LOS ANGELES - American film-producing and writing duo Christopher Miller and Phil Lord were determined to weave a combination of art and heart into Sony Picture's "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," and that meant broadening the stories of the Spider people.
For their sequel to 2018's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," they have sought to build new worlds to immerse audiences in a web of animated adventure.
"We wanted each one to look very distinctive and have their own aesthetic," Miller told Reuters ahead of the film's opening on Friday. "So that was a really fun opportunity to tell a story where you get to go to all these places and see these worlds you've never seen before and give the audience something they've never experienced."
The movie traces the journey of teenager Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, embarking on a mission with love interest Gwen Stacy, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, to save the Spider-People in every universe from catastrophe.
The animation styles were influenced by the Miles Morales Marvel comic books created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, and also incorporate a watercolor look often seen in cover art for comic book series Spider-Gwen.
The voice cast includes Issa Rae as Spider-Woman, Oscar Isaac as Spider-Man 2099, Daniel Kaluuya as Spider-Punk and Brian Tyree Henry as Miles' father, Jefferson Davis.
The theme? For people from all walks of life to unapologetically accept themselves.
"With this story in particular, there are just so many grounded themes of just coming into your own, trusting yourself, learning yourself," Rae said.
At the world premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Henry told Reuters that there is a Spider-Man for anyone because heroes look like every sort of person from every background.
The pre-pandemic "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" raked in over $35 million during its first three days of release and went on to win the 2019 Oscar for best animated feature film.
Despite some concerns that those box-office-busting days are far from returning, "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" is forecast to open with $95 to $130 million in the U.S. and Canada.
For many film critics, the superhero sequel has all the makings of a box office success.
Early feedback from review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 95% on the Tomatometer.
"This feels like it could have been the first movie designed to earn a thumbs up from Andy Warhol and Stephen Hawking," Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote.
(Reporting by Danielle Broadway and Rollo Ross; additional reporting by Jorge Garcia; Editing by Mary Milliken and Rosalba O'Brien)