Hailee Steinfeld And Shameik Moore Take Us Back Into The Spider-Verse

Back in 2018, Into The Spider-Verse changed everything.

Miles Morales’ first big-screen adventure didn’t just break boundaries in terms of its cutting edge-animation, designed to look like a comic book come-to-life, it also transformed the modern blockbuster by ushering the comic book concept of a multiverse onto the big screen.

Since it was released, both the MCU and DCEU have embraced the multiverse, and that’s not the only place you can find it in pop culture: the recent Oscar winner Everything Everywhere All At Once put its own unique spin on the idea. It all raised the stakes for Across The Spider-Verse, as the animated Spidey sequel needed to remain ahead of the curve – not that star Shameik Moore, who voices Miles, was worried about them being able to pull it off twice.

Sony Pictures Animation

He told Zavvi: “I was more excited than nervous – I mean, I’m still excited, the best part of this process is always getting the movie out into the world and seeing the responses. The first film’s impact was more of a motivator, of wanting to get back in there and do it again, but even better.”

The glowing reviews that have greeted Across The Spider-Verse are testament to the creative team’s attempts to push boundaries further this time around, whether it’s through the breathtaking animation, or a narrative that gets deeper into the heart of what it truly means to wear the mask.

For all the gorgeous visuals, it’s a movie that wouldn’t work if it weren’t rooted in two separate coming-of-age stories; Miles’ attempts to define himself both in and outside of his costume, and Gwen Stacy’s (Hailee Steinfeld) struggle with revealing her biggest secret to a dad who wants Spidey dead.

Sony Pictures Animation

Meeting up together after months apart in different corners of the multiverse, Miles sneakily tags along on her assigned mission from Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) and the Spider Society, to protect the very fabric of the multiverse from falling apart.

This is easier said then done when faced with new villain The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), who has the ability to travel anywhere he wants through portals in his skin. He’s the perfect antagonist for Miles to face as a superhero still coming to terms with his identity, as stopping him will mean teaming up with various Spidey variants elsewhere – a contrast between himself and countless others that helps him find out more about who he is as a hero.

As Moore explained: “When we first saw Miles, he was figuring it out. He had to take that leap of faith and embrace the mask.

Sony Pictures Animation

“In this film, he has embraced the mask, but he’s still just figuring out how to wear that mask, you know? His whole arc in this movie is essentially about following his gut, not anybody else’s, and learning that it’s okay to do that.”

But before we get to Miles, a 20-minute opening prologue reintroduces us to Gwen, drawing parallels between her and the teen Spider-Man. Both are wrestling with letting their families in on their big secret this time around, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of their similarities.

As Steinfeld explained to Zavvi: “The relationships with their families are one of the biggest connections between the two of them, and it’s not something that we find they necessarily talk about. They’re at a very similar point in their lives where they are trying to figure it all out, and at the same time, the dynamic between them and their parents continues to evolve.

Sony Pictures Animation

“They’re both at that point in life where they’re wanting to figure out how to gracefully break away from that foundation and become themselves unapologetically and really live in their purpose, whilst still being someone that their parents will be proud of. I know that Gwen is desperately trying to get her father to understand that she’s much like him, and that she just wants to help people, but it just looks a lot different than what he’s used to”.

The character arcs help ground the story, and ensure there is far more to the movie than its eye-popping visuals. There are tons of Easter eggs and sight gags in every last frame, requiring several viewings to properly unpack them all – even Steinfeld confesses that she’s not had enough time to dive into the depth of design on display here.

“I’ve only seen the finished product once and I feel like I would blink and miss something”, she laughed. “So I cannot wait to go back in just so many more times, just for the sake of appreciating the amount of time, effort, love and passion that went into creating this this beautiful, beautiful project.”

Sony Pictures Animation

Across The Spider-Verse ends on a cliffhanger – and naturally, both stars are remaining tight lipped about what’s in store in the third movie, Beyond The Spider-Verse, which arrives on Friday, 29th March 2024 (if you’ve already seen Across The Spider-Verse, then we have a detailed spoiler breakdown here).

What we do already know, however, is that anything in the multiverse is possible – there are no restrictions on what weird and wonderful universes these characters could fall into. So, with this in mind, could Gwen Stacy meet up with Steinfeld’s live-action MCU character next time around?

“Your guess is as good as ours! But Gwen and Kate Bishop together? Of course I’d love to see it!”

Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is in UK cinemas now.

Pre-order the Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse 4K Steelbook now.

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Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.