After announcing the project back in 2015, Sony Pictures Animation kept quiet about its all-animated Spider-Man film, but that all changed this weekend when they released the first teaser for the project:

Bob Persichetti (head of story, The Little Prince, Puss in Boots), Peter Ramsey (director, Rise of the Guardians), and Rodney Rothman (head writer, Late Show with David Letterman) direct Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse from a script by Phil Lord (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street).

The film will be released in the U.S. on December 14, 2018.

Superhero animated movies aren’t exactly lacking in the marketplace – Disney’s Big Hero 6 and WB’s The Lego Batman Movie have both been well received and relatively successful, and next year will also see the release of other full-length superhero animation like The Incredibles 2 and Teen Titans Go! What sets this Spider-Man film apart from the others is largely a matter of tone.

The fact that they introduced the film with pure action rather than comedy is a distinguishing mark – and extremely uncommon for an American animated feature. Sony seems to be telling the audience: This is a superhero film first, an animated film second.

Of course, the other thing setting it apart is its hyper-stylized and strongly graphic look, which is one of the freshest big-studio approaches to cg we’ve seen recently, using flat shading, 2d-style special effects, and even a decorative comic-inspired screentone pattern. There’s innovative stylized animation and camera choices throughout the short teaser, too.

It’s no secret that Sony Imageworks has one of the finest cg character animation pipelines in the biz, but they’ve been stymied by a lack of vision and risk-taking from their counterparts at Sony Pictures Animation. With Spider-Man, it looks like all the pieces of the puzzle might finally fit together.

One other interesting highlight: the film’s Spider-Man isn’t Peter Parker, but Miles Morales, the half-black, half-Latino character created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli, who first appeared in 2011 and starred in his own comic series, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man. Shameik Moore voices him. The cast also includes Liev Schreiber, Mahershala Ali, and Brian Tyree Henry.

The Hollywood animation scene could benefit from a little diversity, and this film offers it both onscreen and behind-the-scenes with Ramsey as co-director.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is produced by Avi Arad, Amy Pascal, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and Christina Steinberg.

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