Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a watershed moment for American animation. The 2018 superhero action film won the hearts of audiences with its bold, impressionistic art style and comic-inspired flourishes, ushering in a wave of similarly stylized, artist-driven movies to follow. By all accounts, the film’s sequel, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, has set another benchmark the American animation industry will strive to reach in the years to come.
If you’re looking for some of the best animated films in recent years inspired by Into the Spider-Verse, or at the very least something similar to sate your appetite for beautiful, bighearted animated storytelling, we’ve got you. Here are the best movies for fans of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to watch on streaming.
The Bad Guys
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: Pierre Perifel
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina
Every character in The Bad Guys is so lovingly rendered, animated, and detailed that you know the people who worked on them are their biggest fans. Yes, haters could make a cheap furry joke, but c’mon — it’s 2023, we can admit that sometimes anthropomorphic animals are hot. And that’s especially the case with the suave Mr. Wolf. The filmmakers knew what they were doing when they gave Diane Foxington a little eyebrow piercing!
Come for the hot animals, stay for the stylized animation. In The Bad Guys, this is especially clear not just in the painterly effects and backgrounds but how the characters move. Director Pierre Perifel really wanted pushed, pose-to-pose movement for the characters, and it works beautifully well to highlight the different ways that the animals move. Mr. Snake is especially a treat, with his coils used as arms in posing. It’s a fun romp, with stylistic influences including but not limited to Ernest & Celestine, Lupin, and Cowboy Bebop. —Petrana Radulovic
The Bad Guys is available to stream on Netflix.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Run time: 1h 42m
Directors: Joel Crawford, Januel Mercado
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek Pinault, Harvey Guillén
In 2001, Shrek disrupted the landscape of American animation with its crass referential humor and then-groundbreaking CG animation. If we’re lucky, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish will have the same effect, recalibrating what we’ve expected from Shrek franchise film after Shrek franchise film.
Taking a leaf from Spider-Verse, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has a more stylized approach to its animation. The backgrounds are lush and painterly, like an illustration from a fairy-tale book, with tight and vivid action sequences. The familiar characters, like Antonio Banderas’ Puss and Salma Hayek’s Kitty, are still recognizable, but in a way that adds extra oomph and harkens back to their fairy-tale roots. And with how saturated the Shrek franchise got — and how chock-full of pop culture references the movies always were — it’s hard to remember the heart in the original. But The Last Wish brings it back, telling a triumphant story about living life to the fullest. —PR
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is available to stream on Peacock.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
Run time: 1h 22m
Directors: Andy Suriano, Ant Ward
Cast: Ben Schwartz, Omar Benson Miller, Brandon Mychal Smith
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the best American animated TV series of the 2010s, offering a fresh take on everyone’s favorite reptilian vigilante heroes that combines the energetic pulse-pounding action of Japanese animation with distinctive character designs that make it feel entirely its own. It’s no wonder, then, that the series would spawn one of the most entertaining animated superhero movies this side of Into the Spider-Verse.
Set several months after the conclusion of the series, the 2022 feature follows a young Casey Jones who is sent back in time to aid the Turtles in preventing the Foot clan from releasing Krang from an extra-dimensional prison and destroying the world. With phenomenal fight sequences, vibrant set-pieces, and sharp comedic writing, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie is a fitting conclusion to one of the best incarnations of the franchise. —Toussaint Egan
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie is available to stream on Netflix.
Run time: 1h 32m
Director: Fletcher Moules
Cast: Kid Cudi, Jessica Williams, Ty Dolla Sign
Director Fletcher Moules and executive producer Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi’s 2022 animated special Entergalactic may not explicitly cite Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse as an inspiration, but its cosmic-inspired aesthetic and stylish abstract rendering of New York City certainly feels indebted to the precedent of the 2018 superhero film. Mescudi stars as Jabari, a charming street artist turned comic author who unexpectedly falls head over heels for his neighbor Meadow (Jessica Williams), a rising photographer. When Jabari feels himself drawn back to his ex-girlfriend Carmen (Laura Harrier), he’ll have to make some tough decisions about who he wants to be, what kind of life he wants to live, and who he wants to share that life with.
Entergalactic is a gorgeous romantic comedy, a contemporary version of When Harry Met Sally with impeccable visuals and a solid soundtrack. If you’re looking for a beautiful animated film after coming down from the Olympian heights of watching Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, check this one out. —TE
Entergalactic is available to stream on Netflix.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Run time: 1h 54m
Directors: Michael Rianda, Jeff Rowe
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph
Produced by The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller and directed by Gravity Falls’ Mike Rianda, The Mitchells vs. the Machines is a zany, offbeat family adventure that’s as much about a tense father-daughter relationship as it is about the robot apocalypse led by an artificial assistant (Olivia Colman). And also intergenerational attitudes toward technology, and also artistic expression, and also dinosaurs — well, there is a lot going on in this movie, and it’s better to watch it unfold on screen in all its glory.
One of the most memorable parts of The Mitchells vs. the Machines (aside from an army of murderous Furbys led by a giant overlord) is how much it looks like a sketchbook come to life. Doodles and scribbles adorn the frames, straight from protagonist Katie’s mind. It’s how Katie sees the world, and it turns the already frenzied robot apocalypse into beautiful chaos. —PR
The Mitchells vs. the Machines is available to stream on Netflix.
Big Hero 6
Run time: 1h 42m
Directors: Don Hall, Chris Williams
Cast: Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney
This Marvel-inspired animated superhero film may not have all the fancy visual bells and whistles of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse or its 2023 sequel, but it does have something that matters just as much in creating a compelling work of storytelling, and that’s heart.
Big Hero 6 follows the story of Hiro (Ryan Potter), a tech prodigy with a knack for winning underground robot fights. He embarks on a personal mission to capture a masked villain who has repurposed Hiro’s own invention to serve their own mysterious agenda. With the help of his older brother’s robot companion Baymax and his friends, Hiro assembles a superhero vigilante team to save the citizens of San Fransokyo from total destruction. With its own beautiful animation style, colorful characters, and entertaining action, Big Hero 6 is well worth watching, especially if you’re looking for something to tide you over while waiting for Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse to come out. —TE
Big Hero 6 is available to stream on Disney Plus.