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It's been a year, and Spider-Man is still finding the superhero life is full of dangerous pitfalls and avoidable collateral damage. Fortunately, Nick Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., offers to fix that with a special training program that offers to make Peter Parker the Ultimate Spider-man. Now the quintessential superhero loner must learn to get along with a new team of superheroes as fellow students, both in his professional and personal life. Between those demands and the supervillains, life is as hectic as ever for the Webslinging Wonder. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
At the 2011 San Diego Comic Con, it was confirmed that Clark Gregg would provide the voice of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson, the same character Gregg has played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies released by Marvel Studios, including both Iron Man (2008) movies, Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012) and agents of shield(2013) See more »
Am I missing something or does Marvel just hate Spider-Man a lot?
Months before Ultimate Spider-Man even premiered I noticed that there was a lot of hate for this show. A lot of the common outcries I noticed seemed to be "They canceled Spectacular Spider-Man for this, this is going to suck!" And I admit, I too was miffed that Spectacular was canceled because of a lot of red tape; it was a surprisingly very well written cartoon that, despite being for the younger crowd, never talked down to its audience; drawing on Spider-Man's history in both the comics and and media to feature numerous easter eggs for several fans who had been into the character for years. But in spite of that, I still very much wanted to check out this new "Ultimate" cartoon. Would it be as good as Spectacular was? Well probably not. But that doesn't mean that it would automatically suck. It could very well be good in its own right.
Now it's three months since the show premiered and I've since come to the assessment that it deserves all the hate it gets and more. I've seen more than enough of it now to see just what kind of show it is; one that talks down to its target audience and actually loves saying "screw you" to anyone else watching.
So, why do I dislike USM so much? Well, there's there's two points to that. The first, and what seems to be most common with most of this show's detractors, is the over emphasis on comedy than anything else. Now, I have nothing wrong with a more light-hearted superhero cartoon. Batman: The Brave and the Bold took a lighter approach to the character yet still made it work, and of course there's the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series which also focused mainly on humor. But shows like those knew when to pick and choose their funny moments. Ultimate on the other hand mixes in everything to try and get a laugh without even checking to see if it their humor works within the context. You have cutaways of a super-deformed Spidey arguing with himself or his teammates, being in the shower, riding a jet pack (repeatedly), vomiting, and doing a bunch of other crazy stuff. And unlike say Teen Titans, which wisely knew when to tone it down for its more serious episodes and fight scenes, Ultimate" on the other hand wouldn't know the meaning of "less is more" if someone tattooed it into its backside. Nearly every minute of every episode you get bombarded with some 4th-wall joke, and that includes the fight scenes against the big bad super villains, which pauses every minute so Spider-Man can make some sarcastic comment that shows him doing something out of character and embarrassing. So that's my first point. But it pales in comparison to point two, which is why I really feel this show is giant screw-up after another.
It seems like every character on this show suffers from one of two things: they're too bland and barely there consistently to be worth giving a damn about, or they're a total jerk who isn't unlikable in the slightest. Characters like Power Man, Iron Fist, Mary Jane, or J. Jonah Jameson feel like part of the scenery, while other characters like White Tiger, who portrays herself as an arrogant know-it-all, Nick Fury, who goes out of his way to humiliate the title character just for some cheap laughs, and braggart Nova who argues with just about everyone on the show would be the last sort of people you'd ever want yourself or any of your close friends to know.
But the absolute worst offender is the way Spider-Man is handled, as it contradicts everything the character is supposed to be about. I think everybody knows the basics: he made a mistake, it cost him his beloved Uncle Ben, and now he does his best to always do the right thing to make up for it and honor his memory in spite of all adversity that comes his way. Not too hard to get the character down following that logic here, right? Heck, the first episode starts out with him grieving for his Uncle like usual. But then what proceeds to immediately screw this up is just two episodes later at one point he decides to steal a SHIELD jet to attack Dr. Doom just to try and look cool in front of the other heroes. As he's getting in the seat, his conscience starts getting to him, he wonders if doing this is truly the best and most responsible thing, and considers dropping the whole crazy plan... and then he proceeds to immediately say "Yeah, maybe next life!" Yes folks, you read that right: the guy decides to essentially say "to hell with responsibility" even though he's personally learned the hard way just how much being irresponsible can cost you. He's selfish, he's arrogant, he's obnoxious, he's a giant jerk... I could go on and on listing the negative traits of what is easily the most unlikable version ever of "Spider-Man" for hours. In fact, he's such a huge departure from any previous portrayal of the character that it makes me wonder if when this cartoon was originally in development with someone completely different in the role and the producers just decided to slap Spider-Man's face on it just to try and get more recognition.
It's bad enough that the humor tries and fails to actually be funny but instead feels more and more like a tamer version of a Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer film, but what's the point of watching when there isn't a single person on the show you can even bring yourself to root for? I've finally decided to quit watching this thing and I'm never looking back. Hopefully everyone else that's watching this will do so as well so this bizarre monstrosity's ratings will fall and then lead it to dying as fast as possible.
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