Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a 2018 American 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 Entertainment, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It is set in an alternate universe from Sony's other Spider-Man properties, but introduces a shared multiverse. The film is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, from a screenplay by Phil Lord, 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 Animation 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 held its world premiere at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles on December 1, 2018, and was released in the United States on December 14, 2018. The film received universal acclaim from critics for its innovative animation, voice acting, characters, story, and humor. It received Best Animated Feature nominations at the 76th Golden Globe Awards and 24th Critics' Choice Awards. A sequel and several spin-offs are in development.
Plot[edit | edit source]
|Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
Miles Morales, a teenager who admires Spider-Man, struggles to adjust to his new elite boarding school and live up to the expectations of his parents, nurse Rio Morales and police officer Jefferson Davis, who views Spider-Man as a menace. After developing a crush on his classmate Wanda, Miles seeks his uncle Aaron Davis for advice. Aaron encourages Miles’ passion for graffiti and leads him to an abandoned subway station where Miles can draw. While there, Miles is bitten by a genetically modified spider, and develops spider-like abilities. Unable to contact Aaron, he returns to the station, and accidentally finds a secret laboratory where the Kingpin has built a particle accelerator to access parallel universes and reconnect with alternative versions of his wife and son, who died in a car accident. Spider-Man arrives to disable the accelerator and fights the monstrous Green Goblin and Kingpin’s mysterious new enforcer, the Prowler. During the melee, Spider-Man meets Miles and, sensing they are alike, offers to train him, but he is then wounded when the accelerator malfunctions. Spider-Man gives Miles a device to disable the accelerator. Miles escapes, but Spider-Man is brutally killed by Kingpin.
Inspired by Spider-Man’s sacrifice, Miles attempts to fight crime as well, but when he attempts to swing, the device is damaged. Miles is later approached by Peter B. Parker, an older, jaded Spider-Man from another dimension who has been brought into Miles’ world by the accelerator. Peter is separated from his wife Mary Jane Watson and needs to return home fast or he will die, so he begrudgingly agrees to train Miles in exchange for Miles’ help to steal data about how to repair the device from Kingpin’s research facility. They are confronted by Kingpin’s scientist, Doctor Octopus, and rescued by Gwen Stacy / Spider-Woman, another dimension-displaced heroine who had been masquerading as Wanda. She leads Peter and Miles to the house of May Parker, who is sheltering more lost Spider-Men, including Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, and Peni Parker and SP//dr. While Peni repairs the device, Peter unsuccessfully attempts to teach Miles how to control his powers, and pressue from the group causes Miles to retreat to Aaron's apartment. Miles discovers that Aaron is Prowler and narrowly escapes from him. Miles tells the group of his discovery, but they are located by Prowler, Doctor Octopus, Scorpion and Tombstone, leading to a brawl. Aaron corners Miles, but refuses to kill him when he learns Miles is the new Spider-Man. Kingpin kills him, and Jefferson mistakes the new Spider-Man for Aaron’s killer.
As they prepare to face Kingpin, the Spider-Men choose to leave Miles behind due to his inexperience, webbing him up at his dorm room. Jefferson arrives to tell Miles about Aaron’s death and assumes Miles does not want to speak to him, apologizing for his mistakes and reassuring Miles that he believes in him. Uplifted, Miles escapes and visits May, who provides him with a new uniform, before joining the fight against Doctor Octopus and Scorpion, who are ultimately defeated. Miles operates the device and sends the Spider-Men back home, sharing a moment with Gwen just before Kingpin arrives. Miles and Kingpin fight throughout the accelerator, attracting Jefferson’s attention. Reaching the scene, Jefferson realizes that Spider-Man is not the enemy and encourages him, giving Miles the necessary motivation to knock Kingpin unconscious with his powerful “venom blast” and destroy the accelerator. The authorities arrest Kingpin and his enforcers, Jefferson recognizes Spider-Man as a hero, and Miles embraces the powers and responsibilities of his new life. Gwen later finds a way to contact Miles from her home universe so they can maintain their friendship, while Peter readies to earn back Mary Jane and the people’s respect.
In a post-credits scene, in the year 2099, Spider-Man 2099 learns about the crisis and develops his own dimension-hopping device to intervene. He decides to return to the beginning, but ends up getting into an argument with that universe’s Spider-Man.
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Cast[edit | edit source]
- Shameik Moore as Miles Morales / Spider-Man: A teenager with spider-like abilities. Producer Christopher Miller described the character as unique among Spider-Men because of his Brooklyn upbringing, half-Puerto Rican and half-African-American background, and the fact that his family is still alive.
- Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy / Spider-Gwen: A "free-spirited" superhero.
- Mahershala Ali as Aaron Davis: Miles's uncle.
- Jake Johnson as Peter Parker / Spider-Man: Miles's reluctant mentor.
- Liev Schreiber as Kingpin: A crime lord.
- Brian Tyree Henry as Jefferson Davis: Miles's father, a police officer.
- Luna Lauren Velez as Rio Morales: Miles's mother.
- Lily Tomlin as May Parker: Peter's aunt.
- Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir: A Spider-Man from a 1930's reality. 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.
- John Mulaney as Spider-Ham: An anthropomorphic pig from an animal reality.
- Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker: A woman who rides around in a spider-themed armor.
