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Marvel’s rehabilitation of Spider-Man took off like a rocket with the reintroduction of young Peter Parker into the MCU, followed by the astoundingly good Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now, the next phase of the rehabilitation is shooting into the stratosphere with the Sony Pictures Animation film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
I love animation, and frankly, I haven’t seen animation look this good in a long time. It’s an odd combination of 3D and traditional that makes Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) jump off the screen. The style really does make the character and the city of New York larger than life. Every scene is practically electric.
There’s also just the fact that we’re finally seeing more treatment given to Morales, who is the comic book canon Spider-Man nowadays. There’s been a bit of a turf war between fans over who should be the canonical film Spider-Man. Fans of Miles have also been concerned that Marvel’s only concerned about diversity in the back of the house, as it were, instead of the front–while Marvel consistently boasts about it’s diversity within its pages, it’s been hard to get that same type of diversity on screen. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse finally gives Marvel a way to showcase all facets of their canon and give all fans the Spider-Man they want to see, whether that’s Peter or Miles. The next step: getting Miles into the live-action movies.
Okay, now to the moodboards (and what beautiful moodboards they are).
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is coming to theaters Christmas 2018.
When I saw The Book of Life in theaters a couple of years ago, I had hoped it would get enough traction and fanbase to garner a sequel. The characters and animation were charming, as was the story, so I’m glad to know that we’re getting a new Book of Life film!
The news came during this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival. According to Remezcla via Variety, The Book of Life creator and director Jorge Gutiérrez will return to helm the sequel. I presume the same voice actors, including Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Kate del Castillo, and Ron Perlman, will be back as well (no confirmation yet).
Gutiérrez had teased a sequel last year, and has since retweeted that old tweet, which features a very different, angrier-looking Xibalba and a different, Aztec-inspired goddess. Also, Manolo, Maria and Joaquín are all dead, fighting against something or someone. In short, it seems like a much darker–yet just as fun–chapter in the Book of Life saga. Will the sequel follow the narrative the early concept art shows us? I hope so–I really want to know what the story is that inspired this art, especially that goddess.
Who wants to see this movie? Asking for a friend. pic.twitter.com/Fb0R6bkWBh
— Jorge R. Gutierrez (@mexopolis) November 30, 2016
But I hope that La Muerte is still a part of the mix; her character design is still one of the most inspired designs I’ve seen in a while, especially now that we’re in the age of homogenous Pixar or Pixar-influenced art. Let’s be real–mainstream 3D films are all starting to look exactly the same. The Book of Life jazzed things up a whole lot, not just where diversity and representation are concerned (because 3D animated films are still white-centric). The playfulness and imaginative quality that The Book of Life art has is something that has been lacking in 3D animated films, and it’s definitely something Pixar has increasingly lost since it lost its arthouse sensibilities after becoming a full-blown part of Disney.
I digress, but I’ll also use this as a segue to discuss The Book of Life‘s “competition,” as it were–Pixar’s Coco. I’ve already written about how some aren’t feeling Coco and it’s similar The Book of Life look. But Gutiérrez doesn’t view them as competition and, in fact, welcomes more films that are taking on this topic. And, in Pixar’s defense, it looks like Pixar isn’t taking the typically Disney easy way out when it comes to telling this story, i.e. creating a sanitized, whitewashed version of Mexican culture. Aside from screenwriter and Pixar animator Adrian Molina co-directing the film with Lee Unkrich, Pixar has hired some of its biggest critics as a think-tank to keep the film culturally sound. (However, the think-tank idea only seems to be after Disney’s 2013 trademark debacle when they tried to secure the phrase “Día de los Muertos,” which resulted in a PR nightmare. An artist who came out against them, Lalo Alcaraz, was asked by Pixar to be a part of the think-tank, and I hope they heed what he and the rest of the experts have to say. You can read more about this at Vanity Fair.)
To get back on topic, I’m really excited to see what The Book of Life has in store for us the second go-round. What do you think about this news? Give your opinions below!