written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller and Dave Callaham
directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
by Walter Chaw Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is fucking spectacular. Taking the baton from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse's Oscar-winning team of Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, new co-directors Joaquim Don Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson have created something that feels like a chi-chi art gallery in uptown Manhattan, where geniuses who make things you can't believe you're seeing are all exhibiting their mind-blowing riffs on the same pop-cultural theme. I even thought of Peter Greenaway's work in how the characters have colour-coded costumes to exist in mood-specific settings that transition from one to the next at a dazzling, dizzying, breakneck pace. Every inch of Across the Spider-Verse is filled with light and detail without being overcrowded. It's a sensory amphetamine, kaleidoscopic, exhilarating, yet somehow not exhausting. I sometimes forget why I ever loved superheroes and comic books, given the direness of the flavourless gruel parade masquerading as outsider art nowadays. Then along come Into the Spider-Verse and now Across the Spider-Verse to remind me how important these stories are when they're told in the voices of the oppressed rather than through the stock portfolios of the oppressors. In the hands of the people who are hurting, comic books can be and often are fantasies of hope. In the hands of the wealthy seeking to become wealthier, they're fantasies of exploitation, colonization, and fascism.
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