Thursday, May 17, 2012

On The Air: Ultimate Spider-Man (2012)

I'm going to be as frank as I can.

Ultimate Spider-Man, airing twice every Sunday on DisneyXD, isn't the best animated incarnation of the wall-crawler. This is despite the creative pedigree involved. Spidey's co-creator, Stan Lee, is an executive producer and has a supporting role as a janitor on the show. Producer Eric Radomski and creative consultant Paul Dini are better known for their work on DC's universe of heroes. The Man of Action studio, which boasts talents like Duncan Fegredo and Steven T. Seagle, created Ben 10 & Generator Rex for Cartoon Network.

So where does it go wrong?

How about the fact that aside from some great artwork----and, oh, by the way, that's an improvement over the anime-inspired Spectacular Spider-Man from 2008---the visuals have a tendency to get too busy. Too many unnecessary bells & whistles to illustrate the overly expository narrative of the webhead himself (Drake Bell, ex-Drake & Josh). If you don't believe me, well, try this sample:

I get that the show is aimed at a younger audience. As I said, it airs twice (at least) on Sundays, in the morning, and in primetime, so that adults who don't catch it in the morning can watch. One of the show's producers is comics & television veteran Jeph Loeb, who has worked on shows like Lost & Heroes the last few years, and, according to frequent correspondent Magicdog, is aiming to replace the current Avengers series with one that will correspond to Ultimate Spider-Man. Has Loeb ever heard the phrase, if it isn't broken, don't fix it? Apparently not.

Rating: D.


Samuel Wilson said...

Spectacular was superior to Ultimate in every respect.

Unknown said...

Let's face it, the 60's Spidey is the only decent one there's ever been.

magicdog said...

I can't stand this version of Spiderman!

Too jokey, too distracting, and too much to blindingly accept.

Spidey would never work for SHIELD! He enjoyed his independence. He'd never ride (nor need) a motorcycle as seen in the pilot, and he definitely wouldn't use SHIELD's version of web shooters!

Personally I think Marvel wanted to try to create their own version of Young Justice using Spidey as a catalyst.

It's a shame Paul Dini's talents are being wasted here; this should have been a very different show.

hobbyfan said...

Sam: Suggesting Spectacular Spider-Man was a superior show isn't saying much. Like me, I'm sure you've seen virtually every TV incarnation.

Magicdog: Not only is Dini being wasted here, but also Eric Radomski and everyone else who should know better. Ultimate Spider-Man shouldn't try to be a clone of Young Justice. Period. While I'm ok with Drake Bell as the voice of Spidey, he's really got to start taking a closer look at some of his career choices of late.

Unknown: Hate to disagree with you, but I do. The 90's Spider-Man trumps the 1967 series easily, especially when they went to a serial format that came virtually from the comics.

Anonymous said...

hobbyfan - ok, I'll give you that one. Being a hardcore DC fan, I forgot about the Spectacular Spidey toon and it was pretty good. Still have to say I prefer the 60's one more.

hobbyfan said...

The one quibble with the 1967 series is that while some of the familiar members of Spidey's Rogues Gallery (i.e. Sandman, Mysterio, Electro) appeared, they also created 1-shot villains that didn't appear in the comics that they tried to pass off as threats. Heck, Stan's doing that now in the newspaper strip with a Joker ripoff (after a fashion).