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What Will Be 'Into The Spider-Verse's' Legacy?

Sony Animation's Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was described by its makers as 'a game-changer'. And it's not hard to see why- it looked like nothing we had seen before. Now, here we are some half a year and an Oscar later, and it got me wondering just what the film's effect on the industry will be? Hollywood has a long history of learning the wrong lesson. Phil Lord and Chris Miller's breakout The Lego Movie brought with it an unfortunate legacy that saw thw greenlighting of projects like The Playmobil Movie and Uglydolls. The Lego franchise itself may have stalled, with a series of under-performing movies including this year's sequel. Maybe, Hollywood- just hear me out here- just maybe it wasn't that people really really like Lego, or movies based on toys. Maybe they appreciated the fact that (gasp!) it was something new and fresh. So what will Spider-Verse's legacy be?

More Of The Same?

Spider-Verse was a hit for Sony. It was nowhere near the colossal $1 billion that Aquaman made (" I'm not watching a Spider-Man cartoon it's too silly, I'm going to see the movie about a man that talks to fish instead") but they were pleased with their return. Plus the critical kudos it brought will see that it's talked about for years to come. So of course, sequels are in the offering. It's pretty clear that the film was supposed to be the launch of a new franchise, so it was always the plan. Curently in the works are both a direct sequel and a female-focused spin-off lead by SpiderGwen. Lord and Miller have also signed a massive deal with Sony TV that will include a suite of series in the Spider-Verse franchise). If any of these are half as good as the original movie, then more of the same can only be a good thing in this case.



More Animated Superheroes?

Spider-Verse did leave audiences wondering why theatrical animated superhero movies weren't more common. After all, with their origins in comic-books, the medium and subject matter seem like a perfect match. DC has a successful line of DTV movies, but none of them really take advantage of the medium in the way Spidey did. Warner Bros has already announced a Super Pets movie, which will feature Superman's dog Krypto teaming up with a flying cat to save the day. It's been in development since before Spider-Verse's release, but that movie's success could definitely impact the finished product. Sony may have made Spider-Verse, but I hope that Marvel Studios were paying attention. Imagine a Marvel theatrical animation slate that could tackle some of the characters that would be harder to do in live-action. We're already seeing this on streaming TV, with series like What If? and the Hulu Marvel shows- big screen versions could be even better. Even some of the existing MCU franchises could get animated iterations. Imagine how crazy an animated Doctor Strange could be?


More Animated Adaptations?

We see so many live-action adaptations of animated properties. But what if we start seeing more franchises that have been previously live-action getting an animated incarnation? Hollywood has for many years been trying to get a new live-action Flash Gordon movie off the ground. Now it seems that it has shifted direction and they want to make it as an animated film, with Taika Waititi involved. Sony also has an animated Ghostbusters in development, alongside the latest live-action reboot. Animated adaptations of existing properties can open up a whole world of potential. Not only is imagination the only real limitation, but it can have other advantages. For example, what if the animated Ghostbusters was set in the 80s or 90s and allowed the (surviving) cast to reprise their roles in voice performances? The years that have passed wouldn't matter. Or maybe the next time a major sci-fi or fantasy epic series is snapped up to be the new Star Wars or Lord Of The Rings- perhaps animation will be considered as the ideal way to bring it to life?



More Risks?

There are many reasons why Spider-Verse was so exciting- but chief amongst them was the fact that it looked and felt like nothing we had ever seen before. Sure, a few more movies made in this exact style will be more than welcome. Yet what many people were reacting to was the fact it was fresh, it was unique and it showed that CG animation doesn't always have to chase photo-realism as their ultimate goal. It seems probable that Spider-Man's stylised visuals will help it age much better than its contemporaries too.  It was also original in terms of who it was aimed at, too. Although not "adult animation", it skewed slightly older than most animated movies appealing more to teenagers and young adults. The YA market (as the publishing industry calls it) is perhaps animation's most untapped market and could be the way to best push the medium forward. I actually theorised just such a thing in a blog a while back- and I could have been writing about Spider-Verse! Sony at least seem to have taken these lessons to heart. As revealed in their exciting future slate, they are moving into animation for more mature audiences and collaborating with talent from overseas. Hopefully, other studios will follow their lead.



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