My son and I finally had a chance to sit down and watch the new Ultimate Spider-Man TV show today! I was excited when I heard this show announced; I was a big fan of the old Spidey cartoon in the ’90s. First, a little bit about the boy. He’s almost 2 1/2 years old and he certainly knows who Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman are. That’s about it, though. I’ve surprised myself to fact that I’m not a huge pusher of cartoons and comics on him as I thought I would be. He does love going into the “Comic Book Room of Doom”, picking up all my action figures, and asking me “Who that, Daddy?” But, to be honest, his current obsession? My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
These ponies? We’ve currently got 45 episodes on the DVR. Not kidding, I just checked. He knows them like I know ’90s X-Men. But, if I’m being completely honest, I’m pretty hooked on this show too. There’s also some great music in the show, including a very much “Into The Woods” inspired song called “At The Gala” and, my personal favorite, Pinkie Pie’s “Smile”. (I can’t believe I just typed that…)
But I digress. This cartoon is different, very different, from prior incarnations of Spider-Man. Things here are geared toward a preteen audience. There are a lot of asides that are very reminiscent of the old Teen Titans cartoon, with occasional dysmorphic, chibi looking versions of the characters, and Spidey breaks the 4th wall frequently, almost with a mixture between Scrubs and Saved By The Bell (two of my favorite shows!), with a bit of Scott Pilgrim mixed in. When they introduce new characters, there’s a title screen that comes up with their name, as in, which I’m sure is no coincidence, the latest Spider-Man video games. The scene transitions and animation overall has a very anime flair, for sure, though the character design is fairly traditional looking.
The good? The overall feel is young and fun and completely different. Certainly not a rehash of the old cartoon. A very quick origin story, done completely in flashback. I’m willing to deal with the teen heroes for now (Iron Fist, Power Man/Luke Cage, Non-Richard Rider Nova, and White Tiger), but I feel that they came very close to some trope-ish behaviors (angry Latina, mellow surfer-dude, bossy white guy who’s now mad that he’s not in charge, etc…).
The bad? Another annoying Stan Lee cameo (I love the man, I respect the man, he needs to learn to STEP BACK). Mary Jane replacing Gwen Stacy again, which is interesting considering the new movie coming out. The goofiness does seem a bit over the top at times.
Overall, I enjoyed the show. I’ve got it set to record on the DVR, so I’m in, at least for a little while. As for the boy? Well, we had to stop midway through to watch some Ponies because he was screaming for them. I finished the rest after he went to bed. Oh, well, maybe one day…