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QUICK REVIEW: Ultimate Spider-Man Season 2

Howdy people, I’m back once agin with a TV review and after two years since my last review on this show, I’m back talking about Ultimate Spider-Man season 2. Now back in 2014 I was watching this show and I dunno why it’s taken me so long to get back to this show, but since I’ve had a bit more free time over the last month I decided to plough through the season and today I want to share my thoughts.

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So let’s get this out of the way first, I’m not the biggest fan of this show, but season 1 had small, and I mean SMALL glimmers of potential for future episodes. And the thing about Ultimate Spider-Man is that with season 2 is that it’s not bad, but not great. With the first season it was a struggle but now with this season the viewing experience was a little more tolerable.

So here’s the pros of season 2:

  1. The show makes attempts at character development
  2. The show also tries to have emotional impact rather than focusing on humour all the time
  3. Interesting character cameos
  4. The amount of references to the comics for fans is pretty good

But for all the improvements there are cons and here they are:

  1. All of the issues from the last season carry over into this season (horrible cut away jokes, bad character development, etc.)
  2. Pointless episodic adventures
  3. Lackluster fight sequences
  4. Weak and repetitive villains

Best episodes:

  • Journey of the Iron Fist
  • The Parent Trap
  • Blade & Hollowing Commandos (two-part episode)
  • Sandman Returns

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Just to expand upon the points I made above, USM season 2 does make an attempt to tell some more meaningful stories and has a better focus on Peter Parker’s solo adventures as Spidey or his interesting team ups with some other Marvel heroes. The relationship he has with his team is better and the development made between him and Luke Cage and Iron Fist was great. Also the show still looks pretty good with its art direction and animation, but that’s more or less solid. Oh and finally I liked how some of the story elements from last season carried over to this one and how some episodes came in two parts. That being said, this show is still infuriating with its use of poor humour which is bottom-of-the-barrel, silly, juvenile and comes at the worst times especially when it comes to certain serious moments. The use of villains were poor imitations of their comic book counterparts, some are poorly integrated while others pose no real threat some are used far too often without room for other villains to make an impression. But what really pisses me off about this show is the same reason I hated the first season, and that is the handling of the title character, Spider-Man. He’s written as an idiot. He’s always so cocky, hot-headed, impulsive and low in intellect. Now I understand that he’s young and still learning, and granted Parker does have decent moments of growing up and learning life lessons, but that is not an excuse to turn one of the coolest Marvel characters into such a dimwit for the sake of humour and being relatable to children. If Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Spectacular Spider-Man could make be shows that appealed to kids but didn’t treat them like they were stupid, then there’s no reason this should can’t do the same.

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In conclusion the first second of Ultimate Spider-Man is better than before, with welcome improvements made in the story and character department, however that isn’t enough to make it must-watch TV or something worth watching for anyone other than children not familiar with any other Spidey media. Well as I head into season 3 I can only hope for better material.

Rating: 6/10 (Better than last season but not by much)

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Season 1 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to do a review that I’ve been meaning to get off my chest for a while now, I am going to be reviewing the first season of the Ultimate Spider-Man. Now any of you that have followed this blog since 2012 will know that I started watching this show and did reviews up until episode 9. After that I just couldn’t take the show anymore and gave up. Now 2 years later, this show is in its 3rd season and is even more popular than before (how I don’t know). So back in the summer I got curious and decided to give this show another chance, and while it was a painful experience I made it and I was meant to have this review done back in July but I haven’t gotten around to writing it now so please bare with me. So how does this show’s 1st season fare? Well read on and find out.

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So the story for this show can summarised up as the following:

Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for a little while now, but then he is recruited by Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. who offers him the opportunity to become a better superhero. So then Spider-Men joins a team of teenage superheroes, including While Tiger, Nova, Iron Fist and Power Man, and together they must battle villains of varying levels of danger while also trying to bond and become an efficient crime-fighting team.

Let me get this out of the way first, if you’ve started watching this show straight after the brilliance that is The Spectacular Spider-Man, it will seem like a MASSIVE let down. This show in terms of its stories, character development and interaction and just the level of intelligence is astronomically lower in quality and it takes a while to adjust. The main problems I have with this show are high in number, but when it comes to the story, these things come to mind:

  1. There’s a Lack of Interesting Stories & Overarching Plots: For the first half of the show I found incredibly hard to be invested in some the episodic stories because they weren’t terribly interesting, important or cool. And I was waiting for some long-term story to take place over the course of the season, but that kind of storytelling didn’t take place until way down the line.
  2. Too Much Humour & Not Enough Seriousness: This show likes its jokes, a lot, to the point where it can be overbearing and worst part is that most of it isn’t funny at all. Besides a few chuckles or smiles, this show’s humour is juvenile at best, so many cut-aways and not enough time to write actual funny material. So with all that time devoted to humour, there’s no time for moments of seriousness or drama, and when it comes it barely connects because of the humour overload.
  3. The Show Ignores The Best Elements of What Makes Spider-Man Good: Whether it is the emphasis on characters other than Spider-Man or taking aspects of the comics and messing with their origins, it seems like the team behind this show are determined to make a Spider-Man cartoon without some of the key elements that make it good. There’s no sense of drama, relationships with girls, problems with his dual life, actions and consequences and proper lack of Uncle Ben too, all the things that make Peter Parker’s life so engaging.
  4. The Writers Think Spider-Man is For Kids Only: I have watched a number of children’s shows that were educational or had mature/adult themes that were awesome like the 90’s cartoon adaptations of Batman, Spider-Man and X-Men, those were smart and incredibly deep shows with well-thought out stories, characters. This show on the other hand, thinks that there are only children watching so it uses the lowest forms of humour, throws out generic and dull storylines and has little to no educational values at all. Spider-Man has always been about learning life lessons and this show doesn’t seem like it wants to teach anything and when it does the execution is dodgy.

