“Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse” is an innovative animation film based on the Spiderman stories. The film is produced by Sony in collaboration with Marvel. Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino middle school student from Brooklyn, New York, gets bitten by his own radioactive spider when he and his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali) paint graffiti on a subway wall.
Miles returns to the place where the spider bit him to discover Peter Parker (Chris Pine), the original Spider-Man, fighting in a collider located underground. When Peter Parker passes through the interdimensional portal that the collider creates, multiple spider-people from other universes come to Miles’ Universe.
The Los Angeles Times hosted a screening of “Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse” for their Envelope Live event in late January. After the movie was screened, directors Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman and Bob Persichetti, as well as producers Chris Miller and Phil Lord talked on a panel with L.A. Times reporter Jeffrey Fleishman.
“Peter Parker was somebody who was just like us,” producer and writer Phil Lord said. “He had to learn to save himself and save others. So the idea of updating that story for Miles felt really contemporary and felt really honest and truthful to what those guys [Brian Bendis and Sara Pichelli] started.”
Audience members resonated with this point. Isabella, who attended the event and asked to be referred to by her first name, also resonates with Miles and his story.
“Miles is just a kid and nobody believes him,” she said. “He had to stand up for himself.”
Writing and directing a movie was a learning experience for the directors. “Once we started to make the movie more open-hearted, it just started to work better,” Rodney Rothman said.
Those making the movie also found that, even in animation, silence can convey just as much emotion as dialogue.
“We don’t have to have the perfect line,” Bob Persichetti said. “We can isolate the emotion, and let you feel that this character doesn’t know quite what to say here.”
Those who made the movie also resonated with the characters in the movie.
“[I identify with] Miles,” said Lord. “I am super shy, I was a little twerp, smaller and younger looking than everyone in my school, so I felt unseen. I feel like when I watch Miles go through that school and feel like he’s never going to make his way in the school, I went to a public school and then switched over into a fancier school where everybody knew each other.”
Audience members felt touched by the way even the moviemakers related to the characters.
“I like hearing Phil talk about how he was kind of awkward,” said Chris, who attended the event and asked to be referred to by his first name. “It was really interesting hearing about what he was like then, [and] how he’s able to resonate with a character in his movie, now.”
Other people at the screening found it interesting that the producer’s and director’s diverse backgrounds were all used when making the film.
“I loved it. I think good questions fuel good answers,” said Isabella, an attendee. “I loved how they were able to tie in their own personal backgrounds, identities, and experiences into a cohesive reiteration of why they made what they made.”