Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Phil Lord
  • Rodney Rothman
Story byPhil Lord
Based on
Starring
Music byDaniel Pemberton
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • December 14, 2018 (2018-12-14) (United States)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an upcoming American computer-animated superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales / Spider-Man, produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Marvel, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It is set in a shared multiverse called the "Spider-Verse", which features different alternate universes.[a] The film is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, from a screenplay by Phil Lord and Rothman, and stars Shameik Moore as Morales alongside Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Jake Johnson, Liev Schreiber, Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, and Lily Tomlin. In the film, Morales becomes one of many Spider-Men.

Plans for an animated Spider-Man film, to be developed by Lord and Christopher Miller, were first revealed in 2014, and officially announced in April 2015. Persichetti, Ramsey, and Rothman joined over the next two years, with Moore and Schreiber cast in April 2017. Lord and Miller wanted the film to have its own unique style, combining the in-house computer animation of Sony Pictures Imageworks with traditional hand-drawn comic book techniques inspired by the work of Miles Morales's co-creator Sara Pichelli. Completing the animation for the film required up to 140 animators, the largest crew ever used by Sony Pictures Animation for a film.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is scheduled for release on December 14, 2018.

Premise[edit]

In the "classic Spider-Man mold", Miles Morales must juggle his high school life with his status as a superhero,[2] as he is introduced to the "Spider-Verse" where there can be more than just one Spider-Man.[3]

Cast[edit]

Additional voice actors include Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir,[7] John Mulaney as Spider-Ham,[8] and Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker.[8] Cage based his character on the films of Humphrey Bogart, wanting the character to sound similar to actors from that era such as James Cagney or Edward G. Robinson.[9] Stan Lee makes a posthumous cameo appearance in the film.[10]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Following the November 2014 hacking of Sony's computers, emails between Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal and president Doug Belgrad were released, stating that Sony was planning to "rejuvenate" the Spider-Man franchise by developing an animated comedy film with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Sony executives were set to discuss the project further in a discussion regarding several Spider-Man spin-off films at a summit in January 2015.[11] At the 2015 CinemaCon in April, Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman announced that the animated Spider-Man film had a July 20, 2018 release date, and would be produced by Lord and Miller, Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Pascal, with Lord and Miller also writing a treatment for the film. Rothman said that it would "co-exist" with the live-action Spider-Man films, though Sony soon stated that the film would "exist independently of the projects in the live-action Spider-Man universe",[12] as it is set in an alternate universe from those films without Tom Holland's version of Spider-Man.[13]

That December, Sony moved the film's release date to December 21, 2018.[14] By June 2016, Lord had written a script for the film, and Bob Persichetti was set to direct.[15] Miller said the film would feel different from previous Spider-Man films, and "will stand on its own as a unique filmgoing experience."[16] It had also been rumored to focus on the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man,[15][16] which Sony confirmed at a presentation for its upcoming animated films in January 2017. Peter Ramsey was co-directing the film by that point.[17] The next month, Alex Hirsch was revealed to have contributed to the film's story along with Lord and Miller, and Christina Steinberg was said to have replaced Tolmach as a producer on the film.[18][4] In April 2017, the film's release date was pushed up one week from December 21, 2018, to December 14, 2018.[19] Lord and Miller announced in December that the film was titled Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and revealed that multiple Spider-Men would appear in the film. By then, Rodney Rothman was also co-directing the film.[20]

Writing[edit]

The film's script is credited to Lord and Rothman from a story by Lord.[21] Persichetti noted that there had been several Spider-Man films made already, so the first step was to decide why this film needed to be made, and the answer for the creative team was to tell the new and unique story of Miles Morales, who had yet to be featured in any film.[22] Brian Michael Bendis, the co-creator of Miles Morales, consulted on the film adaptation.[23] The first full cut of animatics and storyboards for the film was over two-hours long, which is uncommon for animated films, and the directors attributed this mostly to Lord and Miller and their approach of adding as many elements to the film as they could at the outset with the intention of seeing what it could "handle" and then shaping the film from there. They said that the final runtime will be between that and 90 minutes, the standard length of an animated film, with a balance having to be found between the expectations of an animated film that will have a large child-based audience and the requirements of the story which the directors felt was similar to the live-action Spider-Man films especially due to the large amount of characters in the film.[22]

