Howdy ladies and gentlemen, I know it’s been a LONG time coming but today I’m finally going to be giving you my review of the ninth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man.
Alrighty then here we are at episode 9 (Field Trip) and after the abysmal episode that was episode 8 (Back in Black) I was really hoping to be impressed with this one instead, mainly because of the guest appearance of one of my favourite Marvel characters, Thor… However even with the addition of Thor and elements of his world, it couldn’t safe the Ultimate Spider-Man from having just another average episode.
So what’s the story this time around. Well it goes a little something like this:
“While on a field trip, Spider-Man and his superhero friends encounter the mighty Thor, who is transformed into a frog by his mischievous half-brother Loki. Now, the heroes must venture to the magical world of Asgard in order to save the nine realms from Loki’s wrath.”
The story in this episode wasn’t half bad, but with the additional material that had to work with in regards to Thor, Loki and Asgard the writers could have done so much better. At first I hated how this episode started out, with Peter complaining about field trips because he keeps getting bitten by different animals on each one, then cue the visual gags to represent what he means. It was just ridiculous especially when there was the visual gag about the radioactive goat-man. Again it’s that poor and simplistic humour that really isn’t all that funny and it annoys me, but if you’ve been reading my reviews on this show then you already know what I’m on about. The story moved at decent pace though it started to move strangely after Thor brought the team into Asgard and dealt with Loki. It really is down to the writing that makes this show suffer and it doesn’t really improve here. After Thor gets turned into a frog for the majority of the episode so many frog jokes are told and they all suck!
The Ultimate Spider-Man seems to thrive on making jokes at any given moment, whether they be visual gags or verbal ones with horribly cheesy sound effects found in slapstick cartoons and when they are used in this show they are not funny. THEY ARE NOT FUNNY!.. Unless you are a child watching cartoons for the first time. But besides the jokes, the writing is the thing that really breaks this show, the stories are never overly compelling, they never challenge the viewers perception of anything. The show really is aimed at young kids, that’s their true demographic and in that regards this show may succeed with them. But with the way things are going at the moment, the creators of this show are seriously alienating a lot of their fan base by not including the quality found in the previous Spider-Man show or the currently airing show, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
When it come to the characters, oh goodness gracious. How can Spidey, Nova, White Tiger, Power Man and Iron Fist still be so detached and uncoordinated. Its like this show likes to develop their characters only a little bit only to undo their own work a few episodes later. What I mean by that is that the team still hasn’t solidified yet, they don’t act like a unit and they still bicker like little kids, most notably Spidey and Nova, again! It’s been 9 episodes already, you’d think their would be some character development and the team would have some form of strategy when they fight. But no, they are almost as useless together as they were when the series started. It’s tragic really. Peter/Spidey is still lame as ever, with cheap jokes, no logic and no nods to his scientific genius (like the comics imply!), and the rest of the team are just annoying or just there for show. Oh and speaking of the team, when will Power Man and Iron Fist ever get some proper screen time in this show, they are part of the team right? So how comes both Nova and White Tiger have their own main episodes with Peter, but the other two haven’t? Do the creators of this show just not like Power Man and Iron Fist that much?
Anyway now let’s talk about the guest appearances from Thor and Loki. While they were technically a good representation of their comic book counterparts, both characters felt like they were lacking. Thor had all of his strength and bravado, but I didn’t like how he was so absurdly arrogant in this episode, he just seem to come across as a bit of a douche at times coz of his pride and big-headed nature. I thought he would have learnt his lesson in humility long before meeting this team, but I guess that’s why he was turned into a frog in the first place. As for Loki he was okay, I didn’t get that evil vibe from him, he just seemed like a generic bad guy who you knew was gonna get his comeuppance at the end of the episode.
So when all else fails with the story and characters it’s normally down to the presentation of the show to save the day and as usual its the best part of the Ultimate Spider-Man. The art and animation looked good for the most part and the fight scenes were decent especially after the team got their fancy new weapons from Eitri the Dwarf King. Though the action sequences still never have any stand-out moments and the fighting choreography between the team still lacks quality, style and most importantly creativity (something the Spectacular Spider-Man excelled in). The character designs for Thor and Loki looked decent enough, though their overall design looked a tad bland and lacking in detail, both of them looked much better in The Avengers: EHM. Costume-wise Thor’s looked similar to the comics thought I found Loki’s costume looked similar to the one worn by Tom Hiddleston in the live-action version of Thor & The Avengers (which I thought was a nice touch). Also the frost giants looked okay but like Thor the seemed to come across as a bit bland too.
In conclusion this episode was a cut above the last one, but not by much. The core team hasn’t bonded yet, Thor and his realm of things didn’t add much spice to the basic formula the humour is still weak. Again you as the readers may be asking yourselves “Why is he watching a series he clearly doesn’t like?” And as I said before in one of my previous episode reviews the only reason I watch this show is because it’s Spider-Man and some part of me what’s this stupid show to actually be good, to improve and be a show worthy of the name Spider-Man! However so far it still seems to be content with basic, conventional stories, dull characters and dialogue and having nothing smart or intelligent that challenge the viewers like Marvel’s other current and far superior show The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.