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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone feel the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series wasted its potential?

    Remember that show Disney had, Ultimate Spider-Man? It lasted nearly five years, which for a run is pretty good. Unfortunately, the show itself isn't good... when it could've have been. That feels like the most painful thing, when something that could be good isn't.

    Ultimate Spider-Man could have been a worthy follow-up to fill the void of Spectacular Spider-Man if it were handled better. It being about Spidey's adventures throughout the wide Marvel Universe, there was potential in seeing how Spider-Man played off all these different elements and characters (compared to SSM only having access to Spider-Man characters and concepts). There are many, many characters that people love, some deep cuts and obscure references to different eras of the comics (both of the past and the most recent stories), influences from other continuities like Ultimate Marvel, older animated series, and the MCU, some cool reimaginings of different characters, and at times you can see what they were going for.

    Problem is, the writing is so bad. The humor often feels forced, and they know nothing of moderation. It's hard to take a fight that's supposed to be serious when Spidey's constantly making loud quips, interrupting the fight to do a gag, and those fourth-wall breaking segments with Peter's monologue. There's just no balance, and they don't know when to quit.

    Also, Peter's portrayal is very annoying. His voice in particular is grating, and I really hate to say that because I like Drake Bell. I think it was the direction more than him that faltered, because in Drake & Josh his performance as the lead helped make that series a classic.

    For a good demonstration:



    Finally, I feel like many of his so-called friends often act too mean to him. I know Spidey doesn't always get respect from everyone, but come on, these are his teammates and the other main characters, and he gets treated like a nuisance. It just makes you apathetic.

    I find it funny how it was written by Paul Dini, Bendis (back when he was still a decent Marvel writer), and Man of Action, all of whom have made great stuff before (Dini even made the freaking Batman: The Animated Series!), yet it was still bad. Was it executives meddling with them, tight constraints, or just off days? Who knows.

    However, for as bad as the show was, it's still way better than the new Spider-Man series. That show is completely bad. But seriously, can Marvel just get Greg Weisman and have him make an animated series? That's what the world needs.

    Anyone else feel the same way?

  2. #2
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    My opinion of the show, Season One was bland, but that might be because basically the only Spidey villains of Season One was Doctor Octopus, Venom, and Green Goblin. Every one else was general Marvel Universe fiends, like Trapster and Wizard.

    Appreciated the Thing appearance though, on the Mesmero / Hulk episode, back when Thing was still a major representative of Marvel, unlike now, until the MCU makes a proper FF movie.

    Come Season 2, enough more Spider-Villain additions, that lead to some Sinister Six action!

    Also did not care for on Season One, Pete's friends were more like Danny Rand, Luke Cage, and the alter-egos of White Tiger and Nova, with his interactions with Mary Jane more on the "casual" level.

    Oh yeah, and Lizard, chosen a more dinosaur-like look, than the classic labcoat, but then again, the last regular recurring use of traditional lab-coated Lizard was Spider-Man: the Animated Series.

    And Arcade, this still remains as close enough an Arcade cartoon adaptation as can get so far, better than X-Men: Evolution, but Arcade still has yet to have a decent Animated representation still.
    Last edited by ngroove; 09-19-2019 at 09:07 PM.

  3. #3
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    Wasn’t that obvious from the beginning?

    The episodes in season 2 where we learn about Spidey’s teammates should’ve happened in season 1. They made little to no effort trying to actually build Peter’s relationships with his cast members. They learn better in the later half of the show but the flaws are still glaring.

    Spectacular Spider-Man did more in 13 episodes than Ultimate did in 26 which is sad. Most of the episodes felt like filler. Just because an episode IS filler doesn’t mean it should feel like it. The previous Spider-Man shows managed to make great one note episodes.

    They really over used the “Greater Marvel” characters. I want to say that’s why Spider-Man’s better off in his own universe but 1994 did an ok to great job so it shows that it can be done. The Avengers were pretty much Mary Sues in Spidey’s show and often acted like kids in their own. Basically, they’re only job was to make Spider-Man look incompetent.

    What was the point of deaging the characters and changing their backstories. Some of them worked like Doctor Octopus and Venom, but others really didn’t, like Luke Cage. While I like his alias, Power Man, they basically made an entirely new character and called him Luke Cage. Changing a character doesn’t make them more important. It just shows how unimportant they are.

    It really annoyed how they retconned Norman’s behavior to just being possessed by the Goblin serum. It just didn’t make sense given his prior portrayals.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    Wasn’t that obvious from the beginning?

    The episodes in season 2 where we learn about Spidey’s teammates should’ve happened in season 1. They made little to no effort trying to actually build Peter’s relationships with his cast members. They learn better in the later half of the show but the flaws are still glaring.

    Spectacular Spider-Man did more in 13 episodes than Ultimate did in 26 which is sad. Most of the episodes felt like filler. Just because an episode IS filler doesn’t mean it should feel like it. The previous Spider-Man shows managed to make great one note episodes.

    They really over used the “Greater Marvel” characters. I want to say that’s why Spider-Man’s better off in his own universe but 1994 did an ok to great job so it shows that it can be done. The Avengers were pretty much Mary Sues in Spidey’s show and often acted like kids in their own. Basically, they’re only job was to make Spider-Man look incompetent.

    What was the point of deaging the characters and changing their backstories. Some of them worked like Doctor Octopus and Venom, but others really didn’t, like Luke Cage. While I like his alias, Power Man, they basically made an entirely new character and called him Luke Cage. Changing a character doesn’t make them more important. It just shows how unimportant they are.

    It really annoyed how they retconned Norman’s behavior to just being possessed by the Goblin serum. It just didn’t make sense given his prior portrayals.
    Thing is, I believe all Marvel works belong in the shared universe together. That said, they completely mishandled what they had. That's why I call it wasted potential. They could've built an interesting world, show how Spidey interacts with all the different heroes, and create a unique mythology.

