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I recently watched the first 2 episodes of Ultimate Spider-Man and I
can honestly say that I have never wanted to STOP watching a Spider-Man
cartoon before in my life... until now.
I have been a big fan of the Spider-Man comic series for many years and have liked almost all of the cartoon iterations of him, but this one just hurts to watch. I understand that Spider-Man is supposed to be a smart-mouthed teen who likes to make jokes while fighting crime, which is my favorite part about the character, but this show just takes it to an extreme. The show feels like a very awkward mix of Family Guy, Teen Titans and The Emperors New Groove... NONE of them in a good way.
I think one of the biggest problems for me was how much the story was broken up by all of the "cut away" scenes. There would be an action scene going on, or a scene with meaningful dialog and it felt like every 5 seconds, they were shoe-horning a stupid "this is almost as bad as the time I..." joke, much like in Family Guy; The problem with this is that it broke up EVERYTHING that was happening in the show. The reason that Family Guy is able to get away with doing "cut away" scenes every few seconds is because that is what the show is all about. You don't watch Family Guy for the story or the action, you watch it to laugh at the jokes, which can actually be funny because they aren't being aimed at children. I understand that Spider-Man is a show made for children and I get that the characters aren't going to be nearly as serious as they are in the comics, but I feel like this was just too far from the source material for me to enjoy it.
Another thing that bothered me was how just a few years ago we had, in my opinion, one of the best Spider-Man shows to date, Spectacular Spider-Man, and it was canceled in only it's second season. I had really high hopes for Ultimate Spider-Man to fill the void that Spectacular Spider-Man left, but it just didn't deliver at all.
I guess I should address the animation for the show as well, while it looks good in still shots, much of the action gets... fuzzy? A lot of the time it looks like they got lazy while animating the action sequences and just decided to make everything blurry so it looked like he was doing something really cool, but all that it did was give me a headache. The character designs are good and they COULD look great, but it just seems like they got lazy with animating them; Yet another reason why I think that Spectacular Spider-Man did it better, the animation was much smoother.
As far as the voice acting on the show goes, they all seem to have done a really good job... with what they were given to read. So much of the writing in this show just seems so forced; It seems like they thought that the more jokes that the shoved in and the more that they made it like Family Guy, the better that it would be... because, hey, people like Family Guy, right? Now, You may be asking "why was Spectacular Spider-Man so much better" and the most honest answer that I can give you is that it seems as though Marvel actually put a lot of work into Spectacular Spider-Man. I'm not saying that they didn't put a lot of work into Ultimate Spider-Man, but it's much harder to see in this one. The character designs in Spectacular Spider-Man may not have hit all of the right points for some people, but I really enjoyed it. The action in the show looked really good and it was easy to follow exactly what was happening, because you didn't have a bunch of blur that you had to try and see everything through. The story for Spectacular Spider-Man was your standard Spider-Man fare, but while it was a show essentially for kids, it also appealed to many adults as well. The show had its serious moments along with its really funny ones, which is what I think Spider-Man is all about. It took all of the things that were great from the 90's Spider-Man show, like the stories and the great scripts and coupled them with great animation and some really talented voice actors to give life to the characters.
I really wanted to like Ultimate Spider-Man, but I just didn't. I feel like if this show was about just another teen superhero other than Spider-Man it would have been much more forgivable, but for it to take such a dump on such a beloved character, it is just really sad to see. Now all that I can do is hope that the new Spider-Man movie can really bring something good to the table.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I remember watching the two part series premiere of the Spectacular
Spiderman in 2008. Despite reservations over the art style, I could
tell the show had the goods halfway through the first episode. By the
end of the second episode, I couldn't wait to see the third the
Fast forward to 2012 and I find myself watching the two part series premiere for Ultimate Spiderman. By the end of the second episode, I was feeling on the verge of being physically ill. However, to be fair, I decided to watch the third episode to make sure my hunches were correct. They were. This show is rubbish.
USM is nowhere near being in the same league as SSM. To be blunt, it comes up short against every animated series to feature the character. Yes, this includes Spiderman and his Amazing Friends. While Spidey had to share the spotlight with Firestar and Iceman, in that series, here he is all but crowded out of frame by the likes of Power Man, Iron Fist, White Tiger and Nova. Oh Yeah, there's also Nick Fury, Agent Coulson (from the movies) and the rest of shield. Oh yeah, there's also the ever ubiquitous villain of the week. Not one of the good or bad guys really fit in with the Spiderman mythos, and it shows. Thankfully, there are the good old standbys.
