This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Josh Lewis’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Like the first film, a genuinely astonishing cavalcade of uniquely expressive textures, movements, framings, rhythms, and colors found in the greatest comic books. I also like (conceptually) the existential “breaking the canon” idea at the heart of this thing where the villain is actually another Spider-Man who wants to enforce a traumatic, conservative tradition of Spider-Man storytelling. It's maybe a step too clever but appreciated.
Unfortunately, outside of those two things... Idk, it's not the movie's fault that it inspired so much garbage over the last 5 years but the whole multiverse thing is just so over. I found the first one to be pretty playful and emotionally satisfying in how it used it whereas I found this one strangely repetitive and monotonous. Didn’t give a shit about much of anything in here narratively and it is a structural mess that feels like half set-up prologue and half an extremely long 2nd act twist you can see coming from miles (sorry) away. One of which is just a simplistic, unearned reversal of the film’s actual prologue that contained one of the film’s only interesting threads that considers what it means to have so many cop dads in these movies otherwise packed with progressive window-dressing.
The unrelenting, overwhelming nature of its visuals serves as a pretty welcome distraction from the fact that it has surprisingly little going on under the hood but after a while (around the time we hit the Council of Ricks section) the level of detail in each frame started to become so constantly overstimulating with no sense for pacing the images out that it occasionally circled back around to feeling like pointlessly and laboriously overdosing on candy rather than formal expressionism. Also, needed less live-action Sony corporate synergy cameo bullshit (which is really not as different from Multiverse of Madness or The Flash as I’d like it to be) and more of the hole guy, he was funny.
All that said, the bar for superhero and kids movies is so low that even if you can find a lot of what this is doing already done better in Matrix Reloaded and Speed Racer, those are good movies to want to crib from and I understand how even just having some genuine psychedelic excitement about image-making is enough for people. And, if it’s all you’re looking for, it does in fact have a lot of Spider-Men in it. Maybe even the most Spider-Men, 5/5 movie grading on that curve.