By the end of the show I could see that things had improved somewhat from the beginning, but even then, several of the things I wasn’t keen on still remained by the time the final episode was over.

Somewhat memorable episodes:

  • Field Trip
  • Strange
  • Beetle Mania
  • Snow Day
  • Not a Toy
  • Revealed
  • Rise of the Goblin

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When it comes to the characters, good gravy, if they aren’t annoying as hell, then they lack common sense, always crack jokes or are just dull. I understand that things can’t stay the same forever and some character traits need to be updated for modern times, but there is updating and then there’s completely changing things for the worst.

Firstly, there’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man, he’s awful. The tried and tested formula of a teenager dealing with the responsibility related to being a superhero while also dealing with school, his job and his friends and family has been replaced with a bumbling buffoon who’s constantly messing up, has no sense of logic and isn’t very cool as a superhero. This iteration of Spider-Man is just painful to watch and it is made so much wore by the whiny voice of Drake Bell. White Tiger is a character it took me a long time to like, she constantly argues with her teammates (especially Spider-Man), she’s always made out to be smarter and more tactical than the boys and when it comes to fights she hardly has anything amazing to add to combat. Then there’s Iron Fist and Power Man, the former of which is the cooler of the two. I like Iron Fist mainly due to his calm demeanor, martial arts moves and interesting sayings and there’s Powerman who is pretty strong, but a little on the dumb side a bit generic as a young black superhero. Both of these characters are decent, but lack their trademark comic book flair and style and never get as much screen time as some of the other members of the team. And then there’s Nova, bloody hell that guy is annoying. He’s a hot head who says and does things without thinking, he’s constantly butting heads with Spidey and bring out the worst him, but worst of all, he’s always talking smack and cracking jokes but he’s not funny or cool. I just don’t like the guy and he has no credibility as a member of the team at all.

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The villains don’t fare much better, there’s too many to mention, I mean they butchered so many characters like Doc Ock and Venom, but the one villain they did well with was Sandman, that was kind of cool. I didn’t care much for the Green Goblin because it was the Ultimate version rather than the classic one that I love. The addition of other heroes like Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Captain America is a bit hit and miss, they best ones were clearly Cap and Iron Man.

Also, Nick Fury wasn’t nearly as cool or badass as he should have been, I felt like he was just there to bitch and moan, but wasn’t some badass leader and man of battle and justice. I wasn’t keen on the treatment of Mary Jane Watson either, I mean I appreciated that she was more active and not just some nice girl who was the object of Peter’s affections, however, she was still in the thick of danger on numerous occasions and constantly kept needing to be saved by Spider-Man because of absurd and illogical decisions. Harry Osborn was alright, but all of the dramatic elements of his character that made me him cool were absent and what they did with his character in terms of making him one oft he most classic villains ever, that just annoyed me. Aunt May she was just horrible, she has no value in this show and never has relevance to any of the stories besides one awkward one involving her and Agent Coulson, I feel like she could be written out of the show and it would have made no difference. Having JK Simmons back as J. Jonah Jameson was nice, but I feel like his character didn’t have the same style an impact that he did in the films. Seeing Agent Coulson in this show with a pretty big supporting role was cool, however sometimes I feel like his character is used too much in the humour department rather than the cool guy we know from the MCU and lastly, the Stan Lee cameos are pretty nice and offer up moments of awesomeness and humour.

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At least the visual presentation is up to par as it is the best part of the Ultimate Spider-Man. The animation is fluid, full of detail and has some great use of camera angles and tracking shots, while the art is good for the most part with most characters looking like their comic book counterparts, besides some updated hero and villain designs which really aren’t that cool, some are dull and some rely too heavily on recent live-action films. This is the best spider-Man has ever looked in a cartoon and it is arguably Marvel’s best-looking animated show so far.

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In conclusion the first season of Ultimate Spider-Man is a bit a mixed bag, but it has more bad than good. While the art and animation is amazing and the fact that Spidey gets into interact with so many other famous superheroes is cool, it doesn’t make up for the bad jokes, poor character development, unengaging characters and lack of proper storytelling. Hopefully season 2 will improve on the good points of this show.

