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June 8, 2023
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June 8, 2023

More than four years after the blockbuster superhero film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) graced the silver screen, its highly-anticipated sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023), arrived in theatres last week—and it’s riddled with art references.

The very first fight scene in the film takes place in an animated, glitch-ridden rendering of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, complete with interior and exterior shots of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural marvel. On display within the museum is a pack of Jeff Koons Balloon Dog works—one large and numerous smaller editions, all in varying metallic hues.

A scene from Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) feature works by Jeff Koons at the Guggenheim Museum

One of the characters involved in the Guggenheim battle is Vulture (voiced by Jorma Taccone), who, in this film, appears as though he is made of parchment paper. His design is based on the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci.

And, just like its predecessor, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse features a Banksy shoutout from an unnamed onlooker. References to the secretive British artist in both films occur after a malfunction happens in the so-called multiverse, causing a bizarre structure to appear on the street; this then prompts a passerby to opine: “Yeah, I think it’s a Banksy.”

Rapper Post Malone—who contributed the 18-times platinum song “Sunflower” to the first film’s soundtrack—is the voice behind the so-called “Brooklyn Bystander” (as the character is credited on IMDb) who makes this remark in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; though it’s not yet confirmed if he reprised the Banksy-spotting role for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

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