For instance, Mary Jane Watson is now a burgeoning, high school reporter and only feels vaguely reminiscent of a teenage Lois Lane because this characterization blatantly rips that property off. Aunt May is shown as being a bit younger and livelier here than ever before. Were it not for her gray hair, one could imagine May blowing off her nephew to go clubbing with college kids. J. Jonah Jameson has apparently gotten out of printed news and is now a television news personality, because seeing him scream out from a television screen is cooler than seeing him run roughshod over a bullpen. Right? Then, there's Harry. Why should Harry Osborn be a geeky outsider, when he can be a cool kid who sticks up for Parker? Well now we find out why.
But, the belle of the ball, the icing on the cake, the cherry on the top and the recipient of more clichés than I have fingers is USM's lead. One has to wonder if Otto Octavius was charged with developing this series because the Wallcrawler really gets the short end of the stick. Here, Parker is prone to flights of fancy where he'll see himself as a toaster or using a jetpack. When not envisioning painfully out of character scenarios, he's breaking the fourth wall with an alarming regularity. Every time he freezes the action to talk to me, an esteemed member of the viewing audience, I find myself wishing he'd have the common decency to shut up. Some of this is due to the context of the situation he's in. It makes no sense for him to "timeout" in the middle of a fight to fill us in on what's happening. But the majority of the pain this narrative device provides, however, is due to Drake Bell's performance as Peter Parker.
Over three decades of reading the comics, watching the movies, watching the cartoons and playing the games, I've come to expect Spiderman's voice to be cerebral and quite sardonic. In short the character's always been a blast to listen to. In USM, instead of an intelligent smart aleck, we get a pipsqueaky delivery that confuses crass for wit. Spidey, the thinking man's superhero, sounds about as witty as a high school kid bragging about his first beer.
There's only one aspect of USM that compares favorably to previous series. This would be the animation and overall character designs. Visually, Parker veers extremely close to his depiction in the USM comics. The character model is quite detailed. Surprisingly, despite the bump up in detail, everything animates very smoothly. To be honest, the animation here actually seems to do a better job of conveying momentum and impact than even SSM. Regardless, when the writing, acting and action scenes are so jarringly bad, what does it matter? A lemon's a lemon, regardless of how shiny its paint job is.
I honestly have no idea what the creators of this series were thinking. Most of them are former or current comic scribes who honestly should have a better handle on things. It's as though there is a deliberate effort on their part to sabotage this series. Either that or these guys are working past their expiration date. I'm going with the latter. Even so, this would still be an interesting experiment in failure; were it not for the fact a MUCH better series was cancelled for this pile to exist.
In defense of USM's creators, this probably was written for a much younger audience to sell toys. After all, exploiting rugrats to attack their parent's wallets is such a noble endeavor. Regardless, if you're in the target demo and are old enough to sleep on your stomach without dying, don't watch USM. It'll only make you want to swear, and that's a bad habit to get into.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Watching this you can tell its a remake of spider-man and his amazing
friends. Yet that had some heart to it and Firestar who was created for
the show was latter written into the comics. None of the characters
that are on Spidey's team is likable or has any personality. Iron Fist
is a surfer dude, white tiger a sassy Latina. Seems to play up on
stereotypes. The avengers today just introduce Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
Now that's how they should be played. Smart, witty and shown not to be
Second it's obliviously focus on the 5 to 10 year olds. The episodes pretty much give that away. The spidercycle, the iron spider suit costume. The Doctor Doom episode with the shield aircraft that breaks away into 4 other aircrafts. Might as well just said now available at your local Toys R Us store.
For the last and its a big one. Spider-man has always been about power and responsibility. Why are we seeing Spider-man as a irresponsible jerk? He seems more focus on upstaging Nova and playing with his Spidercycle or Ironspider costume being a mature responsible superhero that comics and past TV shows portrayed him. They need to change the name to the ultimate spider jerk. His wit is not there, his so called jokes are just bad. Also breaking the 4th wall just needs to stop.
As a Spider-man fan I say watch Avengers Earth's mightiest heroes instead along with cartoon networks DC block. Those shows are far superior than this travesty.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Other reviewers have covered the show's shortcomings rather well. I
only would like to add my agreement that this show does not need to be
"Family Guy" with superpowers.
