At this point, it should go without saying that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was one of the most innovative animated superhero movies in the genre, capturing the unique visual aesthetic of comic books for cinemas.
But the movie took a lot of inspiration from other superhero movies, especially from the unique visual identity of its Marvel counterpart Doctor Strange. Both movies deal with alternate dimensions and traversing the multiverse, which meant that Into the Spider-Verse had to depict the events differently from the live-action version.
"We didn't want it to seem familiar," said co-director Bob Persichetti in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — The Art of the Movie. "It couldn't be a tunnel or a derivative of anything we'd seen in Doctor Strange. We really wanted it to represent what would happen when you smash together these subatomic particles and create a tear in the space-time continuum. Other dimensions are drawn to Miles' Brooklyn because that's where the Collider is. These multiple universes are trying to resolve themselves through the portal."
Instead, of following the same route of Doctor Strange literally shattering the walls between reality, or cutting through with his magic ring, the Spider-Verse directors challenged the technical team at Sony Imageworks to come up with the ability to project multiple angles on to a screen simultaneously, each rendered in their own unique style.
"Once the portal opens, and we begin to realize that the Multiverse exists, it looks like a mosaic — except that you're looking at seven different locations (the same locations in different universes) from subtly different angles with different render scripts on them," Persichetti explained. "Then we had to develop animation to make all these things smash into each other and resolve into one spot. That's why visually it looks like abstract art. We have taken perspective, unfolded it and laid it out on the big screen, which is pretty amazing!"
It's interesting to see how the animation team came up with different tools to create the unique aesthetic for Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and how they took influence from their counterparts from Marvel Studios in achieving their own identity.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is now playing in theaters everywhere.