Across the Spider-Verse director Joaquim Dos Santos discusses why the film’s villain, The Spot, could only ever work in animation over live-action.
One of the Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse directors reveals why the film’s new villain could only work in an animated movie. The first film in the series, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, was released in 2018 as the first-ever animated film in the Spider-Man franchise. Into the Spider-Verse proved a huge success both critically and at the box office, grossing $375.5 million worldwide and receiving the award for Best Animated Feature Film at the Golden Globes and the Oscars in 2019.
The month before Into the Spider-Verse’s theatrical release, a sequel film was green-lit, with Sony confident in the movie’s success due to the overwhelming buzz surrounding it. Across the Spider-Verse will continue to follow Miles Morales’ journey as Spider-Man, as he once again teams up with Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman and other versions of Spider-Man from across the multiverse to defeat a sinister villain. While Morales battled Kingpin in the first Spider-Verse film, the sequel’s villain will be The Spot, voiced by Jason Schwartzman.
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In an interview with CartoonBrew (via The Direct), director Joaquim Dos Santos discussed why The Spot could only work in animation. Described by Dos Santos as “art come to life,” The Spot is capable of opening portals to other dimensions, including ones all throughout his own body. The director explained that trying to find a way to convey The Spot in a live-action film would be difficult, and that the only way to faithfully portray the character was through animation. The director also likened Schwartzman’s The Spot to ink spilled on a blank page, saying:
“And his living ink really is just, I think we’ve all been saying, it’s not just an effect. It’s artistry come to life. It’s something that can only really happen in animation. You can imagine Spot as a dude in a sock suit in a live-action Spider-Man film. It’s not going to work. It’s just not going to work. So he’s art come to life. He’s the inkwell spilled on the page. It all goes back to sort of comic books and comic book art.”
One of the most critically lauded elements of Into the Spider-Verse was the film’s unique style and artistry. If the trailers for Across the Spider-Verse are any indication, the sequel film is following in the aesthetic footsteps of its predecessor. The first Spider-Verse film has become renowned for re-imagining what an animated film can look like, and its sequel appears to be leaning into this, exploring the full extents of the medium by including a character who could not be translated into any other format. Justin Thompson, another of Across the Spider-Verse’s directors, says that the tools and techniques to create The Spot took a full year to develop, which is a testament to the ingenuity of the film’s animation team.
The Spider-Verse series is unlike any other superhero film franchise. Into the Spider-Verse managed to not only create a faithful adaptation of Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, but also managed to challenge audience perceptions on what animated films can do and their place in the wider film industry. With such a positive response to the first film’s art style, expectations for Across the Spider-Verse’s characters, action and cinematography are sky-high. Now, with Dos Santos teasing Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’s unique new animated villain, no doubt the film has plenty of stunning visuals in store for audiences when it finally hits screens.
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Source: CartoonBrew (via The Direct)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 (2023)Release date: Jun 02, 2023
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About The Author
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Sarah Laudenbach (she/her) is a movie and TV news writer for Screen Rant. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2019 with a Specialist in Cinema Studies, and has worked in the film industry in both pre- and post-production. She is a lover of film scores, with a particular affinity for composers Michael Giacchino and John Powell. Sarah is an avid fan of all things Marvel, Star Wars, Supernatural, and the Walking Dead, and spends her free time listening to horror podcasts, cross-stitching, and collecting Funko Pops!
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