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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)
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 training.
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.
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