The “Spider-Verse” Style Is Going To Become Overrated

Alright, two unpopular animation opinions:

  • The Peanuts Movie (2015) and the Captain Underpants Netflix show paved the way for this new wave of 2D/3D cell animation that people mostly associate with Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse. Going even further back in history, it could be argued Disney’s short: Paperman, was the start.
Captain Underpants (2017)
  • You do not want all the new animated movies to look like Spider-verse. Spider-verse was cool because it was one of the first to use this animation style. It fit the super hero, larger-than-life story it was trying to tell, and it was intentional in emulating the comic-book appearance of its source material. Most other stories will not be a perfect fit for this style.

Most other movies/shows in this animation style will not be as good as Spider-verse. It’s just a popular trend that studios will want to copy, just like how every studio copied Disney’s animation style. This style is not better than traditional CGI, it’s not better than hand-drawn animation, it’s just new. I understand its growth in popularity (especially as it’s proved itself commercially viable). People have been wanting something new in animated movies for years and they’re finally getting it.

Spider-Verse (2018)

But sooner or later, people are going to think this animation style has outstayed its welcome. It may have started out with Peanuts and Captain Underpants. It grew popular with Spider-verse and a little more with Dreamworks’ The Bad Guys and Netflix’s Arcane. But I grow concerned seeing this style become more common. Before you know it, Disney is going to release something similar, then Illumination will, and then every other low-budget studio who want to cash in on this animation trend.

Spider-verse was meant to pave the way for more originality in animation, not just lesser copies of the results of the creators’ phenomenal undertaking. I understand the appeal of borrowing elements of something proven successful, but it should really spur other studios to take on more experimental forms of animation that they may only dabble in for their short movies.

Paperman (2012); the start of this increasingly popular animation style.

On the down-low, people tend to be gate keepers about this “superior” animation style. But it’ll be harder to gate-keep when more and more content comes out and they can no longer unequivocally claim that all stories in this style are a step above the rest of the industry. Spider-verse happened to be a great movie; a lot of the movies that come out in this style won’t be. I can guarantee, without a shadow of a doubt, that people will start complaining about the over-saturation of the “spider-verse” style. Just like how they complained about the Hanna-Barbera style in the 50s, the merchandise-focused “He-Man” style in the 80s, Disney’s baby-faced animation in the 2000s, and of course, the Cal-Arts “bean mouth” art style still in progress.*

*People always act like all Disney princesses had giant eyes, then proceed to only list Rapunzel (the first one), then Anna and Elsa (who are sisters in the same movie).

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