Never mind the ridiculous cycle and jet pack, and the incredibly moronic rivalry with Nova. Never mind Nick Fury behaving like teenager. Never mind the way Peter has regressed into a kid who is no smarter, no more responsible and no better than Flash Thompson. I barely recognize the character from the comic books when I watched this poor excuse for a show.
Last... the first few reviewers whose posts were added before June of this year: try not to make it so obvious that you work for Marvel and/or its affiliates. Your spamming speaks for itself.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can't believe they canceled The Spectacular Spider-Man for this. This
show is complete and utter garbage. There are so many things wrong with
this show that I don't know where to begin.
First of I can't take the constantly random jokes in this series, they are trying to make a Spider-Man show with a Family Guy approach. I have no idea what is wrong with the creators of this version but they should stay as far away from Spider-Man because they are ruining my favorite superhero.
Also, they got Peter Parkers character all wrong, Peter used to be intelligent but in this series it seems he has lost all his intelligence and has become lazy.
They have also completely changed the Venom's background, the symbiote used to be an alien from space not a creation of Doctor Octopus using Peter Parker's blood.
Something else that has been bothering me is all the characters being introduced to the series that doesn't belong in it the first place. Characters from Fantastic Four, Avengers even Thor.
With the cancellation of fan-favourite animated series The Spectacular
Spider-Man, Ultimate Spider-Man was seemingly doomed from the
beginning. Fresh from the Disney buy-out from Marvel, this
interpretation of the Web-Slingers story see's Peter Parker still at
high school, dealing with the woes of teenage life and responsibility
of being a hero. Meanwhile, his superhero antics catches the attention
of S.H.I.E.L.D who offer up an extensive membership under supervised
Any fan of Spider-Man will tell already that this storyline seems directly from the storyline 'The Death of Spider-Man', a controversial story-arc run in Marvel's Ultimate series. These same fans will be disappointed, however, that the series fails to bring forward the adult story-telling from said comics. And this is where the series falls flat.
The main problem watching this series is that it trades any sort of character development or deep storytelling, for cheap slap-stick jokes and unnecessary team-ups. During a scene, Parker will turn to the camera, set-up a joke and cut-away to a quick 'Looney Tunes' esque sketch. Whilst humorous, it does feel unneeded and, for lack of a better word, dumb. In regards to the Team-Ups, I find this show concentrates too much on having Spidey meet up with some Marvel B-Lister (Who is White Tiger?!?!?) when they could be giving us great villains from Spider-Man's rogue gallery.
Another problem with the show is the actual use of Spider-Man himself. Half the time, the guy is 'tripping over his own webs', screaming or simply annoying those around him, whilst other superheroes take care of whatever the threat happens to be. Spider-Man, the titular character, is literally pushed aside and out done by the previously mentioned B-Listers. It's pretty lame to watch.
I guess people wouldn't mind so much, if it wasn't such a classic character they were doing this to. Spider-Man is a superhero, witty, powerful and, most of all, responsible whilst Peter Parker is dorky, clumsy and awkward. Here, Spider-Man AND Parker are dorky, clumsy and awkward. It's far less entertaining to watch and the superhero just comes across as hapless and annoying.
It's not necessarily an unwatchable programme, it has its rare moments of chuckles and the animation is the best I've seen in a Spider-Man show so far. It just feels like a wasted opportunity in regards to Story-Arcs (the Ultimate Spider-Man comic was fantastic for these) and villain gallery (Come on! We wanna see SOME familiar faces!).
Whilst okay for kids, it's certainly not a great watch for Marvel fans. Unfaithful, annoying and occasionally ridiculous, Ultimate Spider-Man certainly doesn't live up to its name sake.
This whole show is a joke and it never lets you forget it for a second. And it's not even a funny joke. I get that it's aimed at a younger audience, but so is Ben 10 and Iron Man: Armored Adventures, and you can tell with both those shows that someone behind the scenes pours his heart into making them. Ultimate Spider-Man reeks of design-by-committee cynical pandering. It's anything for a laugh and screw all else. They even steal Family Guy's cut-aways, but the result is cringe inducing. Nobody making this thing gives a damn about it, and that's sad because the world is full of Spidey fans who'd love to do it right.