Rating: 6/10 (It isn’t a complete waste of time, but it is a bumpy ride. Approach with caution)

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Donald Glover Finally Gets to be Spider-Man in Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors

Hey hey hey people of the internet, time for a bit more news from the world of the web and now I’m gonna talk about a bit of TV news that I feel is relevant relating to Donald Glover and the upcoming third series of Ultimate Spider-Man. The following information comes from superherohype:

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Back when Sony was planning on rebooting Spider-Man, actor and comedian Donald Glover started a grassroots campaign online to get cast in the role. Though the part eventually went to Andrew Garfield, many titans of comics and film put their support behind Glover and the movement eventually led to the creation of Miles Morales, the new Ultimate Spider-Man. Now, Glover finally gets his wish and will provide the voice of Morales in an upcoming episode of Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors.”

“That’s the great part about the Spider-Man costume: He can be anybody,” Glover tells USA Today. “Spider-Man could be a girl. Spider-Man could be an old man. You don’t know. So I just tried to be as me as possible, because you’re always just going to bring it back to yourself when you watch the show…Spider-Man is the best because you just don’t know who he is, and he’s funny and he’s poor. I understand Spider-Man a lot on that level. He’s just trying to make it.”

The new season of “Ultimate Spider-Man” premieres this Sunday on Disney XD, but Glover’s stint as Morales won’t air until next year. Also, lest you think that Glover is content with settling his “campaign” by providing this voice, he still has hopes to put on the tights some day.

“I still have hopes to do something like that one day. I don’t look at this as second place. Spider-Man, he’s such an icon — you have to do something with him.”

You can check out a clip of Glover as Morales in the player below.

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Well this is nice. I mean sure this doesn’t mean that Donald Glover is Spider-Man in a live-action format, but this is some progress. Now Ultimate Spider-Man isn’t exactly the best format to debut such an important character as Miles Morales, but to be honest considering the way the Spider-Man film series is going, this was the only place where he’ll be able to show in for a while. And in a way I’m glad that he’s finally finding his way into the realm of TV, hopefully this will bring more awareness to his character and comic series and maybe even allow him to get his own show down the line. So far from the images it looks like the series has captured Morales’ likeness so well and from the clip above it sounds like Glover fits into this cartoon just fine. Glover sounds like himself and has the right kind of charisma and charm that comes with an actor of his style and talent. I just hope this first encounter isn’t a ‘one and done’ type of deal, Morales’ Spider-Man needs to have more screen time yo.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Media, Television

 

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New TV Reviews Coming In The Near Future!

Howdy people of the internet and good day to all the people who follow my blog, today I’m just going to update you about my upcoming TV reviews. As you may have noticed on this blog I do a fair about of film reviews, I even do music reviews a lot more these days and after that while I don’t do that many video game reviews, when I do they’re hardcore! But then there are TV reviews and there’s a severe lack of those, and according to my About Me page I do TV reviews so I think I should start making good on that statement.

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So many damn TV shows in the world and watch plenty of shows, so it’s about time I got to reviewing some of them.

So yeah when it comes to television, I’ve watched so much of it since I was a kid. I have plenty of shows to reviews both newer and older. Some of the shows I’ve been meaning to review on this blog include Hotel Babylon (mainly season 1 & 2) and one of my favourite shows ever, Fringe. Other shows include Community, Breaking Bad and Buffy the Vampire Slayer which I’ve recently become acquainted with.

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3 TV shows, 2 of them are my current all-time favourite and the last is one of the most well-known shows from the 90s. Man this’ll be some interesting stuff to review yo! 😀

Outside of the live action stuff I’ve got loads of animated shows I want to review including returning to the Ultimate Spider-Man and then talking about the FAR superior Spectacular Spider-Man. I’ve also been meaning to check out Avengers Assemble and Beware The Batman. And lastly after recently re-watching Young Justice and falling in love with it again I feel like reviewing that show too. 🙂

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Marvel’s current animated shows aren’t really that good from what I’ve seen and heard… That doesn’t mean I won’t watch them anyway, I can’t help it. I have a problem! XD

In conclusion I have a fair amount of shows in the pipeline that need reviewing. I’m not sure when I’ll get around reviewing some of these due to the summertime coming into its final month and dealing with work and travelling from Sheffield back home and vice-versa. But I’m gonna try to get these reviews out asap yo so look out! 😀

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Life, Media, Television

 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Episode 9 Review

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Rating: 6/10

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Episode 8 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to be giving you my review of the eighth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man.

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Okay so here we are at the eighth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, nearly ten episodes in now and it is by this point in a lot of TV shows where one can determine whether a show is good or not. And holy man, after seeing the latest episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man I just have this to say… I seriously think there is no hope for this show. The latest episode entitled ‘Back in Black’ (like the AC/DC song and album but nowhere near as cool) has to be the worst episode so far and its mainly due to how disappointed I was with the way the narrative and the characters were used. The episode was completely lackluster and shows why The Spectacular Spider-Man show was far superior in every way.

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Oh yeah, Venom’s back and looks much more in line with the comics, however he’s nowhere near as cool as he should be.

So the story in this episode is as follows:

“When the terrifying Venom returns, Spider-Man (who has come down with a cold at the time) tries to stop the villain and save Harry Osborn (who has become the host of Venom after trapping its fragment). Spider-Man must decide if he can trust his new teammates with the shocking truth about Venom before asking for their help.”

