Features and Columns · Movies

Why ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Changed Animation

More like: into the “no-more-photorealism-Verse.”
Spider Man Into The Spider Verse Crowd Shot
By  · Published on October 7th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at how the 2018 film ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse forced animation to evolve.


I think we can all agree that variety is the spice of life. Pizza rules. And I could probably eat nothing but pizza for a while. But I bet I’d get sick of it pretty darn fast.

Monopolies can be especially pernicious in creative fields like film. During the studio system, it became readily apparent that having studios function both as exhibitors and distributors discouraged healthy competition. In fact, in 1948, a landmark Supreme court ruling in U.S. v. Paramount Pictures banned major studios from owning and operating movie theaters specifically to discourage studio monopolies. Fun fact, the decrees were overturned in 2020 … though arguably, streaming services have been muddying the exhibitor/distributor waters since at least 2012.

This is a long way of saying: creative strangleholds are bad. And until recently, a lot of Western Animation was guilty of his kind of homogeneity. Everyone wanted the “Pixar Look”: an immediately recognizable photo-surrealism that melted 3D animated characters with elements that actively mimicked real life (bokeh! fabric! skin!). The “Pixar Look” was safe, popular, and reliable to audiences. Or so the common line of thinking went. For, as the video essay below keenly details, in 2018, a little film called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse changed the game. Or, at the very least proved that audiences craved a different kind of game: one that took stylistic risks and used animation to carve out new realities rather than trying to imitate the one we already have.

Watch “How ‘Spider-Verse’ forced animation to evolve”:


Who made this?

This video about how Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is changing animation is by Vox, an American news website owned by Vox Media, founded in 2014. Vox produces videos on news, culture, and everything in between. This video was produced and animated by Edward Vega, with art direction by Joey Sendaydiego and story editing by Bridgett Henwood and Adam Freelander. You can subscribe to Vox on YouTube here. And you can follow them on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).