This adventure finds our hero tackling more Super Villains both old and new, including Chameleon, Venom and the Sinister Six: Electro, Doctor Octopus, Vulture, Sandman, Rhino and Shocker. While these criminals are almost m... more »ore than Spidey can handle, his real struggle becomes an internal one. The stress is enough to drive a high school Super Hero over the edge, but making mistakes and learning lessons is all in a days work for the Spectacular Spider-Man!« less
Suzette H. from CHASE, MD Reviewed on 10/20/2010...
My grandson who is 8 year old absolutely loved it. You would think that I just gave him his favorite present from Santa.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
A generally spectacular debut, though with some flaws.
S. Curley | Charlottetown, PE, Canada | 06/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Spider-Man, one of Marvel's earliest comics characters, has been the backbone of Marvel's animated efforts almost since the beginning. Though starting later than other 1960s animated series, the 60s Spider-Man is the only one of those shows that anyone really remembers (in great part because of the theme song). A number of others followed, most notably "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" in the 1980s and the 1990s show (the one that I myself grew up with). Following the latter show's end in 1998, Spidey animation went into a bit of a rut, with the outright bizarre "Spider-Man Unlimited" and the MTV "Spider-Man" faiing to capture the magic. This is the first season (13 episodes) the latest very successful effort, overseen by Greg Weisman, the visionary creator of "Gargoyles", one of the classics of 1990s children's animation. Spoilers follow.
In a departure from previous media adaptations that immediately gives the series something distinctive to operate with, Weisman chooses to set the series during Spider-Man's high school years. The most notable previous versions were set during his young adulthood (in university, for example, in the 90s show). For the main cast of students, Weisman draws on both the cast of the actual high school era in the comics (1962-65) (Liz Allan, Flash Thompson) and various characters from the subsequent John Romita era in college (Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson); the adult cast is a kaleidoscope from every era in comics. Minor characters abound, and, indeed, Weisman has boasted that every character is from the comics (though, in several cases, that just amounts to pasting a character name on top of an unrelated concept). All the regulars are present, though not all of them from the start.
The season is structured quite elaborately (and masterfully), mixing the qualities of a standalone episode, a mini-arc, and a season-long arc. Most episodes will introduce at least one new villain (most of them having appeared previously in their civilian guise). Among those featured: Doctor Octopus, the Vulture, the Rhino, the Shocker, and the Sandman. Behind the scenes, major figures jostle for control of the New York underworld, originally controlled by the mysterious Big Man (who, thanks to "Daredevil" licensing, is not who long-time fans will expect him to be).
Our lead, Spider-Man, voiced by Josh Keaton, is rendered remarkably well. Keaton is at least as good as Christopher Barnes on the 90s show, and he has more realistic dialogue (much less in the style of the suffocating narration of 1960s comics). Peter is an extremely relatable character, something that is the goal of all versions of the character; he learns lessons (and, unlike in many cartoons, he doesn't forget them in time for the next episode), but not in a cloying way. The supporting cast is generally excellent (Daran Norris is perhaps a bit too manic as JJJ; I prefer Ed Asner's 90s version; Alanna Ubach as the now-Puerto Rican Liz Allan takes some time to nail down exactly what sort of accent the character has), with standouts including Peter MacNicol as Doctor Octopus, Joshua LeBar as Flash, and Alan Rachins as Norman Osborn.
So, with all this said, why, you ask, is it only rated four of five? The answer is three words: Eddie Brock/Venom. This is the only area in which the series falls flat on its face, disappointingly so given both its track record and the 90s Venom. Eddie Brock is introduced in this version of the show as Peter's close friend, now working as a lab assistan to Dr. Curt Connors. For much of the season, the show spends quite a bit of time giving Eddie legitimate misunderstandings about Peter's behaviour (generally caused by his activities as Spider-Man), things leading to a break with his former friend. Then, in the final episodes, Eddie's personality changes completely, becoming a proto-supervillain before even getting the symbiote. Eddie and the character of Venom just collapse under the weight of Eddie's nonsensical motivation. Jarring, given how even the thugs like Rhino are handled better. Disappointing, because Venom's actual fight scenes, like all such scenes on this show, are well-done, and the plot preceding it with Peter getting the symbiote and having his personality warped, are extremely well-done. Had Eddie made more sense, this might have been the definitive version of the Venom story, but the 90s show's version (from which both this and "Spider-Man 3" draw much) still holds that title. The problem, I guess, results from Weisman aiming to take Brock as a character to a more personal level, but falling short; the core of Brock's character, his refusal to take responsibility for the consequences of his own actions, is lost.