So yeah following the events of the fourth episode Venom returns, though his initial return is very different; he appears on the scene as the black-suited Spider-Man (like Symbiote Spidey from the comics). And yeah goes around saving the day in a very heroic way while showing off at the same time. Naturally suspicious that Venom’s back  Peter goes off on his own to discover the truth of the situation, while that’s happening New York seems to have fallen in love with the new Spider-Man and forgot all about the original one. At one point while in school, Harry goes to talk to Peter privately and he seems in a super happy mood (I wonder why? *sarcasm*), it is at this point that we learn that Harry is indeed the new black-suited Spider-Man (wow, who didn’t see that coming? *sarcasm*). Harry seems to have found a way to control it through a switch on his watch, but naturally Peter tries to warn him off it saying that it’s dangerous, but Harry doesn’t take his advice and gets a bit aggressive as he leaves. It is at that point when Peter knows something’s wrong. Eventually Harry become corrupt with power and Venom eventually takes over and starts attacking the innocent, so then it’s up to Peter to fight Venom and save Harry.

Okay let me just get this out of the way, I didn’t like the story in this episode at all. I wasn’t overly keen on the way Venom was introduced into this show, it just seemed to early and there wasn’t much justification for his existence other than the fact that he’s a major Spidey villain and the fact that he’d look cool. But in this episode they went with that silly possible storyline at the end of episode four; the fact that Harry could become the new Venom. I didn’t like that idea and when I saw a new Spider-Man running around it only took me a few seconds to guess who the person was behind the mask. I really didn’t like how they introduced the black-suited Spider-Man, that is one of the most iconic and coolest traits for Spidey and for it to be on anyone other than Peter Parker, that doesn’t sit well with me. Then we find the black-suit transform back into a more familiar face, Venom who is as big and nasty-looking as he should be (though a little too chunky in some cases). Also I can’t belief how single-minded the people in this show are, they all seem to think immediately that the black suit Spidey is a completely different one from the original, not one person questions the possibly that black suit Spidey and regular Spidey might actually be the same. I mean sure they aren’t in this case, but still, logic people! And another thing, how does everybody automatically convert to being black suit Spidey fans, besides the fact that it’s a new look there’s no justification for it, it’s just absurd how the thinking patterns of these people work in my opinion.

This story overall just felt bland, uninteresting and unappealing. This show has so much potential, yet it chooses to waste it on lackluster storylines with bad dialogue, actions with no proper consequences and child-like humour which is not funny nor is remotely good. And speaking of jokes, I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it again… THE HUMOUR IN THIS SHOW SUCKS BIG TIME! I really can’t believe how unfunny as Spider-Man show can be, but the writers of this cartoon clearly show it can be possible, and it’s all down to Spider-Man himself. Everything that Peter/Spidey says is pure foolishness, it’s not witty, it’s not well-timed, it’s just poor, it’s pre-school humour. Now I know there are some people over ten years old that enjoy this kind of humour, but for Spidey fans we know that the writing in this show could be so much better.

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Peter/Spidey with a cold in an episode. Not a good idea, never again!

When it comes to the characters, oh good gravy they break my heart. Peter/Spidey as always virtually useless. He makes stupid jokes, never really has a smart moment (unlike his comic book origins suggest) and he seems so dumb. In this episode he has a cold and it makes him even more annoying than usual and there’s this reoccurring joke where people keep telling Spidey to ‘Vampire sneeze’ and there’s all these other cold-related jokes too, it gets really old really fast! There’s one point where he runs out of web while pursuing Venom I think and just flutters around as he plummets to the ground. Now a normal Spider-Man would have packed extra web cartridges (it’s been done in every animated show), but oh no, not in the Ultimate Spider-Man, this Spidey is just content is being as useless as possible. There’s also one point where Peter imagines what would happen if he revealed his secret identity and the short comedic scenes that followed made me cringe. Then there’s Harry Osborn, I’m glad he’s been given a more substantial part in the show, but there is barely any of Harry’s classic mannerisms that make him such an interesting character. He just seems like he wants to be the best at everything and it doesn’t come across in a good way in this show, he just seemed to annoy me a lot. White Tiger, Nova, Iron Fist and Power Man take a backseat in this episode and I can say about that is, yay! Epic win” 😀 Everybody else in the episode are just there, Norman Osborn is still a man of power who neglects his son and constantly wants a new version of Venom developed. While Doc Ock still just sits in front of his computer screens monitoring and experimenting. You know, the same old stuff. Though I don’t like how Doc Ock is still just a lackey hiding in the dark basement working under Norman Osborn, he’s meant to be a super villain and yet he seems like nothing more than a sneaky lab assistant, just plain old boring.

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As usual the real standout point of the show is the animation. As usual the art is good and the animation is as fluid as ever. As Venom#s second appearance in this show, I thought this version of him was more in line with the comics and the stuff seen in Spider-Man: The Animated Seriesand The Spectacular Spider-Man, though he was a fair bit bulky and reminded me more of the Mac Gargan versin of Venom in terms of size. The final fight between Spidey and Venom was good, there was dynamic stuff done here, but the fight was nowhere near as creative or exciting as The Spectacular Spider-Man.

