What Animated Movies Can Learn From Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse

 

Since Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse came out a few weeks ago, I’ve been hearing nothing but hype, and people talking about how good it is. So, I decided to see it for myself, and I loved it just as much as everyone else! I’m a big fan of Marvel movies, but I haven’t seen a lot of animated superhero movies in general, and I think that’s especially what separates Into the Spider-verse apart from other Marvel films, and other Spider-Man movies. The animation was beautiful and, I think, perfectly done for the themes and tone of the movie. It was different from a lot of animated movies I’ve seen in recent years, and I think that there are definitely aspects of the animation that other studios and producers can learn from.

**WARNING! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, there may be spoilers below.**

The animation style works perfectly for the movie. It isn’t hyper realistic or super detailed, but that’s what sets Into the Spider-Verse apart from a lot of the movies made in recent years. For the past decade or so, animation has been rapidly improving and progressing in terms of how realistic it can look. When I first saw Moana, for instance, I was absolutely amazed by how realistically the water moved and flowed, or the lengths they went to make every strand of hair seperate and detailed. Watching Into the Spider-Verse, though, made me realize that animation could be taking a different path. Sure, it’s amazing to see how far we can go in making an animated movie look like a live-action movie, and it definitely takes a lot of talent and skill. But using animation to just look like animation — not like real skin or hair or scenery — can be just as breathtaking.

The style of animation used in Into the Spider-Verse gave the movie that exact sort of comic-book nostalgia that you would want in a superhero movie. There were frames that looked like they had been pulled right out of a comic, with speech bubbles and action shots. Rather than make the movie hyper realistic, the creators of Into the Spider-Verse recognized the merits of the medium they were using, and decided to emphasize that rather than downplay it. That choice definitely made for a fun, unique, and sometimes breathtaking cinematic experience.

Along with emphasizing the comic-book aspects of the movie, the animation style also worked well with the introduction of the other alternate dimension spider-people. The fact that Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, and Peni Parker were all drawn in completely different styles from each other — and from Miles — added an interesting layer to the lore of the movie, and gave each character more personality.

 

The choice that the creators of Into the Spider-Verse made with this animation style was definitely not a setback. Although the super realistic and detailed style of animated movies can be beautiful, the cartoony style of this movie made it, at times, even more magnificent. The “leap of faith” scene, for instance, in which Miles accepts his calling as Spider-Man and jumps off the side of a skyscraper to swing through the city, was one of the movie’s most impressive scenes, and had some of the best development and layout that I’ve seen in an animated movie in a while.

 

*All images except for the feature image are mine.