Summary

  • “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse’s” script references its secret name, “Whac-a-mole,” which could allude to the many different Spider-People in the film.
  • The script for “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse” celebrates the collective work of thousands of writers and artists over the years, reflecting Spider-Man’s history as a collaborative endeavor.
  • The script of “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse” provides thought-provoking epigraph quotes that add another layer of meaning to the movie and emphasize its themes of individuality and universes.

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Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse is a good enough movie on its own, but a quick read-through of the script unearths a whole new layer of appreciation for the beloved multiversal adventure. So much works about Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, from the industry-defining animation to the all-star voice performances. But without a solid foundation, all of these triumphs wouldn’t stand nearly as brightly, resulting in one of the best Spider-Man movies ever made. Luckily, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Dave Callaham all come together to forge a truly spectacular Spider-Man story that adds a new level of understanding to the film on its own.

Many times, Hollywood’s best scripts will include details that aren’t intended to make it to the screen, providing the reader with background context that might not be obvious or explicitly stated, but allows the filmmaker to glean key insights into the intention of the story. Other times, a screenplay’s prose can be just as entertaining to read as the resultant movie is to watch, winking at the reader with clever descriptions or jokes that won’t convey on-screen, but keep the script easy and fun to read. Across The Spider-Verse’s script does all this and more, providing a fresh new lens to view the film through after reading.

10 Across The Spider-Verse’s Script References Its Secret Name

The film’s code name has some surprising meaning

Spider-Man Across The Spider-Verse Lenny

Many scripts featuring big-name IP like Spider-Man will use a secret title when in development, all in the name of keeping things spoiler-free. In Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s case, the script used the pseudonym “Whac-a-mole”, which the script itself makes reference to in an action line describing the exasperated shopkeeper Lenny’s attempts to foil The Spot’s robbery of his store with a baseball bat. Beyond referencing The Spot as the film’s main villain, “Whac-a-mole” could reference the many different Spider-People that pop up across the course of the story.

9 Across The Spider-Verse’s “Based On” Description Highlights Its Biggest Goal

The film feels like a celebration of Spider-Man for good reason

It’s common practice for a script’s title page to pay homage to its origins, reflecting the influence of the story should it be an adaptation or retelling of an existing story, as is so often the case for Hollywood blockbusters. Rather than draw inspiration from a singular Spider-Verse story, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse states its intention to represent and celebrate many different creators and stories. The script proudly claims to be based on “The collective work of thousands of writers and artists over the last sixty or so years”, alluding to Spider-Man’s history as a collaborative endeavor and pop-culture touchstone.

8 Across The Spider-Verse’s Epigraph Quotes Add Another Layer To The Movie

The script wears its values openly with some thought-provoking quotes

A close-up of Miles Morales smiling and Gwen Stacy playing drums in Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse

Before delving into the bones of the story, the script for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse acclimates its reader to the values of the story with some powerful epigraph quotes. The first quote, by Blaise Pascal, echoes the film’s struggle between Miles and Miguel in looking at the struggle of being Spider-Man from a new perspective, ruminating on the importance of youth as the next chapter of our history. Another quote recites a passage from a poem entitled Message To Black Youth by Sun-Ra, emphasizing the importance of Miles Morales’ representation as a Black teen superhero headlining a major film.

Finally, the epigraph ends with the message that “A person is a universe…“, keeping in line with the themes of individuality and the literal universes that encompass each Spider-Man throughout the film. These powerful quotes are a summation of the deeper meaning Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse intends to impart upon its audience. Watching the movie with them in mind is essentially a whole new experience, driving the critical points the film makes all the way home.

7 The Amazing Spider-Man Is Used As A Visual Guide

Spider-Verse’s script name drops the Andrew Garfield movies

It’s no secret that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and its predecessor took inspiration from previous Spider-Man films. But it’s shocking to see just how directly the script wanted the finished product to embody certain scenes from other Spider-Man movies, directly referencing Spider-Man’s fight with The Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man when Gwen fights her universe’s version of the villain, her own tragically transformed best friend, Peter. The script calls for an homage to Andrew Garfield’s battle with the reptilian monster, an easy-to-miss visual nod to previous Spider-Man films that’s easy to miss without having read the action.