    I kinda get the sense of what they tried to do, but most of the time it falls flat. Maybe it was rushed, maybe Jeph Loeb put too much on them, I don't know. I can't even say it's because they were ignorant/apathetic of the source, because it was written by comic book writers!

  5. #5
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    My logic is that they went for fan service than actual plot. There are times when it felt like they weren’t allowed to progress the plot.

  6. #6
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    I will say that Ultimate, while a missed opportunity, at least is REMEMBERED over the current animated adaptation of the Web Slinger. Also, while antagonizing you could also say that Ulimate's Spidey had more meaningful interactions with his supporting cast that you at least remember that they exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    Spectacular Spider-Man did more in 13 episodes than Ultimate did in 26 which is sad. Most of the episodes felt like filler. Just because an episode IS filler doesn’t mean it should feel like it. The previous Spider-Man shows managed to make great one note episodes.
    This is true, look at Spectacular's "filler" episodes in the Gang War arc like Accomplices and Probable Cause you have to advance SOMETHING. Even though Accomplices was simply a McGuffin chase and just a long fight scene, we introduce the characters of Roderick Kingsley and Silver Sable and the theme of New York being a powder keg waiting to explode now that there are more players in organised crime rising challenging The Big Man's empire. It also gives us more interaction with Fredrick Foswell's investigations and his Patch persona. Probable Cause gave us more character development with Flash Thompson and Sally Avril, and even Hammerhead was openly sabotaging the Enforcers, thus setting up his ultimate betrayal and aspirations of being a crime boss in his own right. Yeah those episodes when you simply describe the background are filler, but they advance SOMETHING that will play off later.

    They really over used the “Greater Marvel” characters. I want to say that’s why Spider-Man’s better off in his own universe but 1994 did an ok to great job so it shows that it can be done. The Avengers were pretty much Mary Sues in Spidey’s show and often acted like kids in their own. Basically, they’re only job was to make Spider-Man look incompetent.
    Yeah, I think that the thing is that the 94 series used the greater Marvel universe SPARINGLY, which made it work better. Spider-Man had his own things going on outside of the greater Marvel Universe...which is something every portrayal of Spider-Man who has had a shared universe since could learn from. It's like they either overdo the shared universe aspect, or son't do it at all. The latter worked very well in the case of Spectacular Spider-Man due to them mining the various runs and mythos and distilling it to the point where you didn't care if anything from the shared universe ever showed up. However every adaptation since has made it seem like Spidey isn't even the main character in something with his name in the title. If they were going to do a shared universe take they could have done the Spider-Man '94 route and made it feel special when a guest star showed up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    It really annoyed how they retconned Norman’s behavior to just being possessed by the Goblin serum. It just didn’t make sense given his prior portrayals.
    That was one thing about the show I respected - SECOND CHANCES. Norman Osborn, to me, from Season One shadowy guy, to full-on Goblin, then recovery, despite a couple episodes of mad Goblin lapses in the name of spite from Otto Octavius, afterwards his recovery stuck, in that even to Spidey's eyes, he went back to a decent father to Harry, decent member of society, even decent ally of Spider-Man, as Iron Patriot.

    SECOND CHANCES - one of the few surprisingly surprising character developments, which applied to not only Norman Osborn, but Sandman, Rhino, Vulture, Venom, even Flash Thompson, and just maybe, Doctor Octopus.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngroove View Post
    That was one thing about the show I respected - SECOND CHANCES. Norman Osborn, to me, from Season One shadowy guy, to full-on Goblin, then recovery, despite a couple episodes of mad Goblin lapses in the name of spite from Otto Octavius, afterwards his recovery stuck, in that even to Spidey's eyes, he went back to a decent father to Harry, decent member of society, even decent ally of Spider-Man, as Iron Patriot.

    SECOND CHANCES - one of the few surprisingly surprising character developments, which applied to not only Norman Osborn, but Sandman, Rhino, Vulture, Venom, even Flash Thompson, and just maybe, Doctor Octopus.
    That’s actually one of the things I liked about the show too, but they didn’t do it in a way that felt believable with Norman. That’s my gripe.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistah K88 View Post
    I will say that Ultimate, while a missed opportunity, at least is REMEMBERED over the current animated adaptation of the Web Slinger. Also, while antagonizing you could also say that Ulimate's Spidey had more meaningful interactions with his supporting cast that you at least remember that they exist.
    To a certain extent. But the show kind of continually downplayed or forgot about Spidey's civilian friends until they gave them Superhero identities and he kept trading in his old teams for new teenage Superhero teams, relegating the previous ones to minor character status.
    Quote Originally Posted by ngroove View Post
    That was one thing about the show I respected - SECOND CHANCES. Norman Osborn, to me, from Season One shadowy guy, to full-on Goblin, then recovery, despite a couple episodes of mad Goblin lapses in the name of spite from Otto Octavius, afterwards his recovery stuck, in that even to Spidey's eyes, he went back to a decent father to Harry, decent member of society, even decent ally of Spider-Man, as Iron Patriot.

    SECOND CHANCES - one of the few surprisingly surprising character developments, which applied to not only Norman Osborn, but Sandman, Rhino, Vulture, Venom, even Flash Thompson, and just maybe, Doctor Octopus.
    I did think the show got a little ridiculous with the redemption storylines. Especially at the end with Otto.
    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    That’s actually one of the things I liked about the show too, but they didn’t do it in a way that felt believable with Norman. That’s my gripe.
    Yeah, they really kind of forgot the fact that he was trying to kidnap Spider-Man for his powers even before he got transformed into the Green Goblin.

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