by the MCU.

Finally, Spider-Punk, armed with his anti-establishment and true-to-core punk philosophy, breaks the stereotypical naive and hypocritical anarchist and was eventually one of the first to call out Spider-Man 2099 on his BS. The scene-stealer also motivates Miles to use his powers to break free from the controlling Spider-Society. His dialogues, loaded with metaphors and wit, left audiences laughing, doubtful, and eventually, rooting for him.

As a bonus, Across the Spider-Verse continues its tradition of surprise cameos with Donald Glover reprising his role as The Prowler. This movie nods to his various involvements within the Spider-Man franchise, adding yet another layer of excitement and intrigue.

Retcons usually don't do films good, but Across the Spider-Verse does it in the best way possible.

Unfortunately, much to the amusement and shock of viewers, the film ends with a cliffhanger, echoing the comic book's beloved trope with the words, To Be Continued, written in the end.

Just a few minutes before that happens, the film takes us on an adrenaline-fueled ride into the unknown as we traverse dimensions with Miles who, in a bid to escape the Spider-Society, finds himself in an entirely different dimension.

Instead of going back to Earth-1610, Miles lands straight in Earth-42 where his father is the one who's dead and his uncle Aaron, deceased in his home universe, is very much alive. Yet, the biggest shock comes in the form of Earth-42's Prowler, who is none other than this dimension's version of Miles himself. This revelation underscores the film's exploration of the multiverse's complexities, setting a grim yet tantalizing stage for the threequel.

More importantly, Earth 42 is the only dimension in the film that isn't in the comics, putting it literally "beyond" the Spider-Verse.

Parallel to Miles' misadventures, we see Gwen mobilizing a squad of Spider-People, including the delightful Spider-Man and the brooding Spider-Man Noir, to aid her. As the narrative spirals into chaos and Miles faces off against his villainous doppelganger, the screen fades to black.

At the end of the day, Across the Spider-Verse does what a second film in a trilogy should - set-up the third one while being good enough to be watched on its own.

Audience reactions to this unexpected halt were uproarious, with many confessing that they would've happily sat through another couple of hours of the movie.

If Sony's goal was to make audiences forget that they'd already sat through a movie that's around two hours and a half in length, it's safe to say that they've succeeded.

Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse isn't scheduled to premiere until March 29, 2024, and that's barring any potential delays.

Until then, expect people to keep on talking about Across the Spider-Verse and that ending.

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Ray Ampoloquio

Ray Ampoloquio // Articles: 5847

Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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