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A Deep Dive into the Creation of Spider-Man Into the Spider Verse
Spider-Man Into the Spider Verse is known to be one of, if not the, best animation movies of all time. Joshua Beveridge, head of the animation crew, and Danny Dimian, head of visual effects said that their process for making this movie is one of the reasons why it’s so great. (Dimian and Beveridge) The production and animation of Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse has changed audiences’ perspective on both the character of Spider-Man and animation films in general.
One reason why people love this movie is because of the new Spider-Man character. Danny Dimian and Joshua Beveridge wanted to make Miles a completely different person from the original Spider-Man while still maintaining his roots. Many people fell in love with his character due to not only his personality but primarily his relatability with the audience. When Miles meets the other Spider-men/women, he has trouble keeping up with them. All of the other heroes are used to their powers and are able to control them instantaneously. However, Miles has trouble keeping up with his new powers; he’s unsure of what he’s doing. In one fight scene, the creators sped up the original Spider-Man's movements to show his fluidity, while they slowed Miles down to make him seem clunkier and more unsure of what he was doing. Furthermore, Miles had less frames per second than the rest of the superheroes. As he learned new tricks and began to understand how his powers worked he gained more frames throughout the movie. This shows the audience that everyone struggles with learning things. Usually in superhero movies, the heroes instantly catch on to their powers. Although Miles has been given these incredible powers, even he himself doesn’t know how to really use them. His inexperience causes him to become unsure of himself. This new Spiderman is a regular human being, just like everyone else. He isn’t perfect, just like everyone else. People can relate to him on a deeper level unlike the rest of the Spider-men, which is why they love him so much.
Many of the techniques Dimian and Beveridge use throughout this movie make this movie stand out. This approach helps with both the look of the final product and the story telling. Beveridge said, “Motif wise, the goal for this scene is to make it feel as though he’s in his element when he’s in his neighborhood - he loves this place and is comfortable…This is contrasted at the school - the lighting gets harsher as we see him leave his comfort zone.” (Dimian and Beveridge) Vibrant and bright colors indicate Miles’ happiness; grey palate indicates that he is nervous and unsure of what to do. When Miles is in his neighborhood, the saturation of the scenery is bright and very joyful. He is happy and comfortable with the people around him. The gray color palette shows Miles transitioning into a different environment. As he transitions to his new school, the colors start to dim, expressing how uncomfortable he is in his new school. He has no one to talk to about his problems, which is why he feels alone. Miles feels as if he doesn't fit in at his new school and thinks he’s behind. People can relate to Miles' struggles at school and that a different environment may be uncomfortable.
Before this movie, animators hadn’t considered using many different elements in one movie - they only used one art style and/or technique throughout. The creators of this film blended different art styles by using both Kirby dots and color blobs. They even blended 2D and 3D. (Bramesco) The splashes of color in the background of this scene are Kirby dots. The dots and colors brighten up a scene. The animators’ inspiration for the Kirby dots was comic artist Jack Kirby. Joshua Beveridge wanted to use these dots both as a homage to the late Jack Kirby and to make the movie feel more like a comic book. (Solomon) They are recognizable due to their use in the 1900s, when comics first became popular. The visual effects team also played a huge role in making the comic book feel, by taking away certain aspects such as motion blur and adding key components like camera focus, which helped the movie to feel more smooth. The animation visual effects teams wanted the viewer to be able to stop at every frozen frame and still have a clean depiction of the action. The small intricate details added into this movie give a crisp and clean feel. (Dimian and Beveridge)
The color blobs add background details without going through a time consuming process. For example, color blobs were used for background lights of cars and buildings. The creators used color blobs because the more difficult route of making scenes (in which you have to draw and animate every single detail) is more time consuming. Both animation and visual effects teams also used this simplistic style when people held flashlights. The picture displays a security guard holding a flashlight. Instead of drawing the entire character with their shadow and the light, the creators instead just drew the light with a singular color blob to block the character from being seen. The color blobs were not the only simplistic style the animation team used; they also used pop frames. Pop frames are hand drawn singular frames that make the scene pop out. This simplistic style makes things easier, more balanced, and helps with attention to detail for the creators. (Dimian and Beveridge)
The scenery throughout this movie was another key concept that made this movie stand out. Beveridge said “ … we really drilled into trying to treat New York the way only animation can; treat it like it’s a character and not just the whole city of New York but the boroughs itself”. These different aspects of New York, which can only be seen through animation, are what make this movie so special. This expression of New York shows the audience that Beveridge and Dimian also care about many different features in their movie besides the characters. The animation team wanted to create a unique relationship between Miles and New York. They treated New York as if it were alive and had feelings. In the stylized layout of New York that was used during production, you can see that many of the buildings are all over the place and have a wacky feel to them. Diman and Beveridge did this to resemble the different boroughs of NYC and how they all have different characteristics.
Everyone's perspective on Spiderman changed after this movie. Before Spiderman was seen as a smart teenager who got these powers and became a superhero. Although that may be the case with Miles, it took him a longer time to realize how to fully use his powers and how to fit in at his new school. These two characteristics make him more relatable with the audience. Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse additionally changed the way we see animation films. The animation and visual effects teams added and combined unseen techniques into the movie that gave off the more comic book feel. The head of the animation team said that he wanted to portray New York in a specific way that only animation can achieve.
The new Miles serves as inspiration for young African American people, and as a role model for the audience. Similar to Black Panther, he is one of the only other stand out black superheroes kids can look up to. Miles fits this role perfectly, because he can relate to many different audiences about not fitting in or being stressed about being in a new environment. Secondly, he is a teenager and many teens around the world are dealing with different struggles and seeing a Black superhero go through these same things really can connect on a deeper level.
Bramesco, Charles. “How Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Changed the Animation Game.” Vulture, 18 January 2019, vulture.com/2019/01/how-spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-changed-animation.html. Accessed 16 August 2021.
Dimian, Danny, and Joshua Beveridge. “How Animators Created the Spider-Verse | WIRED.” Youtube, WIRED, 22 March 2019, youtu.be/l-wUKu_V2Lk. Accessed 11 August 2021.
Solomon, Charles. “How the ‘Spider-Verse’ Animators Created That Trippy Look.” The New York Times, 25 December 2018, nytimes.com/2018/12/25/movies/spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-animation.html. Accessed 16 August 2021.