Directed by CalArts Character Animation alum Bob Persichetti (Film/Video BFA 96) with Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, the film follows Miles Morales, an African-American and Puerto Rican Brooklyn teen who becomes the Spider-Man of his reality. He teams with five other Spidey counterparts from other dimensions to stop an enemy that threatens all their worlds.
The film, from Sony Pictures Animation, is being hailed by critics and audiences alike for its storytelling, its animation and visuals. From A.O. Scott in The New York Times:
The characters feel liberated by animation, and the audience will, too. Old-style graphic techniques commingle with digital wizardry. Wiggly lines indicate the tingling of spider senses, while electronic bursts signal the presence of interdimensional static. The rules of visual coherence are tested and ultimately upheld, while the laws of physics are flouted with sublime bravado.
During the acceptance speeches, director Ramsey talked about the film’s message about superheroes: “We were trying to make a movie that spoke to the idea that anyone can be behind the mask. We’re telling the story of Miles Morales, a kid from Brooklyn…African American…Puerto Rican. Anyone can be behind the mask. We’re counting on you.”
A number of CalArtians were involved in the making of the film. A quick scan of the IMDB credits page includes Shiyoon Kim (character designer), Yuhki Demers (visual development), Brittany Myers (character design), Paula Assadourian (story artist), Jihyun Park (story artist), Tony Siruno (character design) and Grady Campbell (lighting & compositing artist).
Out of this year’s five Golden Globe nominees for feature animation, three were directed by CalArtians. In addition to Into the Spider-Verse, Disney•Pixar’s Incredibles 2 was written and directed by Brad Bird, and Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet was directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston. The other two nominated films were Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, since the animated feature category was introduced at the Golden Globes in 2007, there have only been three wins by films outside Disney or Pixar. The other two winning films were How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), and The Adventures of TinTin in 2011.