Monday, April 2, 2012
Ultimate Spider-Man Premiere Review/Editorial
Spider-Man is one of the greatest superheroes ever created. He ranks in popularity along with Superman and Batman. There have been quite a few shows with the Wall-Crawler, dating back to the 60's. It wasn't until 1994 when he got what is known as his greatest TV outing ever. The famous Animated Series is still being watched today. I remember years ago when they use to air the marathons on Saturday mornings, good times. I grew up watching the show, it's one of the prime factors of why I'm a fan of the character. It put story ahead of the action. Then on March 8th, 2008, the now-canceled Spectacular Spider-Man aired. I gotta be honest, I think the show is a little overrated, and this is coming from a longtime fan of the character. It had some good stories, but the overall tone was just too kiddish for my taste, and the animation was awful. A lot of fans were sad when it was canceled, I personally was ready for a new show. The thing about this show is that it's being produced by Marvel from the ground up. It would be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (So cameos by the Avengers? YES.) I remember being really excited when the first teaser was released, it looked to bring back everything the 90's show had. Then slowly more clips were released, the tone had changed. It looked to be a comedy. My expectations dwindled a bit, I really didn't know what to fully expect. After watching the premiere, I can safely that this is one of the most enjoyable shows currently on television.
You know how this show is constantly being compared to Batman: the Brave and the Bold? There are some similarities, but it IS different. (AKA, better.) There's just something about this show that makes it extremely fun and enjoyable. I technically shouldn't like some of the goofiness, such as Spidey going on a motorcycle and not knowing how to stop it, but a lot of it is genuinely funny. I also like how Spidey is portrayed, surprisingly. His dialogue in Spectacular I felt was never that great, here the writing is pretty strong and, well, funny. I also like how Spidey's powers are used, there are some really clever occurrences. (The scene in the school where he wisely used a table comes to mind.) I also like how his intelligence is used in combat, specifically in a scene with the Wizard using 'air hostages.' Really, I'm liking the way Spidey is being portrayed. And with a great voice (Drake Bell) to match, this TV show version of Spidey is right up there next to the 90's one. (Not quite up to that standard, but not a bad runner-up.)
This show is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What is the extent of that you ask? Well, how about Nick Fury AND Agent Coulson? That's right, it's pretty awesome and pretty funny at the same time. This Nick Fury matches his movie counterpart perfectly. (Just missing Sam Jackson's voice.) Agent Couslon looks to be a humorous part of the cast thanks to the funny plot twist at the end. People may not like some of the new versions of the characters. For example, this version of Aunt May is a hipster (I probably should find a better term) who does yoga AND beats Peter at video games. It's a different change of pace than the frail senior citizen we're used to. Norman Osborn and Harry Osborn remain pretty much the same as past incarnations, not a fan of either's design, too generic looking. Doc Ock's new design looks interesting from the few glimpses we get. Mary Jane wants to work for J. Jonah Jameson, now that's interesting.
I must say that the beginning of the first episode was perfect. JJJ (with J. K. Simmons as his voice, excellent choice) saying how Spider-Man's a menace and the latter narrating was just a perfect start. This show is definitely different, and I mean different. Whenever a new, major character appears, the screen turns to him with Spidey narrating who he is. And sometimes in fight, there's thhat 'TWAK!" and 'POW" words when Spidey punches or kicks someone. (Another similarity to the Brave and the Bold.) However, this is not a team-up show, this is still a Spidey-centric show. There's a story, but the show is all over the place. There really isn't a set 'arc' yet, but that's to be expected since it's just starting. One of the fun things about this show is the inclusion of other heroes. Here we have Iron Fist, Luk-I mean Power Man, White Tiger, and Nova. First of all, I just want to say that I can't stand when they turn a character younger to 'relate' to the audience or whatever logic they have. With that said, they were better than what I expected. I especially liked Luk-I mean Power Man. (I love how they made fun of the whole 'Luke Cage Power Man' thing.) I look forward to seeing more of these characters in the show. I love the in-jokes only Spidey fans can get. I laughed hard at the part where he said, "This is the part where I write my friendly neighborhood note, do you have a pen I can borrow?" (Then there's a jab at Amazing, saying how being Ultimate is better. Only comic fans would get that one. Also, the animation is top notch. Unlike the strange animation of Spectacular, this one is more traditional and akin to the 90's show. Spidey looks great, the animation is just top notch.
Overall, some may dislike this new series, some may even hate it. I on the hand had a blast watching it. (Remember, this is coming from a HUGE fan of the character, and of the 90's show.) Sometimes the tone could get a little TOO goofy for my tastes, but it's just so darn fun and enjoyable. Spidey has never been more of a great, humorous focus. This is a different kind of Spider-Man show, one that doesn't take itself too seriously. I really technically shouldn't like when something's like that, but there's something about this show that keeps me invested. It's Spider-Man, it's funny, it's superhero action with top notch animation. It is a good day to be a Spider-Man fan.