Spinning a Stunning Web
Sony Pictures Animation’s Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse delivers a fantastic looking adventure, featuring many diverse versions of Marvel’s beloved webslinger. By Ramin Zahed
A few years ago, when the hot writing/producing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller were approached by Sony Pictures Animation to work on a new Spider-man project, they knew that they didn’t want to see just another runof-the mill superhero movie. They wanted the pic to look fantastic and pay homage to classic comic books of the Golden Era. They also didn’t want to repeat any of the old Peter Parker scenarios.
“We always felt like the magic of this character is that anyone could be behind that mask,” explains Lord, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Rodney Rothman. “One of the reasons we fell in love with Miles Morales from the comics is that writer Brian Bendis put a completely new character back there. He’s from Brooklyn, he’s got a strong family, he’s a little bit younger. So, we just thought it was a great way to remix the Spider-man story and tell it from a different point of view.”
Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rothman, Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse follows the adventures of young Miles Morales, who discovers the limitless possibilities and challenges of being a superhero. As he tries to fit into a new school he learns about his strange new powers and the fantastic new multi-verse where different versions of Spider-man co-exist. He soon finds himself being mentored by the original Peter Parker as he tries to save the world from classic, powerful villains from the Spider-man multiverse.
Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse allowed the filmmakers to add new dimensions to Marvel’s be- loved web-slinging character, who was first introduced by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962. “We are all lucky to have been able to work on this phenomenal property that has such a huge audience invested in it,” say Persichetti (head of story on The Little Prince and Puss in Boots). “That’s why we could be bolder with our visual choices and make the movie look different from what a sum-
mer or winter blockbuster is expected to look like. Our goal was to expand the visual style and color palettes, and deliver a movie that might seem different than any of the other Cg-animated movies we have seen in the past. One of the strengths of the comic is that it manages to encapsulate in one image a really synched, powerful story point, motion or action. In our process of animation, we tried to achieve that same thing.”
Led by the directors, the artists and visual effects team at Sony Pictures Imageworks experimented with a dazzling visual style that pays homage to the look of vintage comic books. As director Peter Ramsey ( Rise of the Guardians) explains, “Of course, dozens of Marvel movies lean on that look while telling a cinematic story, but I can’t think of any other animated film that make this much of a visual statement. That’s why audiences have had such a great reaction to the film’s original trailer and clips so far.”
Ramsey, one of the top African-american directors working in animation today, y, says y it has been especially rewarding to work on n a film centered on a superhero that comes mes from a diverse background. “Until recently, ntly, the scarcity of heroes and lead characters acters that are not white has always been een a bit of a subtle mental stumbling bling block for people of color,” he shares. ares. “I believe that the introduction n of Miles Morales as Spider-man Man sparked a renaissance and a trend end to reimagine and feature characters cters that are not white and not male. That’s the story we set out to tell.” For director Rodney Rothman (writer on 22 Jump Street), the movie has a lot in common with a meticulously planned, epic live-action project. “Every frame had to be carefully crafted,” he explains. “Our general approach was to push every aspect of the movie in a way that we haven’t seen before. In terms of story, just like the original graphic novel, it’s all about Miles Morales’ story, his family and their relationship. We have all these exciting elements of a superhero movie and the various characters and various possibilities of the multiverse, but the heart of the movie is all about Miles’ relationship with his family.”