“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”: the new episode of the adventures of the Marvel hero maintains its arty, pop and playful course



Since 1999, Sony has been the proud holder of the film rights to the Spider-Man franchise. After seven live-action films, it was not until 2018 that the Japanese company designed its first cartoon and, at the same time, renewed its main character: Peter Parker disappeared in favor of Miles Morales, a teenage street-artist, son of an African-American police officer and a Puerto Rican nurse, as created in the comic strip Ultimate Spider-Manby Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, in 2011. A few months after its release, Spider-Man: Next Generation won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Five years later, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse continues its plunge into pop art, borrowing from Andy Warhol his serigraphs and from Roy Lichtenstein his Benday wefts (dot printing process itself from comics). He steals from James Rosenquist his collages and takes from Saul Bass, famous for having created posters and credits for Hitchcock’s films, his marked taste for vertical shifts.

We must once again salute the ease with which the directors, Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson and their thousand animators leap from one reference to another, in such a way that this flexibility of execution forms a typically gossamer elastic whole. It should be added that the film makes us switch from 3D to 2D, echoing the techniques used in comics throughout their publication: felt pen, brush, pen, ink, colored pencils…

Supreme sophistication

After the critical and public success of the first opus (totalling 385 million dollars in revenue, or 361 million euros), not only does the studio keep its arty and playful course, but it goes further, escaping from Brooklyn to develop five other dimensions that affirm its kaleidoscopic aura. Note that Sony plays the supreme sophistication, when Nintendo, with Super Mario Bros.is betting on a minimal program, which has earned it entry into the top 20 of the world box office, crossing the billion mark in revenue.

Read also: In sixty years, Spider-Man has managed to maintain his web

The most fascinating area of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse turns out to be the universe of Gwen Stacy (or Ghost-Spider), the friend and alter ego of Spider-Man. Modeled on mood rings, which are often found in toy vending machines, her chromatic palette changes according to her emotions (in reality, the jewel varies according to the weather). It then seems that the film lets liquid crystals flow through its veins capable of modifying its colors, generating an incredible empathy in the viewer, regardless of their sensitivity to “rainbow unicorn” tones.

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