How the animation style of Spider-Verse evolved

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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse filmmakers Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson recently discussed the process of refining the animation aesthetic of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  The trio addressed their efforts to outdo Across the Spider-Verse’s predecessor. “I was inspired by the first film — it was one of the reasons I was so excited about doing the sequel,” Dos Santos explained. “In terms of feature animation, there was a time before Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and a time after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” And when the video hit the ground, it planted a flag.” Powers went on to say that he and his colleagues Across the Spider-Verse filmmakers attempted to avoid merely duplicating the look of Into the Spider-Verse in favour of a “openness to trying just about anything, both in terms of the visual and the storytelling language.”

“We never approached it as if we were the directors speaking from above,” Thompson remarked.”We gave people space to come up with their own answers.” Dos Santos also stated that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse provided a chance to show the larger movie industry that animation was capable of more than “family-friendly fare.” Across the Spider-Verse co-writer/producer Phil Lord previously stated that the film highlights the “limitless possibilities” of animation, both in terms of substance and visual identity.

Lord’s enthusiasm for animation’s possibilities contrasts sharply with recent allegations of difficult working circumstances on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Across the Spider-Verse animators worked 11 hours a day, seven days a week, according to an unidentified source within the sequel’s animation crew. The source, who spoke under the alias “Stephen,” blamed Lord for the arduous creation of Across the Spider-Verse, stating that he frequently sought up to five adjustments to what were intended to be final renderings. “Stephen” further claimed that Lord’s managerial approach caused more than 100 animators to leave Across the Spider-Verse.

“Stephen” didn’t stop at Across the Spider-Verse with his honest statements. The animator also questioned if the film’s sequel, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, will be completed in time for its March 29, 2024, release. “Stephen” argued that there was “no way” Beyond the Spider-Verse would not be delayed, pointing out that the sequel was still in pre-production as of June 2023.

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