By August 2018, the directors had considered what a potential post-credits scene for the film could be given that audiences have come to expect them from Marvel films.[22]

Casting[edit]

Shameik Moore was cast as Morales in April 2017, along with Liev Schreiber as the film's unspecified main villain.[2] A month later, Mahershala Ali and Brian Tyree Henry joined the cast as Morales's uncle Aaron Davis and father Jefferson Davis, respectively.[5] That December, Lord and Miller revealed that an adult Peter Parker / Spider-Man would appear in the film, as a mentor to Morales,[24] and Jake Johnson was announced as cast in the role in April 2018.[6] At that time, it was revealed that the characters Green Goblin, Kingpin, and Prowler would also be appearing in the film, with their designs based on the Ultimate Marvel comics.[25]

In June, Sony confirmed the full cast for the film, with Schreiber revealed to be voicing Kingpin. Announced as joining the cast then were Hailee Steinfeld as Spider-Gwen, Luna Lauren Velez as Morales's mother Rio, and Lily Tomlin as Parker's Aunt May.[3] A month later, Nicolas Cage was revealed to be voicing the character Spider-Man Noir,[7] and John Mulaney and Kimiko Glenn were announced as voicing Spider-Ham and Peni Parker, respectively.[8]

Animation[edit]

Lord and Miller wanted the film to feel like "you walked inside a comic book", and were excited to "tell the story using camera moves and pushing the style in ways a live-action movie can’t".[24] Persichetti concurred, feeling that animation was the best medium with which to honor the style of the comics, allowing the production team to adapt 70-year-old techniques designed for comic book artwork into the film's visual language.[22] It took about a year for the production team to create 10 seconds of footage that they were happy with the look of, and then animation work on the film developed from there.[26] During the initial development phase, the directors worked with a single animator to establish the look of the film. This number eventually grew to 60 animators during production, but it became clear that this would not be enough to complete the film on time and so the crew was expanded further. The number had reached 142 animators by August 2018, the largest animation crew that Sony Pictures Imageworks had ever used for a film. The film was scheduled to be completed in October 2018.[22]

The CGI animation for the film was combined with "line work and painting and dots and all sorts of comic book techniques" to make it look like it was created by hand, which was described as "a living painting".[24] Lord said the film uses "a totally revolutionary style of animation", which combines the in-house style of Sony Pictures Animation with the "flavor" of comic artist Sara Pichelli (who co-created Miles Morales), and is presented in the anamorphic format.[4] The film's directors all felt that the film would be one of the few that audiences actually "need" to watch in 3D due to the immersive nature of the animated world created, and the way that the 2D elements created specifically for the film create a unique experience; Persichetti described this experience as a combination of the effects of an old-fashioned 2D multiplane camera and a modern virtual reality environment.[22]

Music[edit]

Daniel Pemberton was announced as the film's composer in July 2018.[27] In October, Post Malone revealed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that he had written a song for the film titled "Sunflower", which Billboard described as a "funky, dreamy ballad".[28] Swae Lee is a featured artist on the song,[29] which was released on October 18.[30] In November, Nicki Minaj revealed that she has also written a song for the film called Queen.[31] A full soundtrack album is set for release by Republic Records on December 14, and was curated to represent what a teen like Morales would listen to.[32]

Release[edit]

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is set to be released on December 14, 2018.[19] It was originally scheduled to be released on July 20 of that year,[12] but was pushed back to December 21 before it was later moved up to its current date.[14]

Marketing[edit]

A thirty-second sizzle reel from the film was shown at a Sony Animation presentation in January 2017, revealing that the film focuses on Morales. Scott Mendelson at Forbes said the footage "looked incredible stylized and resembled a cross between an Alex Ross image and a psychedelic [comic] cover", but felt the most significant element of the presentation was the confirmation of Morales, meaning "2018 will offer another comic book superhero movie featuring a hero of color, during the same year as Marvel's Black Panther."[17] A teaser trailer for the film debuted at the 2017 Comic Con Experience, before being released online.[20] Chris Cabin at Collider felt the trailer "looks much better than it ever needed to. The style and design that is on display ... is vibrant and immediately engaging on a visual level, showing a genuine sense of personality to the production."[33] io9's Julie Muncy called the trailer's visual design "elegant" and "fresh", and highlighted the use of music by Vince Staples, which was also used for the Black Panther trailers.[34]