In conclusion this episode was pretty poor and it is making question why I am still watching this show. I’ve given it eight chances already and all I’ve got is okay to sub par episodes that taint the Spider-Man name. Now it may seem like all I’ve done is rant in this review and to some degree yes I have and it is for good reason. I have seen Spider-Man at his best and comes in the shape of both Spider-Man: The Animated Series and The Spectacular Spider-Man, both shows are creative, impressive and area MILES better than this show will ever be. I remember when people used to hate on The Spectacular Spider-Man for its approch to the Spider-Man mythos and yet it the source material justice when compared to Ultimate Spider-Man. So you may ask if I hate this show so much, then why am I still watching it? Well its simply because it’s Spider-Man and because part of me hopes that this show will eventually get it’s act together and actually become something worthy of watching. But for now it looks like the Ultimate Spider-Man should just be shut down. Spider-Man and his fans deserve better.

Rating: 5/10

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Episode 7 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to be giving you my review of the seventh episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man.

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So here we are with another episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man and to be honest it isn’t as good as last week’s one, but it still works on a few levels mainly because of the appearance of the Hulk and some much-needed Spidey and MJ time.

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One of the key aspects that make this episode work, HULK SMASH!

So what’s the story in this episode well it goes a little something like this:

Spider-Man finally agrees to a video interview with Mary Jane, and she gets the exclusive scoop when she records Spider-Man and Hulk in an all-out battle against Zzzax throughout Manhattan.”

And to be honest the story is alright at best, it mainly works because of these following things:

  • The interaction between Spider-Man and MJ
  • MJ’s constant need to the ultimate news story by running around to be where the action is
  • The appearance of Hulk (Of course!)

This episode was all about Mary Jane attempting to get the ultimate news story about Spider-Man for the Daily Bugle and it is interesting to see an episode focused on her. Because up until now we’d only seen snippets of her character in small conversations with her and Peter, also it was intriguing to her how much a her character had changed from the basic conventional stuff we’d seen in previous comics and TV shows. I don’t know why, but this episode just came across as a little tame and lacking in epicness, with all the stuff that went down in this episode you’d think it’d make for a more exciting episode, but alas that wasn’t the case with episode 7. The only good thing about it was that there was some development for Peter and MJ and we also get to see more of MJ in this show and see where her character is going in the long run.

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In the character department it was another Peter Parker-based episode so there was only so many people to focus on. The main people in this episode was Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson and the Hulk, with some additional supporting cast making an appearance. Let’s start with the main character of this episode, Mary Jane Watson. As I said before her character has changed a great degree from the basic conventional stuff we’re used to, in earlier episodes it did take some time to process that she was the aspiring journalist complete with the character and everything, but now I’ve sort of adjusted to the idea. It does make her character more relevant and important, though the way she kept running towards danger just for the ultimate story kind of annoyed me with the way Spider-Man had to keep running to safe her from danger. And talking about Spider-Man, he isn’t much different from the stuff we’ve seen already. He still makes bad jokes, says something smart and then offsets it with a stupid comment and still seems to lack that “proper Spider-Man” quality that has come with previous animated shows and more importantly the comics. He’s not super mega smart, his level of fighting skill isn’t as creative as it should be and as a superhero he seems so clueless and constantly needs the obvious pointed out to him. It’s heartbreaking to watch.

And lastly we talk about the main attraction, the Hulk! Now when I heard he was going to be in this episode I was totally excited. I was still on an Avengers high after seeing the movie so seeing him in this new show was bound to make me happy, however his appearance in this episode wasn’t as spectacular as I would have hoped. This Hulk came across as a tad dumb and used a very limited vocabulary and while that’s nothing we haven’t seen before in comics or other animated adaptations I guess I am used to seeing a much smarter Hulk like the one in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes or the live action Avengers film. But he does do some good in the episode, he was be, load and proud and smashed everything, he also seemed to have some good banter with Spidey offering up some good moments of humour too.

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When it comes to the presentation, as I have said before the Ultimate Spider-Man can deliver. There was also an interesting style that this episode happened to take by using the whole behind-the-camera perspective (thanks to the story being from Mary Jane’s perspective behind her camera). I have only seen this style of presentation done on the odd occasion in cartoons, but not for an extended duration of time like in this show and for the most part it works okay, though it can be tedious at times. Other than that the animation is completely fluid, slick and full of character and motion. The action is done pretty well from all of the destruction to the intricate details of the fight scenes and overall the art style still holds up well here. Though if I had one complaint it would have to be on the look of the Hulk. It’s particularly bad or anything, but personally I think he looked a little off. In The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes they got the overall look of the Hulk down to a tee, though he was lacking n definition (probably though the art style of show). But in this show he seemed a bit small, too detailed in muscle definition and lacking in body mass. After seeing the 90s Hulk show and the latest Avengers film I have a particular way I would like Hulk to look and I guess that’s just me nitpicking, but that’s the way I feel haha 😀 But overall with the introduction of the Hulk, the Ultimate Spider-Man benefits in the action department.