This show is an insult to hardcore Spider-man fans everywhere. I grew up reading Spider-man comics and watching Spider-man cartoons and the not- so-bad Toby McGuire Spider-man movies and I have to say that this is the absolute worst representation of the character that you'll ever see. Ever. I liked Spider-man as a kid because he was a dynamic character. His life experiences was what made this character so realistic and this is the undeniable reason why I, along with millions of other fans worldwide identified with him. He experienced tragedy very early in his life losing both parents and later in his sensitive teenage years, losing a great father figure and his leading guardian, Uncle Ben. Before he died Uncle Ben left words of wisdom with Peter: "With great power comes great responsibility" which along with the circumstances surrounding Uncle Ben's death prompted Peter to become the hero known as Spider-man. Now aside from the powers Peter gained from being bitten by the radioactive spider, he had been known to be very intelligent and had a keen interest in the sciences. Now this is where I begin to outline how disgusted I am with the portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-man in USM. For one, in USM Peter is portrayed as the total opposite of the Peter I admired as a kid. USM's Peter Parker is childish, immature, irresponsible and no where near intelligent. Aunt May is shown to be younger and livelier, which I would have liked if not for the fact that Aunt May's fragile state was what made Peter the caring person he is and that it added reason to the fact of him having to hide his secret identity to protect her. I have no problem with having other heroes making cameos once in a while, but having other young, immature, irresponsible heroes share constant screen time with him is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention how distasteful the teenage version of Iron Fist, Luke Cage, White Tiger and Nova are and the almost irreparable damage they do to the characters' image. To make things even worse,are those horribly unfunny excuses for cutaway gags and "jokes". Family Guy is the only successful series to pull it off and this is so for a reason . Family Guy is all about funny cut-away gags and jabs at celebrities. Yet another horrible fact of USM is that iconic spider-man villains and their origins are treated with rampant disregard and irreverence such as the USM crappy re-imagining of one of spider-man's greatest foe, Venom. And look at Doc Ock. It seems they are on a mission to destroy their best characters' image. I honestly cannot begin to understand why they would discontinue a solid series as Spectacular Spider-man for this pile of garbage. It doesn't even come close to Spider-man the Animated series. I wouldn't let my dog watch this crap. This is similar to what they did to Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes which was, in my opinion, one of the greatest super hero TV shows ever. Not even Justice League Unlimited came close. They cancelled that as well in favor of the circus that is Avengers Assemble(BTW they actually had a circus episode that brought our favorite heroes to new lows). The difference is that AA is actually watchable. Yet another great series to be cancelled was Wolverine and the X-men. The best X-men cartoon ever. But I guess it was too highly rated for Marvel's liking so they did what they knew best, they cancelled it. To make things worse for hardcore Marvel fans, I hear there is a new X-men animated series in the works that will be along the lines of AA and USM. Marvel fans, we have to do something. We can't let this happen. I've already seen my childhood hero become an unfunny clown and I've also a doll collecting Hulk. If we don't do anything we're probably going to see a cross-dressing Wolverine, and trust me that won't be pretty in any sense of the word.
Ultimate Spider-Man is best seen whenever it's taking itself seriously,
the whole problem, is that it is NOT.
Some people have already compared this to Deadpool, and while I'm not a comic book fan or even watching most of the adaptations on TV, I can totally see how this comparison is spot-on.
Spider-Man just acts as a goofball most of the damn time, his character is supposed to be likable, but even the partners do a better job at it.
Speaking of the partners, it makes you wonder why it isn't called "Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends 2", without the campy feel of the first.
Spider-Man from 1995 was watchable by adults and children alike, this is barely even watchable from the point-of-view of a 20 year old guy, this show is clearly meant for teenagers, but it is too shallow to appeal adults.
It pains me to write this, but even Unlimited Spider-Man which was 13 episodes long and ending up with a cliffhanger has more appeal to me, at least if the plot was... different, it had a serious tone and a refreshing theme. (for the Spider-Man series at least)
There is more ; Ultimate Spider-Man the TV Series, DOES NOT resembles its comic book counterpart nor its video game counterpart, it is clearly another product.
So why is it called "Ultimate Spider-Man" if it's not based on the comic book ? Why is it that the character Spider-Man became a spoof ? The answer is : to appeal to a wider audience.
That's sad, but it could have been much better had they not tried to make Spider-Man more "family friendly", the animation is good, the story is okay, but half of the lines are cringe-inducing and it is just... not the Spider-Man that we know.
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