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Spider-Verse swings onto Netflix- Is the film still underrated?

On the 2nd January 2019, I was dragged along to my local cinema for an experience I’ll never forget. On the cold winter’s morning, I rushed off to meet my friend and consequently watch Sony’s Spider-man Into the Spider-verse for the first time.  I had no expectation for this film whatsoever.

But, reader let me tell you now I was completely blown away. From the inspirational storyline to the amazing comic-inspired animation, the film made me feel like a young child again, hopeful about the world. It became one of my favourite films of that year and I wanted to sing its praises as often as I could, unfortunately, most of my peers had not seen the film.

Today the film Into the Spider-Verse will be released on Netflix UK after two years since it was premiered.

It was Sony Pictures Animation most successful animation, winning many awards and being praised by critics. However, in terms of the Box Office, the film was not as successful. It has the lowest worldwide box office grossing than any other Spiderman feature film, comparing this to Venom, which had a Rotten Tomato score of 30%. The film was also trailing behind rival films like Aquaman and Bumblebee during its release.

Professor of Animation at the University Kent, Aylish Wood told me: “It’s surprising the Into the Spider-verse wasn’t as successful at the box office as other Spider-Man films as it was so positively reviewed by critics. My Animation students were really enthusiastic about it, as were many people who study animation, but these are people like myself who are already invested in animation.”

She pointed out that other films at the time like Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee relied on visual effects which often includes animation techniques. As to why audiences might be turned off, Professor Wood believed it might be the combination of animation and Spider-Man.

She went on to explain: “For a more general audience, both Spider-Man and animation might seem niche, especially if they thought the film was targeted at teens. The trailer also shows off a lot of its comic book styling, and outside comic book and animation fans, not everyone would be drawn by the trailer.”

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.

Over the last 20 years, there has been much more adult-oriented animated TV series such as Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman. However, big names such as Dreamworks, Disney and Pixar animation in film and TV, has had an association with family-oriented films. This could also explain why older audiences do not flock to cinemas to see animated films such as Into The Spider-verse.

Peer Lemmers is a Character Animator who has worked on films such as MegaMind, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Jurassic World. He does not believe animation is underappreciated as a whole but thinks audiences are unaware of how much work is put into it.

He said: “I’ve experienced a huge interest from fans or students and professionals in talks at conferences so within our industry it’s very much alive and appreciated.”

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE.


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