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In the end while this episode did have some genuinely nice moments, overall was just okay and again nothing out of the ordinary. I have seen scenarios and plots similar to this in other superhero shows over the many years I have been watching them and it has been done better. The inclusion of Hulk was nice and it was great to see another Peter Parker-based episode especially with his screen time with Mary Jane. But alas the Ultimate Spider-Man has a long way to go before it truly becomes anything worth shouting about.

Rating: 6.5

 
 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Episode 6 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to be giving you my review of the sixth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man.

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So after two disappointing episodes I really didn’t have much hope for this show, but to my surprise episode 6 was actually good. It wasn’t perfect by any means and has a long way to go before it actually starts to impress me like The Spectacular Spider-Man or Spider-Man: The Animated Series, but it has to be noted that this is the best episode since the series premiere yo.

So what’s the story this time around? Well it goes a little something like this: “Taskmaster goes undercover and infiltrates Peter’s school to seek out Spider-Man. Peter and White Tiger must put their differences aside and work together in order to save their friends from a foe capable of duplicating their physical fighting skills.”

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The story in this episode was good because it was a little more grounded and in line with what I would expect from the comics, at least from the Spider-Man perspective. I like how Doc Ock is still hiring people to go after Spider-Man, plus it’s nice to see a villain with a little back story which adds a lot more weight to Taskmaster and makes him more memorable than the other forgettable enemies that Spidey and co have gone up against before. The story was also good for pairing up Peter and White Tiger. Both of them are on opposite ends of the spectrum and never seem to stop squabbling, but in this episode they were forced to work together and it was great to see them actually move past their petty differences and work together. It really helped moved this episode along. However outside of those specific points the story wasn’t anything incredible, it was fairly simple and the execution good have been better if the writing was a sharper and witty and not so childish.

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When it comes to characters there’s only three main people who matter; Spider-Man, White Tiger and Taskmaster. Everyone else irrelevant. Well technically some of the supporting do have some moments in the episode but they really do pale in comparison to the main three people in this plot. So let’s start with Peter/Spidey, he was alright. He’s still as silly as ever, but in this episode he did show off some level of creativity which was great and so Spider-Man-esque, however as usual for every smart thing Spidey does it is offset but some stupid jokes or action which is poorly timed. Now White Tiger, up until now she has been one of the most annoying characters because of her know-it-all attitude and her constant moaning at Peter for not following S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol and training and blah blah blah. and even though she did a fair amount of that in this episode, she actually was helpful and in a few ways a little sexy too (I don’t why she just was!). My only gripe is that at one point she references a quote from Men In Black and it didn’t go down well for me. I won’t say what it is, but for me that kind of line only works when it comes from Will Smith. Fact. And when it comes to Taskmaster he was pretty cool, best villain that Spidey has come up against so far. He is cool, calm and collected and his ability to mimic his opponents moves makes him a formidable enemy. He seems smart and that was illustrated well throughout the episode up until near the end where he seemed to get a bit sloppy in my opinion.

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In terms of the other cast, while Iron Fist has some screen time he takes a backseat to the rest of the action. Luke Cage is barely even in the episode. Nova, well he isn’t there at all which in my opinion is a great thing! Agent Coulson was nice in the episode though at little underused and put in some silly situations thanks to the writers of the show. Harry was there but barely used and Flash Thompson was actually jokes in this episode, at one point he was trying to look cool in front of Spider-Man but it totally wasn’t work and the reason it made me laugh was due to the fact that it’s in Flash’s nature to do things like that. so props to Flash he was actually decent for once. Oh, one other person that has to be mentioned is Stan Lee, he role as the janitor was great, while it’s not his best part, he had some very nice moments that the comic book fans will like.

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When it comes to the visual presentation there still a level of quality that doesn’t stop. Again as I have said before, well this show looks the part and has the highest quality of any Spider-Man animated TV show it has yet to show me anything truly amazing or spectacular. The Spectacular Spider-Man was all about style and quality and it delivered some of the most dynamic action sequences and fight scenes that Spider-Man has ever seen, it was all about choreography and it excelled in it. Even the 90s Spider-Man show had some impressive scenes when it came to the fight scenes. Unfortunately the Ultimate Spider-Man seems quite content with just giving us nice-looking action and fight scenes, but nothing that truly blows us away. The Ultimate Spider-Man has yet to impress me in the animation department.

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While the Ultimate Spider-Man is still rough around the edges, it still has quality buried within its off-putting exterior. The choice of storyline, use of characters and animation was pretty good this time round and for the first time the was some ACTUAL character development! This episode also had some nice references to the comic titles The Amazing Spider-Man and The Spectacular Spider-Man, which I thought was a nice touch though wasted on a show like this. So there may actually be hope for this show yet.

Rating: 7/10

 
 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Episode 5 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to be giving you my review of the fifth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man. (By the way sorry for my lateness, I swear I’ll get back up to date soon!)