This is not, by any means, a deal-breaking flaw. This remains the finest superhero animation in quite a while, one highly recommended (and the second season is even better). I'm glad that Sony has given us proper DVD sets, though only after doing the expected ripoff releases with smaller DVDs."
Reconnecting To My Childhood | 07/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 2-Disc DVD set will collect the complete first season of The Spectacular Spider-Man. Episodes will be in Widescreen Anamorphic Video with Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound. The first season is made up of the following 13 episodes:
Episode 1 - Aired: 3/8/2008 Survival of the Fittest An elderly scientist named Adrian Toomes plans his revenge against Norman Osborn after accusing him of stealing his flying technology. Donning his own flying suit, Toomes takes to the skies to enact his revenge and it's up to Spider-Man to stop him. Peter is concerned that Aunt May is running out of money. He tries to make money for the two by making a deal with J. Jonas Jameson that if Peter can get pictures of Spider-Man in action, Jameson will pay Peter money.
Episode 2 - Aired: 3/8/2008 Interactions An electrician named Max Dillon becomes the supervillain known as Electro after a freak accident and it's up to the Spectacular Spider-Man to stop his rampage. Meanwhile, Peter tries to tutor the popular Liz Allen.
Episode 3 - Aired: 3/15/2008 Natural Selection Peter Parker and Spider-Man both must learn to own their choices when decisions made by Dr. Curt Connors transforms Pete's mentor into The Lizard.
Episode 4 - Aired: 3/22/2008 Market Forces Peter Parker has to choose between helping Aunt May pay the bills or buying a camera to further his career. Meanwhile, Montana (the Big Man's Enforcer) becomes the stunning Shocker to fulfill his responsibility: eliminating the Spectacular Spider-Man.
Episode 5 - Aired: 3/29/2008 Competition Peter Parker and Harry Osborn try out for the football team and become a little obsessed with going for the glory. Flint Marko, newly transformed into the Sandman, is out for glory too- at the expense of our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man!
Episode 6 - Aired: 4/12/2008 The Invisible Hand Flint Marko's former partner, Alex O'Hirn, becomes the Rhino.
Episode 7 - Aired: 4/26/2008 Catalysts Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson go to the Midtown High Fall Formal. Meanwhile, the Green Goblin tries to take down L. Thompson Lincoln.
Episode 8 - Aired: 5/3/2008 Reaction Tired of constantly being pushed around by others, the timid Otto Octavius has his robotic arms permanently attached to his back and becomes the deadly Doctor Octopus.
Episode 9 - Aired: 5/10/2008 The Uncertainty Principle Spider-Man is pitted against the Green Goblin and Tombstone, while Colonel John Jameson attempts to land a damaged space shuttle.
Episode 10 - Aired: 5/17/2008 Persona The Chameleon is out to blacken Spider-Man's name. The master of disguise loots the city while borrowing Spidey's look, forcing Peter Parker to get help from Black Cat.
Episode 11 - Aired: 5/31/2008 Group Therapy Six of Spidey's toughest enemies band together to get revenge, as the Sinister Six!
Episode 12 - Aired: 6/7/2008 Intervention Spider-Man realizes the alien suit is ruining his life and tries to get rid of it. Unfortunately, it has grown too attached to Peter, and doesn't plan on leaving him.
Episode 13 - Aired: 6/14/2008 Nature vs. Nurture With Aunt May out of the hospital, Thanksgiving coming and the alien suit gone, Peter's life is finally getting better. However, the Symbiote has survived and found a host within the vengeful Eddie Brock. Now Spider-Man must face this monster, named Venom, a creature that knows everything about him and will stop at nothing to get revenge.
Special Features said to be included in this set are so far two featurette's, Spider-man: Reanimated Stylizing Spidey
This is a very interesting and well done animated series take on Spider-man, my only personal issues with it were already mentioned by another reviewer who noted the mishandling of the character Eddie Brock. Previously he had been in competition with Peter Parker to get photo's of Spider-man which lead to his eventual hatred of the two when he continually failed. Here they try to make him a friend to Peter and rather than have them share the commonality of being young photographers they make him a lab assistant. In the end this first season works well overall though and should please any spidey fans."
Great show for all ages
Jose Contreras | cali | 08/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best series of spider-man a must have for any fan, buy the season to support for a 3rd season. great animation, story and just fun all around"
zuzu | 12/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bought this for my 5 yr old. This is the only spiderman I will let him watch. Does have violence - fighting and such - but no shooting. No one dies. Some scenes seem to me a little scary - but by far - the only spiderman suitable for his age. And now I have to get season 2 just to see what happens next!"
