Saturday, March 8, 2008

Spectacular Spiderman

Today is the big day… The premiere of the new Spidey Cartoon: Spectacular Spiderman. Two episodes were aired this morning to reel in the kiddies… *ahem*…and others. Essentially, what we have here is Spiderman done ala DC’s animated shows especially the most recent version of The Batman (which is currently running on the same network). It has that similar hybrid anime/western look with that “sort of” big eyes and exaggerated body shapes style found in Teen Titans. It’s very contemporary in tone (as it should be) as cell phones and interracial dating appear but Spectacular Spiderman also takes us back to early in Peter Parker’s career only a few months after he has received his powers and that’s a good thing because we certainly don’t want to relive Spidey’s origin again.

…the new animated series picks up the original web-slinger's mythology at the beginning of his hero's journey, as a 16-year-old entering his junior year of high school. Having spent the summer engaging common criminals with his new-found powers, Peter Parker must conceal his secret identity while engaging a new level of terror - the multi-leveled pressures of teenage life at home and school while combating bigger, badder super-villains in the real world like Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Venom, and many more.
(from wikipedia)

I’m not particularly interested in the teen angst presented in the show but I have to admit for a cartoon, it’s well done and is mostly in keeping with spirit of the original comics. Not being a kid, I’m more attracted to Betty Brant and what’s happening at the Daily Bugle which only appears briefly in the first episode. The series does seem to be darker in tone than any other versions of Spiderman that have been on TV but that just might be because the animation style is the same as Batman’s. Regardless, a well-adjusted, sunny Peter Parker offsets any gloominess, and lets the zingers fly when fighting the villains. I have a few issues with some aspects of the design of Spectacular Spiderman, but folks that enjoy the half anime, half WB look will greatly enjoy it I think. It’s certainly better than the lame CG Spiderman they did in 2003. It’s a fresh start, so why not a fresh look. Marvel’s going for a franchise reboot with this show and it looks like they’ve succeeded.

What I liked in no particular order (spoilers):

Some of the scenes borrow many visual details of from the movie without directly relating to the films.

The Osborns have their red hair back.

Mary Jane Watson is nowhere to be seen in the first few episodes and is sure to be introduced later like she was in the original comic books.

The animation is very smooth… like it’s never been before in a Spiderman Cartoon.

Peter’s spider bite happened at Doc Conner’s lab. That helps speed up the plot without being hackneyed.

Aunt May looks like a hippy grandma and that seems to work well for this day and age.

Webshooters are back! Yes!

Interracial dating? This is a your modern Spiderman.

Peter wasn’t able to get a job at the Daily Bugle during the first two episodes, the plot is building.

Cell phones are used to funny affect during the show. My SO even laughed.

The show appears to have well-planned story arcs, that has certain appeal for a comic guy like me.

I like the little underarm web wings.

It's really nice having a superhero in a cartoon that doesn't look like he's on steroids.

What I didn’t like in no particular order (spoilers):

Gwen Stacy is the Beautiful-Ugly girl… …sigh

The villains have totally new costumes. I know some of the old outfits look dated but did they have to get rid of them completely?

What the heck is up with Peter’s nose?!

Peter seems a little too happy for a kid that’s indirectly responsible for his uncle’s murder… or is he? Since the origin is skipped we don’t know for sure at this point.

Spiderman’s Eyes on his mask change with his emotions, ah NO! Plus, they are a little too big for me. I like the mask’s older look.

Missed opportunities:

Now having the 16yearold Peter getting involved with Betty at the Bugle would be a real shocker… OK that’s just wrong, sorry…




pidomon said...

I'll have to add it to the DVR.
I missed yesterdays shows but am willing to give it a chance.

Arkonbey said...

Hey! They brought back The Vulture! Sweet!

And those web-wings are so old school!

What do you mean by Gwen S. being the Beautiful-Ugly Girl?

Dean Wormer said...

Seconded arkonbey.

One of the things I liked about it was that it sort of followed the comic in that he fought the vulture right out of the starting gate.

Doctor Smoke said...

looks cute.

but... dare I say it?
*tinyvoice*I'm kind of sick of spider-man?*tinyvoice*

please don't lynch me?

Swinebread said...

Pidomon – I think it would be easy to pick up at this point

Arkonbey – The update on the Vulture’s costume is cool but I’m glad they left him an old man unlike the 90s cartoon and the web wings hip man!

Beautiful-Ugly Girl, they are playing her as the nerdy friend of peter. She is obviously good looking but Peter doesn’t notice because of her fake ugly, glasses etc.

Dean – It’s new but it will still have some of the timeline from the comics… …sorta.

Doc S – No big deal, with the movies I can understand the overload. I’d like to see some lesser characters too. Luckily I like Spiderman, I’m not as much of a fan of DC’s cartoons. So I’m glad there is a new Marvel one now. if its successful then maybe we can get more obscure characters animated.

Arkonbey said...

Beautiful-Ugly Girl: Oh. I get it. Girls with glasses are all ugly! It's the Diana Prince Syndrome (related to the Clark Kent Phenomenon).

The total missing point is if a girl that hangs around with him is even slightly attractive, a teenage boy will notice her. Especially if he is a teenage nerd.

Swinebread said...


Stephen said...

i liked the show more than i was expecting too. the theme song is awesome. i really enjoyed their redesign of electro it was really cool looking and they really made him a sympathetic character. it is perhaps the only time i've found him interesting. also wasn't eddie brock just fantastic, putiing him in peters life early on. he seems like a really nice and cool guy and i'm kind of sad to know he's eventually going to hate parker

Swinebread said...

having Brock in at the beginning makes he motivations ring truer

Unknown said...