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Oh my god, I swear this show is just trying to annoy me now. I thought that shows were meant to get better as they progressed, but since the second episode the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon has continued to plummet into mediocre territory. I don’t understand how a Spider-Man show can be this frustrating to me, but somehow the Ultimate Spider-Man excels at being bad in so many ways down to its poor humour, weak story development and constant butchering of the Peter Parker/Spider-Man character.

So the story in this episode is as follows:

“When Spider-Man meets his idol Iron Man, he receives a specialized gift: the Iron-Spider suit. However, when Spider-Man tries to master the suit’s abilities, the relationship the web-slinger has with his team is put on the line by the relationship he is developing with the armored Avenger. Spider-Man must also deal with the Living Laser.”

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To be honest after the failure of the last episode, I was really looking to be impressed in this episode. The story overall was passable but nothing overly amazing and that’s pretty bad considering the quality of the Spectacular Spider-Man‘s story which was consistent throughout both seasons. In this episode Spidey and his team battle the Living Laser, and you’d think that after a few episodes they’d have started building bridges and start forming into a team right? However that’s not the case at all. If anything Spider-Man is still trying to do this whole solo act and the team can’t seem to fully gel with Spidey’s personality and style of fighting which is causing even more conflict. And for me it’s really frustrating to see how this show continues to produce episodes that aren’t nearly as captivating the comic book origins it comes from.

Things get worse when Spider-Man gets a new armoured suit after meeting Iron Man (his idol) and it causes Peter’s arrogance to grow even more than usual because of the advanced tech’s powers and so Spidey’s total lack of logic puts him at odds with the rest of his teammates. The conflict in the team, while necessary for this episode I though came a little too prematurely and I wouldn’t expect to see something like this until around halfway through the series with a much more serious incident causing the team to potentially split up, but this show seems to be content with giving us stories that are potentially good only for them to be sub par. Now I understand that some teams take a while to come together especially if they have conflicting personalities, but the fact of the matter is that these guys have been around each other for a little while now and there doesn’t seem to be any sign proper progression or change since they were linked up in the second episode and for that’s not good nor is it encouraging for the show’s story and characters.

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In terms of characters, my god, besides Iron Man and Iron Fist to some degree, all of the other main cast members are just tragic. White Tiger is still a bossyboots, know-it-all character, Nova is still as annoying as ever and when it comes to Iron Fist and Power Man, they are just there, while they do offer up some important dialogue, overall they still haven’t been taken to the max yet. But the main offender is Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I have never seen such an arrogant, clueless and reckless interpretation of Peter Parker, it’s like I look at him and just shake my head in shame. It’s like the creators of this show just wanted to completely change the Peter Parker character and separate him from all of the good aspects that made him awesome in the comics. He is actually just an idiot, he may talk smart on the odd occasion but it’s all for show, he seems to lack basic knowledge, has no modesty and never things about how his actions affect others. He’s just tragic.

As I said before the only saving grace about this episode in terms of characters comes from the appearance of Iron Man voiced by Adrian Pasdar (reprising his role as the character from the Iron Man anime). He was the wit, charm and intellect that comes from the world of the comics and he is a refreshing site in this episode. Adrian Pasdar makes a very nice Tony Stark/Iron Man and carries the character well.

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At least the animation is still consistent in this show. The art and animation are solid, fluid and well-done. Having Iron Man in the show allowed for some interesting and dynamic sequences, also with the Iron Spider in the episode we got some interesting action scenes too. And while there was a lot of good action sequences throughout this episode, I don’t believe its been fully utilized or taken to the maximum. With all the intricate detail and quality that this show it’s predecessor the Spectacular Spider-Man, its frustrating to know that the overall that the visual quality has nothing special about it. The Spectacular Spider-Man had a much less detailed art style and animation quality and yet it produced some of the best animation that Spider-Man has every seen in the world of animation especially in the action and fight sequences and its interesting use of choreography. the Ultimate Spider-Man has none of that creativity and it just comes across as a show with talent, but not that much to be fussed about.

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One other thing to note that was good about this episode was the cameos from not only Spider-Ham, I got a personal little chuckle out of that because my nostalgic memories seeing him in comic book form, but also the cameo of the Super Hero Squad from The Super Hero Squad Show, though I don’t watch that show regularly it was nice reference.

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In the end this episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man has been the second hardest one to watch (the most being the previous episode) purely because it had an absurd amount of potential and it wasn’t completely capitalized on. There doesn’t seem to be any proper character development for any of the members of the team and this version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man continues to be an oblivious idiot barely relating to his comic book roots. Unfortunately it should be noted that this is the best episode since episode 2 and that’s purely based on Iron Man’s involvement and the use of the Iron Spider suit. The Ultimate Spider-Man really needs some better material or I reckon it should be shut down.

Rating: 6/10

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Ultimate Spider-Man Episode 4 Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I’m going to be giving you my review of the fourth episode of the Ultimate Spider-Man. (By the way sorry for my lateness, I swear I’ll get back up to date soon!)

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Okay I am just going to say this right now. I do not like this episode. I think it is the worst one yet. After finishing the episode I felt like my time had been robbed and I wanted it back.