A modern synthesis of old and new, with a Spider-Man wise fa
trebe | 03/05/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's kind of hard to believe, but Spider-Man has been around for nearly fifty years. The character has been the subject of feature films, television, and several animated series. This new take on the webslinger, features Spidey as a relative newcomer to the superhero scene, as a sixteen year old Peter Parker is living in Forrest Hills with his Aunt May.
The Spectacular Spider-Man is very modern, but reflects aspects from the character's early comic genesis, and has a more traditional flavor than Sam Raimi's films, or 2003's Spider-Man the New Animated Series. Little touches like the Spidey signal, the split Parker/Spidey view, and the overshadowing web background across the sky, pay homage to traditions from the comics. Peter pursuing Betty Brant, and Mary Jane Watson the neighbor with `personality', are also true to the comics, but Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn are introduced early in the chronology, making them contemporaries with Flash Thompson and Liz Allan. Incorporated into the stories are the Parker's financial woes, Aunt May's health, and Peter's troubles with girls and his peer group. Peter's personality seems to be in line with the comics. Because he is not accepted, and is the subject of ridicule from the in-crowd, like a dog that is kicked, Peter often reacts out of hurt or anger. He is not a shy, uncoordinated, wimp.
The stories often feature the introduction of various classic villains, in their initial encounter with Spider-Man. Here the episodes parts ways with the traditional Marvel Universe, as the cartoon incorporates arcs involving conspiracies, that result in the creation of The Sandman, The Rhino, and even Dr. Octopus. The Enforcers, are the main muscle for the mysterious Big Man, a criminal mastermind, who also has an association with Tombstone, and Norman Osborn. Osborn is very with many schemes, and also makes an appearance as the Green Goblin. The Shocker is an impressive and skillful fighter, but Electro is given a major makeover, that is a disaster. Doc Ock's somewhat passive personality, and poorly animated appearance, is another disappointment. Peter Parker's involvement with Curt Connors, makes an appearance by The Lizard is almost obligatory.
Spider-Man quickly progresses from a wisecracking teenager, to an awesome fighting machine. In `Group Therapy' he takes on a deadly version of The Sinister Six (Doc Ock, Sandman, Shocker, Rhino, Vulture, and Electro) and emerges victorious, after displaying mind-bending fighting skills. Most of these villains are from the same era, the first sixty or so issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, published in the mid 1960's. But in a bold step, the series jumps ahead almost twenty years, to also include the alien symbiote, Eddie Brock, and Venom. This appearance so early in Peter Parker's life, crosses eras and requires some major massaging to bring Brock into an unfamiliar timeline, to introduce Venom. It is a very unconventional, and perhaps controversial. The emotional intensity increases, surreal elements are introduced, and some furious fighting takes place, leading to an exciting and dramatic conclusion, to what is a sensational first season.
The producers' lofty goal, is for The Spectacular Spider-Man to become a classic representation of the character. Time will tell regarding that matter, but the series does show promise, and deserves credit for attempting to incorporate many elements from the original Marvel Universe. The animation is high quality, hand drawn by artists in Korea. It features cool settings, and does a very good job of capturing movements, particularly in some impressive fight scenes. With stylized characters with anatomically exaggerated looks, soft facial features, and some with voices that sound childlike, the cartoon is aimed at a younger crowd.
The amount of violence is very high. Harry Osborn's foray into substance abuse is somewhat premature, and is an element that is not suitable for young kids. Overall, the writing is quite good, focusing on incorporating mostly traditional elements and characters. Peter is finding his way in the romance department, and does not have a have a steady girlfriend, but most of the other significant relationships, like Peter and Flash, Norman and Harry Osborn, Peter and JJ, and Peter and Aunt May, seem to be on the right track. Not everything the writers come up with works well, in battle, Spidey has always been something of a trash talker, but it is way overdone here.
In Nature vs. Nurture, the spirit of Uncle Ben appears, and amazingly Peter is able to discern the precise nature of the alien symbiote. Peter often demonstrates incredible intelligence and wit, far beyond his sixteen years, but this is a bit much. Brock's backstory of how his parents and Peter's parents both perished in the same accident, tarnishes the memory of Peter's parents, Richard and Mary Parker. In The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5, Peter learns that parents died in Algeria in 1949, suspected of being traitors to America, and Spider-Man investigates, battles Red Skull, and vindicates them. With World War II over sixty years in the past, it's understandable, that the original story would not work, but was it necessary to use Peter's parents as so much plot fodder?
The two DVD set contains thirteen episodes, and two short bonus featurettes. Although aimed at a younger demographic, this animated feature is definitely recommended to Spidey fans of all ages."