Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse quickly became a fan-favourite movie for many reasons. In particular, the animation style in this film was fresh and something we haven’t seen before. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman directed this movie. They made it their own and incorporated fun colours, comic book styles, and character designs that brought it all together. Arguably, Spider-Verse isn’t just a movie, it’s a work of art. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse also won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
With the release of the sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, creeping closer, let’s look at how this style of animation has influenced other films since its release in 2018.
Why Was it so Popular?
Focusing on Spider-Man, this film could’ve been made in live-action, but I don’t think that it would’ve been as popular. Animation allows for more fluid movements, better action scenes, and a better showcase of Spider-Man’s abilities.
For example, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) can turn invisible, an ability that is much more fun to watch through animation. Another fun addition to the film was seeing the ‘spider-sense’ represented by little waves around the character’s heads. Of course, we have seen the ‘spider-sense’ in other Spider-Man movies. However, live-action relies on the actors being able to portray their character sensing something.
The classic use of webs is what Spider-Man is known for. Animation allows for much more freedom when portraying the use of webs in fight scenes. These are just a few examples, but the character of Spider-Man definitely works well with animation. The fun, colourful, fast-paced and heavily packed scenes represent this character perfectly as we watch Miles traverse the world of Spider-Man.
One scene that stuck with viewers is when Miles finally gains the courage to trust his powers. The music here works well with the animation to create a breath-taking scene that would not be nearly as powerful in live action. The colour palette, comic book-style panels used, fluidity of his movements, all come together in a powerful sequence.
How has it influenced other films?
There’s still a stigma that animation means for children, but more and more franchises are starting to create (or continue) animated projects.
Star Wars have branched out with Star Wars Visions, an anime-style series. Star Wars have made a few animated series in the past, such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. These series are often ignored or dismissed as ‘children’s programmes’.
After being cancelled back in 2014, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was picked back up by streaming service Disney+ in 2020 for its seventh and final season. With such a gap in between seasons, there was bound to be a noticeable change in animation. Season 7 quickly became a fan-favourite and was praised for many reasons, including the improved animation.
Fans loved it so much that when Ahsoka Tano, a main character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, made her live-action debut in The Mandalorian Season 2, they couldn’t help but pick apart her character. Ahsoka Tano is a perfect example of animation suited to certain characters. Her own show, titled Ahsoka, is set to release this August. Although, fans can’t help but imagine what it would’ve been like animated. Many have taken to the internet to voice this opinion, saying that the show would’ve been better if it were animated.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was released last year and again was commended for its animation style. Straying from the somewhat realistic approach the other films in the Shrek franchise have taken, viewers loved to see a more cartoon-y and fun style that suited the film well. Without focusing on realism as much, the animation explored a more immersive and captivating style that sat very well with audiences. The movie scored an amazing 95% rate of approval from critics on RottenTomatoes.
Marvel have also delved into the world of animation with their series What If…? which was released in 2021. The style here is clearly inspired by comic books, fitting in well with the franchise. Straying from big budget movies to a smaller, animated series means they can explore more ideas. The What If…? concept was received well by fans, so much so that some other fandoms want the same concept applied to different shows and franchises. For example, many Star Wars fans have remarked how they would love a Star Wars: What If…? Series.
The Future of Animation
With the release of the sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, set to release this June, it’s a wonder how many other franchises will begin to branch into animation. The success of the first Spider-Verse movie has clearly influenced other franchises. We are beginning to see creators and viewers realise that animation can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Such an action-packed style of animation is a freeing way to tell stories that will stick with audiences for longer. Many fans, including myself, have not forgotten the feeling of watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse since its release.
The release of the sequel has been pushed back twice so far. Fans were initially upset but understood that for such a high quality of animation to be achieved, some delays must be made. The fact that the team decided to take their time and not rush to meet the original deadline shows that they really care about the standard of animation and the movie overall. There are high hopes and expectations for this sequel. For fans of animation and Spider-Man alike, and it’s unlikely to disappoint.
Featured Image Credit: @SpiderVerse on Twitter
Second year student journalist studying Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Journalism Studies.
Writer for Brig and Discovery Music
[…] first Spider-Verse film was praised for its animation style (which you can read more about here), as well as its soundtrack. This movie maintained these standards and did not disappoint. It set […]