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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Strong messages about courage, empathy, friendship, mentoring, perseverance, the importance of power and responsibility, and working with others for the greater good. Also a lesson about not allowing "imposter syndrome" to make you feel like you don't belong. Trust yourself and your instincts instead of just following the rules. Parents teach the importance of unconditional love. Another prominent message is about gatekeeping and who gets to decide what "has" to happen in a story or fandom.
Positive Role Models
Miles is brave and committed to doing the right thing, even when it puts him at risk or causes his family and friends to wonder why he's frequently late, absent, or even hiding something from them. Miles' parents are supportive, encouraging, and make it clear that they have high expectations, but they also love him unconditionally. Gwen is brave and protective. She doesn't want to lose any more friends. Various other Spider-people each have talents and strengths, but they also have to balance the rules with their beliefs. Peter continues to mentor Miles, learning about patience and parenthood in the process.
Main character Miles Morales, who's Puerto Rican and Black (and is voiced by Jamaican American actor Shameik Moore) is the first Afro-Latino superhero to headline a Marvel movie. Other Black characters include Miles' father and uncle, Jess Drew (Issa Rae), Hobie Brown (Daniel Kaluuya), and Margo Kess (Amandla Stenberg). The head Spider-Man in charge, Miguel O'Hara (Oscar Isaac), is cued as Latino (he speaks Spanish with Miles), and Miles' mom, Rio (Luna Lauren Velez), is Puerto Rican. In smaller roles, Spider-Man India is voiced by Karan Soni, who's Indian American; Peni Parker is voiced by Kimiko Glenn, who's biracial White and Japanese; and Sun-Spider is voiced by comic Danielle Perez, who's disabled and queer. Unlike in the first movie, Gwen Stacy is basically a second main character here, and Rio and Jess Drew have pivotal roles, improving the gender balance. A poster in a background frame briefly depicts the transgender flag and reads "Protect Trans Lives." There's also a brief glimpse of pickup wheelchair basketball.
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Violence & Scariness
Intense large-scale action violence/destruction/explosions and close-up confrontation. Property is destroyed, people are put in danger, and characters are held prisoner. Several fights, which range from humorous to destructive. Frequent suspense/peril and potential for danger or capture. For the most part, superhero powers/black-hole-like weapons are used for fights/combat. A montage of flashbacks shows how various Spideys lost characters they loved and also what happens when a canonical event is missed or interrupted. A character is held, bound and captive, more than once.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Captain and Mrs. Morales embrace more than once. Miles and Gwen have obvious romantic tension but don't do much more than stare at each other and hug. Others, including Miles' parents, assume that they're in a relationship. A character references the fact that Gwen falls for "Peter" in nearly every universe. A character says that he feels the chemistry between Gwen and Miles. The villain is shown basically naked, but he's a white humanoid being with various black spots/holes on his body and doesn't have any genitalia. He makes repeated comments about his (literal) "holes," which some may take suggestively.
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Several uses of "shoot," as well as "what the..." (unfinished), "crap," "butt," "hell," "dang," "freakin'"; insults like "mistake," "anomaly," "stupid," "dumb," "dear God, no," and a use of "ass."
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Products & Purchases
On camera: Marvel comics, Sony headphones/electronics, a Spider-Man video game, and Nike sneakers (specifically Air Jordans), Spalding balls. Off-camera: lots of Spider-Man and Marvel-based comics, apparel, toys, games, collectibles, house goods, much more.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink red wine and an unspecified beverage out of red cups at a party.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is the highly anticipated sequel to 2018's excellent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. More than a year after the events of the first film, both Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) -- who are co-main characters this time around -- are dealing with threats in their parts of the Spider-Verse. When a "villain of the week" decides to strengthen his power, Gwen and an elite team of Spideys try to step in, and Miles unintentionally causes a multi-verse catastrophe. Expect fairly intense peril and violence -- fights, large-scale destruction, explosions, weapons, and more. But there's also a lot of humor, plus references to various other Spider-Man iterations. Language includes "crap," "shoot," and "ass," and Miles and Gwen's slow-burn romance is more about longing and lingering looks than action. The diverse cast includes prominent Afro-Latino, Black, and White characters, and the movie's messages focus on empathy, courage, perseverance, teamwork, and (of course!) the nature of power and responsibility. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This imaginative, intense sequel impresses with its layered, touching storyline that highlights the difficulties of being a lonely Spider-Person without anyone who knows the truth. Like the first film, this installment will be a joy to watch and rewatch, with repeat viewings practically required so viewers can (try to) capture all of the movie's various Easter eggs, in-jokes, and references to bits and pieces of Spider-Man lore. While the ambitious nemesis, Spot, isn't as initially frightening as other supervillains (he's funnily bumbling at first), his single-minded focus on destroying Miles and everything he loves is downright eerie. Then there's Miguel, a Spider-Man leader who's a compelling stand-in for everyone who demands canonical conformity in their fandoms. He seems like a good guy, but his rigid adherence to "the canon" transforms his protectiveness into an insidious gate-keeping that threatens Peter just as much as the Spot does.
Steinfeld stands out as Gwen, who has an even bigger role here than in the first movie. She and Miles share a deep connection, but, due to the circumstances, it's not yet defined as romantic, considering how the Gwens in most multiverses fall for their Peter Parkers with disastrous consequences. The effects here are stellar, combining live-action characters, video footage, and more with different forms of animation. Some of fans' favorite Spider-People from the first movie aren't in this film, but the new ones are fascinating, particularly Jess Drew (Issa Rae), who's somewhat of a mentor to Gwen, and Hobie Brown, aka Spider-Punk, a Black, Cockney-accented anarchist voiced brilliantly by Daniel Kaluuya. He's got a Basquiat-meets-Jimi Hendrix vibe and is so cool that Miles is part in awe, part jealous. The movie's ending is sure to spark debate, but directors Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson have given writer-producer Phil Lord's vision enough Spidey Sense to lock in audiences for another must-see movie.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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