6 Renaissance Vulture’s Real Name Gives The Villain Layers

Even Across the Spider-Verse’s minor villains still have backstories

the vulture in spider-man across the spider-verse

In both Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, it’s easy to overlook the minor, more monstrous villains that show up in brief appearances as filler fights to provide some visual spectacle. However, the script touches on the renaissance version of The Vulture’s backstory by revealing his real name, Adriano Tumino, an Italian play on Adrian Toomes. The level of care that went into taking the time to craft a new secret identity for this version of The Vulture clad in a DaVinci-esque flightsuit proves just how much the Spider-Verse movies value even their most minor of characters, each of them a universe unto themselves.

5 Across The Spider-Verse’s Script Ensures That Miles Has Grown

Lord and Miller clearly saw Miles’ growth as a priority

During the generous time-skip that occurs in between the first and second Spider-Verse movies, Miles has certainly come into his own as his world’s singular Spider-Man. The script makes this clear in no uncertain terms, emphasizing an action line describing how Miles has grown into a fully-fledged Spider-Man with a generous underline during his first tangle with The Spot. Knowing that Miles has come into his own as the web-slinging hero makes his decisions later on seem more calculated, rather than immature, and his exclusion from Miguel’s Spider-Society all the more jarring.

4 Each Spider-Verse Spot Visits Is Given Its Own Designation

No matter how briefly they’re shown, each dimension has a place in the Spider-Verse

Lego Spider-Man

After The Spot and falls into a liminal space within his own portals, he realizes that he’s capable of moving not just through space, but across dimensions. This is punctuated with a humorous series of vignettes as the villain literally pokes his head into a handful of quirky dimensions with only a single brief appearance. Even if the audience doesn’t stay in them long, Across the Spider-Verse‘s script is sure to give them a number designation — The Lego universe is Earth 13122, whereas the live-action Venom universe is labeled Earth-688. Each dimension getting a serial number, no matter how brief their appearance, alludes to just how seriously the Spider-Verse movies take their multiverse.

3 Gwen And Miles’ Thoughts Aren’t Always PG

The script isn’t as squeaky-clean as the finished product

Gwen and Miles in Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse

Both Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse maintain PG ratings, appealing to adults with thoughtful writing and dazzling action while still eschewing elements that would render the film too mature to be enjoyed by children. However, Across the Spider-Verse‘s script isn’t beholden to the PG rating outside the dialogue, dropping quite a few f-bombs during descriptive action lines in order to quickly, if not cleanly, convey the mood or image it’s going for. Looking at these moments during the film, there are times when it becomes clear that even if Gwen and Miles can’t say certain words, they’re definitely thinking them, as per the script’s direction.

2 The Spot’s Portals Are Deadlier Than They Seem

Though he never lands a killing blow, The Spot is out for blood

Miles Morales and the Spot in Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse

During The Spot’s fight against Miles, Gwen, Hobie and Pavitr, he cleverly uses a portal to snip a web strand preventing him from entering the dark matter collider in Mumhattan. While this demonstrates The Spot’s portals can cut objects with their manifestation, the script implies that The Spot may have been similarly trying to use his portals offensively against the Spider-Team to slice them up, describing Pavitr as being nearly beheaded by the sudden appearance of a portal. This chilling line puts into context just how far The Spot was willing to go at this point, not hesitating to use lethal force against Spider-Man India, who was luckily agile enough to dodge.

1 Across The Spider-Verse’s Script Thinks Hobie Is As Cool As We Do

The screenplay somehow makes Spider-Punk even better

While the finished film has the benefit of Hobie’s ground-breaking animation style to emphasize just how cool he is, the script needed to make it abundantly clear that this character is someone it’s hard not to love. The script’s description of Hobie’s entrance is almost more hype than the finished animation’s, lavishing him with praise as being “Strong, long, and-skinny hot“, while also adorning him with nicknames like “The Madman from Camden” and “The Spider-Punk with a penchant for Funk”. Knowing how much the writers loved Hobie makes watching him even better, making it all the more shocking that Spider-Punk was almost cut from the story of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

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