These are my thoughts after the first three episodes they've shown thus far. I'd like to say it's too early to tell, but so far It's a fairly ok Spider-Man cartoon but a pretty poor Ultimate Spiderman cartoon.
If you don't know the story already, Peter Parker gets bit by a radioactive spider and gets super duper spider powers. This is suppose to take place in the Ultimate Universe™, in which he's still in High School when all the crazy supervillains hit. In this new cartoon, Nick Furry has recruited Spidey to get special S.H.I.E.L.D. training and lead a team of teenage superheroes similar to himself including Nova, Power Man, Iron Fist, and White Tiger.
Let me state right off the bat that I am probably not the target audience for this. I'm guessing they're going for that younger kids to teen demographic with a lighter sillier Spider-Man cartoon. They've obviously taken cues from the Teen Titans series from a few years back, but like an ametuer artist copying manga for the first time, they worry too much about the surface detail without capturing any of the underlying form. Every five seconds, even mid-fight, Spidey has to cut away for some cutesy unfunny bobble-headed animation explaining something that doesn't need to be explained. It's very goofy(or really annoying) and for a kids cartoon, it's not bad. Nothing like Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but it's passable. But it's the Ultimate part of Ultimate Spider-Man I have issue with.
|Power Man is obviously the big bruiser, funny and medium height. He's basically Cyborg from Teen Titans. I generally like Power Man in the cartoon. And they obviously need to make a Power Man/Iron Fist spinoff show.|
Ok, not absolutely nothing. The designs for Peter Parker, Nick Fury, Aunt May and Harry Osborn are still intact. He still goes to Midtown High, and it's true they were exploring giving Spidey S.H.I.E.L.D. lessons(from Captain America no less) when they decided(SPOILER ALERT IF YOU'VE BEEN HIDING UNDER A ROCK) to abruptly kill him off in the comic run.(END SPOILER ALERT) And granted, I wanted to see that story line when it was cut down before it could even start. But this in no way feels like the Ultimate Spiderman I know and love.
|Iron Fist I made taller and slimmer, because he is the strong silent type. He stays quiet, rarely gets angry, and only opens his mouth to spout some words of wisdom. If you look at a lot of characters, the taller you get,t he more tranquil you are.|
And this is Spider-Man, who's whole schtick is inner-monologue! Peter Parker is a kid genius who invented web-shooters and worries waaaay too much about adult things he's not old enough to worry about yet. But cartoony Ultimate Peter Parker is cocky, and just wants to goof around. He's a kid being a kid, there's no conflict there. And if you want to make Spidey a fun-loving kid in a goofy cartoon, that's fine, but the main theme of Ultimate Spider-Man(or what I personally got gleaned from it) is that Pete is a kid struggling to be an adult in a grown-up world. This almost feels like pre-Uncle-Ben's-death Spdier-Man.
Heck, he doesn't even LOOK like Ultimate Spiderman. Instead of going with the elongated cartoony look(which I've always been a fan of) they chose to go for a much blander and realistic look. He has the basic features of the Ultimate Peter's face and the bare minimum of the Spider-Man costume, but there's no contrast, no detail, no definition, no emotion. Spider-Man is a tiny kid who's fast and agile, and he should look it. He's still in high school, and he should look a little runty. This looks like any average guy could be under his costume. Y'know what this reminds me of strangely? The costume from Spider-Man Unlimited, the bland before one.
|Anyone remember that show? Seriously tell me the difference.|
"And this is Luke Ca-"
"If he's gonna be Spider-Man, I wanna be called Power Man!"
Honestly great way of explaining a taboo from the older comics era.
They've barely touched on anything in the Ultimate Spider-man universe. Mostly they've been focusing on the Avengers stuff(gee I wonder why), such as Nick Fury, the Helicarrier, and Dr. Doom. They haven't shown off any classic Spider-Man villains, except for a glimpse at Doc Ock they're surely waiting to reveal in a later episode. I really can't understand why they would pick the Ultimate universe if this was the direction they were going. Why not just repurpose it as the Spidey and his Amazing Friends reboot? Throw in Firestar, Ice-man and the Human Torch for good measure. Or Spidey and the Teen Avengers? That would make more sense.
I'm starting to miss the spectacular cartoon Spectacular Spider-Man. The characters had amazing exaggerated designs, the animation and fight scenes were incredible, and they had a great way of taking pieces of the classic Spider-Man mythos and spinning them(pun intended) into new and fascinating ways. It had this perfect way of making stories funny while giving them weight. Peter was constantly struggling with everything, and was generally worried about real-world problems instead of whining about nothing. Y'know what? Just go watch that.
Oh, and Marvel mash-Ups, FYI, Superhero Memebase called. They want their schtick back.
THE GOOD: Spiderman and his amazing friends! Power Man! Agent Coulson! Iron Fist! It's cool to see heroes that don't get a lot of limelight in mainstream cartoons. Is it too much to hope for A Moon Knight appearance? I'm kind of hoping this spins off into a Marvel Ultimate Alliance-esque videogame. Also, Stan the Man lee as the janitor!
THE BAD: Not Ultimate Spiderman at all. Drake Bell's voice gets annoying after 22 minutes of whining. Very kidsy, super hammy, trying to be Teen Titans without any kind of real substance. Visual designs are boring and lackluster, and for a show that's supposed to have J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah, he barely shows up.
THE VERDICT: I am a die-hard Spider-Fan but I don't know how much more of this I can watch. It's not doing it for me. I'm sure some people, kids especially, will have fun with it, but it's more 60's Spiderman than 90's Spiderman. Here's hoping it improves in later episodes.
SHOWS LIKE IT: Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Superfriends
ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: The last episode had them stealing jets from the Helicarrier(becuase apperently, no one keeps an eye on their jets) to go to Latveria to capture Dr. Doom because Spidey wants to prove he's a better hero than Nova. Part of the reason why I like Spider-Man as a character, and as an extension Peter Parker, is that he's a thinker. He might be headstrong when it comes to protecting the people he cares for, but ever since his Uncle was shot, he knows never to put people in danger or overstep his boundaries for personal gain because, say it with me, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. This not in Spidey's character at all. Why would he think that it would be ok to go into a foreign country and snatch Dr. Doom for no reason? What would be his moral justification for showing up Nova? Peter should be smarter than that. That's not Spider-Man, or at least not the Spider-Man I'd want to watch.