Ultimate Spider-Man [2012] Season 1: 26 Episodes

Made for 6th Graders…By 6th Graders?

Ultimate_Spider_man_peter_parker_two thumbs up

Some takes, like the ones on Sleeping Beauty, Wing Commander, and Brisco County Junior are labors of love. This take on Ultimate Spiderman was just labor. This show straddles the borderline of being below the criteria for our attention. The shows schizophrenic nature yields scenes that are definitely way below our criteria, and some that are just barely above.

"I hope you do not mean me."

“I hope you do not mean me.”

An evil dark elf? Hellboy? Man-bat? Huh, it's the Green Goblin? Really?

An evil dark elf? Hellboy? Man-bat? Huh, it’s the Green Goblin? Really?

If you’re looking for show that’s trying to be hip to grammar school boys and their fantasies of heroic action, this is it. The “Peter Parker – average kid” angle is hit very hard. Almost every episode includes the “amusing antics” of his life with aunt May, bullies at school, problems with friends, and generally life balance issues.

Oh no. The Hulk AND Aunt May both get a cold the same day. ANd peter has to nurse them both while they reside in the same house. ...yes, this really was a plot.

Oh no. The Hulk AND Aunt May both get a cold the same day? And Peter has to nurse them both while they reside in the same house? Oh, the hijinks ensue… ugh. (…yes, this really was a plot.)

A schizophrenic season in a sentence? Spiderman is unfathomably recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. and given a Spidey cycle (*cough* toy marketing *cough*) and for some reason groomed to be a leader, even though he’s one of the most solo acts of the Marvel universe, and in that contrived role is forced to team up with a group of multi-cultural teenaged superheroes as they battle super criminals out of their league, come across questionable depictions of established Marvel characters, and bash you over the head with trying to be hip.

"A wise man knows that bashing people over the head is a last resort." Well voiced Iron Fist was one of the few consistently enjoyable characters.

“A wise man knows that bashing people over the head is a last resort.” (Well voiced Iron Fist was one of the few consistently enjoyable characters.)

In contrast, the similarly off-beat Batman the Brave and the Bold started out semi-seriously (in its first 13 episodes) and had just enough good shows and clever writing to appeal broadly. Ultimate Spiderman smashes you in the face with constant cutaways to super deformed versions of characters doing inane things.

What is with that jaw? It is like the roundest one EVAR. Note they did NOT leave it so when he donned the mask.

What’s with that jaw? It’s like the roundest one EVAR. Note they did NOT leave it so when he donned the mask.

That touches upon our chief criticism of the series, it’s constant cutting away out of the narrative. Under the guise of being hip and different, the producers freeze anytime they want in order to fill in plot holes or say something to keep the viewer interested. It can allow the storytelling to become lazy when you know you can always explain something away in such a segment rather than showing it.

"Ah, before you do your crazy Wolverine thing again, can you explain what you are doing here in Times Square, New York City?"

“Ah, before you do your crazy Wolverine thing again, can you explain what you’re doing here in Times Square, New York City?”

This also has the unfortunate side effect of breaking up the action beats and diluting the drama. It does have its fun moments, but this mechanic was overused. Some of the cutaway content also seemed overindulgent. While we may have understood 1950s style “Leave It to Beaver” and 1930s style the “Wizard of Oz” theming for a couple of these segments, we wonder how many sixth-graders did.

One person who would get those references is Stan Lee. He voiced Stan the Janitor.

One person who would get those references is Stan Lee. He voiced Stan the Janitor.

The plots were contrived. And to use a cliche, forcing a leadership role onto high school aged Peter Parker/Spidermen is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The last two episodes, the finale of the season, were particularly filled with forced contrivances with Spiderman telling his team to, “Stay out of this! I need to do it alone.” Please.

MJ, like everyone else in this series, did not listen.

MJ, like everyone else in this series, did not listen.

It was fun seeing Clark Gregg reprise his oft-played role of “Agent Coulson.” Overall, the show had some decent effects, some decent action scenes, and rather standard art direction.

Ultimate_Spider_man_concept01

Marvel Universe Character Depictions Rated:

  • Ironman: Playboy angle overplayed, and not very likable.
  • Hulk: Rather contrived usage.
  • Doctor Doom: Decent effort, but lacking… something.
  • Captain America: Solid and well done.
  • Wolverine: Eh. Kinda one-dimensional. (And out of place!)
Ultimate_Spider_man_wolverine_is nice and patient

“Whoa! Okay, sorry Wolverine. Take it easy. There are nine-year-olds watching.”

We will spare you talk about the “Spider-ham” episode. we may watch next season for casual entertainment, but we doubt, unless it changes greatly, we will be doing any more takes on the series.

Spiderham and THIS guy in the same show?

SpiderHAM and THIS guy in the same series?

Check out some of our other Marvel takes:

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 1

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow [2008]

Hulk Vs Thor [2009]

Thor: Tales of Asgard [2011]

Iron Man (anime) [2011] Season 1

Iron Man: Armored Adventures [2008] Season 1

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4 thoughts on “Ultimate Spider-Man [2012] Season 1: 26 Episodes

  1. yeah, I just started watching this on Netflix this week. i’m torn about it so far (just finished the Hulk episode today). I am not a fan of this team up, though it is nice to see characters we haven’t seen animated before, like Power Man and Iron Fist. Also, the cutaways are too much. At first, I was digging them as something new, but the novelty has worn off. Just think, they canceled Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, to reboot it more in line with the movie and make it more along the same lines of this…ugh!

    If they want to make it more kid friendly, they need go back and look at Spectacular Spider-Man or X-Men: Evolution. Neither was the best, but at least they didn’t insult your intelligence when you watch them

    • Ah, so we are not the only ones tired of the excessive cutaways. Yes, it is a sad point that you make. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was cancelled and we have this.

      The one good point is seeing other Marvel Comics characters animated. But some of the takes on these guys we find less than endearing. For example, we are big Dr. Strange fans, but this incarnation seemed a little… off.

  2. don’t think i’ve gotten to dr. strange, yet. i’ll be afraid…very afraid, though…lol

    i guess there is one thing to say about this, though…its not super hero squad!!!

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