Production[edit | edit source]
Development[edit | edit source]
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. 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", as it is set in an alternate universe from those films without Tom Holland's version of Spider-Man.
That December, Sony moved the film's release date to December 21, 2018. By June 2016, Lord had written a script for the film, and Bob Persichetti was set to direct. Miller said the film would feel different from previous Spider-Man films, and "will stand on its own as a unique filmgoing experience." It had also been rumored to focus on the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man, which Sony confirmed at a presentation for its upcoming animated films in January 2017. Peter Ramsey was co-directing the film by that point. 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. In April 2017, the film's release date was pushed up one week from December 21, 2018, to December 14, 2018. 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.
Writing[edit | edit source]
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. Brian Michael Bendis, the co-creator of Miles Morales, consulted on the film adaptation. 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.
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.
Casting[edit | edit source]
Shameik Moore was cast as Morales in April 2017, along with Liev Schreiber as the film's unspecified main villain. A month later, Mahershala Ali and Brian Tyree Henry joined the cast as Morales's uncle Aaron Davis and father Jefferson Davis, respectively. That December, Lord and Miller revealed that an adult Peter Parker / Spider-Man would appear in the film, as a mentor to Morales, and Jake Johnson was announced as cast in the role in April 2018. 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.
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. A month later, Nicolas Cage was revealed to be voicing the character Spider-Man Noir, and John Mulaney and Kimiko Glenn were announced as voicing Spider-Ham and Peni Parker, respectively.
Animation and design[edit | edit source]
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". 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. 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. 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 is scheduled to be completed in October 2018.
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". This was achieved by artists taking rendered frames from the CGI animators and working on top of them in 2D, with the goal of making every frame of the film "look like a comic panel". Lord described this style of animation as "totally revolutionary", and explained that the design combines the in-house style of Sony Pictures Animation with the "flavor" of comic artists such as Sara Pichelli (who co-created Miles Morales) and Robbi Rodriguez. Different comic styles were emulated throughout the film for the different characters, with Spider-Gwen's animation based on the designs in her comics, Spider-Man Noir having a black-and-white color scheme, and Spider-Ham being designed as "cartoony" as possible to be different again—Craig Kellman designed the exaggerated look for the character, while Justin K. Thompson served as overall production designer after doing so on the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films for Lord and Miller. Animation co-director Patrick O'Keefe said that committing fully to each Spider's unique art style was like "making five movies". In-universe comic books featured in the film were designed as a combination of the artwork of Steve Ditko and John Romita.
The film is presented in the anamorphic format. 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 imersive nature of the animated world created, and the way that the hand-drawn animation elements created specifically for the film create a unique experience; Persichetti described this experience as a combination of the effects of an old-fashioned hand-drawn multiplane camera and a modern virtual reality environment. One scene in Aaron Davis's apartment includes an image of Donald Glover in the background, which references Glover's part in fan campaigns to see a non-white version of Spider-Man.
Music[edit | edit source]
Daniel Pemberton was announced to be working on the score for the film in July 2018. A full soundtrack album was released by Republic Records on December 13, and was curated to represent what a teen like Morales would listen to.
Release[edit | edit source]
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is set to be released on December 14, 2018. It was originally scheduled to be released on July 20 of that year, but it was pushed back to December 21, and then moved up a week to its current date. The film held its premiere at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles on December 1, 2018, and featured a tribute to Stan Lee.
Marketing[edit | edit source]
A thirty-second sizzle reel from the film was shown at a Sony Animation presentation in January 2017, to reveal 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." A teaser trailer for the film debuted at the 2017 Comic Con Experience, before being released online. 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." 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.
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. 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". 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." 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).
Sony released a second trailer for the film in October 2018, ahead of a panel to promote the film at New York Comic Con where the first 35 minutes of the film were shown. 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. 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. In November, Sony launched Spider-Verse Web AR Experience, a mobile augmented reality experience created by 8th Wall and Trigger to run on Amazon Web Services. Inspired by the film, the AR experience allows users to include Spider-Man in photos that they take of their environment. The film also received a $115 million promotional "boost" from various companies—one of the largest such campaigns for a Sony film—including the Ad Council, who included the film's characters in an anti-bullying campaign; McDonald's, with a unique Happy Meal TV spot created in the film's animation style, as well as a special "double height" Happy Meal box for Australian McDonalds locations designed like a skyscraper that the characters can swing from; Synchrony Bank as part of their "Save Like a Hero" campaign; Nike, who sold the Air Jordans shoes that Morales wears in the film; General Mills cereal; official toy lines from Hasbro; themed cruises with Genting Cruise Lines; a "comprehensive" social media-based campaign in China by Tencent QQ, a brand that can be seen in the film; and other technology partners eBay, Vodafone, Garmin, Adobe, and Wacom.
Future[edit | edit source]
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. By the end of November, Sony was developing a sequel and several spin-offs from the film due to the "incredible buzz" surrounding it. Joaquim Dos Santos and David Callaham were set to direct and write the sequel, respectively, which would continue Morales's story. One of the spin-offs, a Spider-Women film focused on three generations of female Spider-related characters, in particular Spider-Gwen had Bek Smith set to write, and Lauren Montgomery in talks to direct. Asked whether the spin-offs could extend into other media such as television, Lord and Miller both expressed interest in seeing a series of shorts starring Spider-Ham.
See also[edit | edit source]
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Videos[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse/videos