So the story in this episode features more of Peter’s life as he happens to be at odds with Harry because of the time he spends with his superhero teammates, meanwhile Doctor Octopus’ newest creation Venom shows up at one of Harry Osborn’s parties and attacks Spider-Man and the other trainees, jumping from host to host.

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Now I was glad that the show decided to focus a little more on Peter’s personal life, I mean the show is about Spider-Man after all (though I think the creators of this show forget that on a good few occasions). Though the way this story was tackled was a little too childish and simplistic for my liking. Really I think that was down to major issues; 1) The Peter and Harry conflict and 2) The use of Venom. Firstly I think that the conflict in Peter and Harry’s friendship was a little premature, I can understand that Harry feels a little left out due to Peter’s commitment with his teammates because they’ve been best friends for so long, but the fact that he goes into a whole strop about it seemed really childish and out of character for him. And funnily enough I finally in this episode I can partially relate to Peter due to his need for his personal life to be his and not constantly have to be involved in his superhero antics. However the team keep saying that Peter made a commitment to them and S.H.I.E.L.D. as a superhero and I can see where the team are coming from, but they seem to be very heartless about Peter’s situation and it frustrates me how emotionless they are and how they couldn’t even try to find a compromise. It also bugs me how Peter and Harry eventually make up, it seems like the issues from before are completely forgot about and swept underneath the carpet without confronting the issues. While I know I know there’s only so much time in an episode to sort things like that out, I just hate how they resolve things so quickly like I am watching an episode of Recess where a lot of actions have no consequences or proper resolve.

Secondly the other major issue with this episode was the use of Venom. Now as an avid Spider-Man I LOVE Venom, he must be my favourite Spidey villain. There is such a great history of this character in the comics and the previous Spidey animated shows, so when I saw the trailer for the Ultimate Spider-Man I was interested to see what they’d do with the character… But what I did not expect was this.

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Now I am all for change or updating the basic formula for the sake more interesting television, but this is just silly. In my opinion the character Venom has been butchered. Firstly the origin story was completely changed and I don’t like what was done here, it just seemed unlikely and a bit cheesy. Secondly there was no sign of Eddie Brock, the quintessential character that was responsible for Venom’ existence, what the hell!?! Thirdly the fact that the symbiote had to keep moving from person to person was a tad annoying, while was interesting to see what it did with everybody’s different abilities, I think it was done just to pass time rather than serving a purpose. I mean if the symbiote really wanted Spidey it could have had him. And lastly I want to talk about the way Venom eventually made it onscreen. Now it was a surprising twist, but for me it was a tad silly and just a cheap way to get the character onscreen. Again I can see where they were going with it because it was made from Spidey’s DNA and it’s meant to be dark version of Spidey. But for me I didn’t like what was done with the character and Venom really is a character that needs to introduced and tackled over more than one episode. Venom’s appearance was incredibly rushed and lacking in substance.

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When it comes to characters they were alright to sub par. Norman Osborn and Doc Ock were the best characters in the episode and there were there for the least amount of time. I guess I like them because they are the bad guys operating from the shadows. When it comes to Spidey’s teammates I really don’t care that much about them, the only person I like Iron Fist. White Tiger still annoys be with her know-it-all attitude and Sam just has to talk to come across as a bad character. Harry Osborn in this episode was a bit of stroppy child but it was great to see him do things more in line with his character from the comics. Mary Jane in this episode just annoyed me, she has that annoying know-it-all attitude when talking with Peter and other characters. But the main offender  of bad characters continues to be Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He doesn’t seem to be growing as a character, but still at square one like at the start of the series. There’s no sense of progression or cohesion with his teammates. He just talks and makes bad jokes and it doesn’t help that I still don’t like Drake Bell’s voice as our main character, it just doesn’t sit well with me. Another problem is with this version of Peter Parker is that for every time he says something smart it is followed by some stupid joke or form of foolish behavior that really doesn’t work in his favour.

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It seems like the presentation is the only good thing that keeps me coming back to watch the Ultimate Spider-Man. The art and animation are pretty damn good and really is the best of any Spider-Man show to date. While I still don’t think the animator have taken the production to the highest degree yet, what we have seen in this episode has to be the best yet. There is a lot of fluid animation and continuous sequences travelling across the screen, there’s many scenes from dynamic and interesting camera angles and there is also some decent tracking and panning shots in the action scenes. Spidey’s fight with Venom and opening sequence with Spidey in the subway was pretty nice.

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In conclusion I guess it’s pretty clear I didn’t like this episode. But it is for good reason to be honest. I guess it’s because I know the rich history of the story that came with Spider-Man and his time with the symbiote. It played a very big part in the comics and has been adapted very well in the 90s Spider-Man TV series and more recently the Spectacular Spider-Man TV series. The symbiote carries a lot of weight and easily shaped some of the best Spider-Man story arcs n the past with the way it affects Peter’s life and how it changes him as a person during and after his time with it. But unfortunately the Ultimate Spider-Man decides to through the basic rules out the window and give us very underwhelming experience in episode 4. With pretty sub par story, no character development and completely butchering of the Venom character, this show takes a huge step backwards and verges on bad animated TV programming. This needs to be rectified!

Rating: 5/10

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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