The official trailer for the film was released online at the start of June 2018, and was praised by Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge for its "absolutely gorgeous" art style. He also highlighted the non-Peter Parker Spider-Men featured in the trailer, namely Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy.[13] For Cartoon Brew, Amid Amidi praised the trailer for focusing on drama rather than action, and for seemingly targeting "a slightly hipper, more urban, and teen-oriented crowd", feeling that animated films were usually focused on pleasing "all-ages, all-audiences" which marked this film as a "radical change for United States feature animation".[35] At Forbes, Dani Di Placido praised the trailer for inspiring interest in the Spider-Man property after several different incarnations of the character had already been featured in films. He felt it achieved this by leaning into the comic storyline of the Spider-Verse and featuring multiple versions of the character in one film, as well as its "beautifully rendered" visuals that differentiated it from other major animated films. Placido added that "it's nice to see a movie just go nuts and embrace the weirdness of comic books and their eternally shapeshifting storylines."[36] The trailer generated 164 thousand conversations across social media platforms within a day of its release, and in three days had been viewed 44 million times making the film one of Sony's most viral alongside Sausage Party (2016).[37]

Sony released a second trailer for the film in October 2018,[21] ahead of a panel to promote the film at New York Comic Con where the first 35 minutes of the film were shown.[21][38] Lord and Miller explained that they chose not to show various clips from throughout the film because they would lack context for the audience, so went with an extended sequence for the presentation even though it featured some unfinished animation and music.[38] At that time, Sony's film Venom was released in theaters, featuring another extended clip from Into the Spider-Verse as a post-credits scene. The scene confirmed that the shared universe that Venom is part of is one of the universes connected within the "Spider-Verse" multiverse.[1]

Reception[edit]

Upon watching the first 35 minutes of the film, Adam Dileo of IGN praised the film's humor, calling it the film's "biggest takeaway", as well as the animation, particularly when Miles goes the alley in which he got his powers, calling the effect "impressively jarring", stating that it "highlights the creative lengths the animation team went to in order to ensure that interdimensional shenanigans could be discerned via different visual styles".[39] Mike Reyes of CinemaBlend called the film "amazing", referring to the humor as "Deadpool-esque humor", and felt that the take on Miles' origins and personal life as a "refreshing change of pace for audiences old and new to the Spider-Verse" and said that "It's a brand new way to cover similar ground, but with different and more exciting results". Mike ultimately said that the film "it's a unique film, bringing us some new versions of our favorite webslinger that haven't been seen before. In just 35 minutes of footage, this new incarnation feels warmly familiar while promising an exciting unknown. It's also an absolutely gorgeous film, infusing a visual style that takes full advantage of colorful imagery that kind of reflects Miles's fondness for graffiti and comic books".[40] Nick Romano of Entertainment Weekly also praised the film's humor, calling it "glorious", while stating that the "comic book feel" is present throughout the film.[41] Alison Foreman of Mashable said that the footage shows the film "has a first act that screams "instant classic"", while stating the film's visual depiction of Brooklyn "feels so right", while feeling that the film's depiction of Miles "feels like the perfect representation of not only the beloved comic book character, but also of the heroes our stories need today". Alison also praised the film's writing, saying that its "tight and hilarious", while praising the film's animation, feeling it is "as gorgeous as promised" and that the film's animation has "beautiful rendering", particularly that the New York City rendering "is next level gorgeous".[10]

Future[edit]

In August 2018, the directors were still focused on completing the film but acknowledged that the introduction of the Spider-Verse in the film created the potential for many different stories to be told moving forward depending on the success of this film.[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The post-credits scene for Sony's live-action film Venom (2018) explains that Sony's Marvel Universe—the shared universe that includes Venom and other Spider-Man-related film properties—is one of the alternate universes within the Spider-Verse.[1]

References[edit]

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  40. ^ https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2459018/we-saw-the-first-35-minutes-of-spider-man-into-the-spiderverse-and-its-amazing
  41. ^ https://ew.com/movies/2018/10/06/spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-footage-nycc/

External links[edit]