I’m really excited for this show because I actually used to watch it in high school and always enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ve seen every single episode, but I’m sure I’ve seen a good chunk of them. Watching it all and in order will be good and we’ll see how much of it I actually remember. This show has four seasons, 26 episodes per season, and aired from 2012-2016. I don’t recall when I started watching it, but I’m watching it now! Apologies for the delay in posting this review!
Drake Bell is the voice of Spider-Man in this show and honestly it’s the best voice for a Spider-Man so far. It’s also the most accurate depiction of Spider-Man in a show so far, with Peter basically narrating everything that’s going on with a humorous attitude and tone. Stan Lee was the janitor who always had a life story to tell, but Peter never wanted to listen to them! Peter also breaks the fourth wall constantly to share info or jokes with the audience, which is why I like this show so much. They show the way his brain works with cute little animations and chaotic moments, which is cool because knowing how a character thinks helps the audience understand them better and develops the character!
Season 1: The intro for this season was just a quick title sequence a few minutes after the show had been and the plot introduced. Overall, this was a great season and I really love this show. This season introduced villains, and other characters, without overwhelming or confusing the audience, it kept storylines clear and organized, and each episode was able to stand on its own without too much background needed for the audience. I rather like that about a show! Peter narrates everything as it’s happening and we get peeks into how his mind works, which is incredible and done extremely well! He’s a relatable character and everyone on his team is likeable. They didn’t give too much information about his teammates yet, but they built up their friendship and growing trust with each other at a steady pace. While the main focus in each episode is the plot, there were a lot of smaller details or references to other shows that I loved and am going to share! Doctor Strange wasn’t the clean cut man we all know and love; he has longer hair in this! His hair was about chin length and had a messy, sexy vibe to it (yes I know this is a kids show). There was a reference to the 1994 Spider-Man (review here) when Peter had a nightmare about having 6 arms and Aunt May was a giant spider. At the end of the first episode that featured Doctor Octopus the end credit said “Spider-Man Will Return in Doctor Octopussy,” which I found fucking hilarious. There was also a Spider-Ham reference when Loki turned him into a pig, as he was called Spider-Ham and Peter Porker by the others. The season came to an end with a big battle between Spider-Man, Goblin, and Venom. Goblin got away but in the process the Hellicarier was destroyed, which is when Peter learned that’s where his teammates were living. With no place to go, he speaks to Aunt May and they all move in together! What chaos will ensue from this?
Season 2: Season two maintains the same brief intro as season one and starts off strong by introducing the Lizard. Peter and his teammates are practically on top of each other now, since they live together, so when Peter goes off to spend time with Doc Connors things go wrong and he ends up as the Lizard. A few episodes later the Sinister Six for this show were introduced. The Six included: Doctor Octopus, Kraven, Lizard, Electro, Rhino, and The Beetle. They played a crucial role throughout the season and overall it was another great season! Everyone moved out of Peter’s home when the Helicarrier was fixed and we got to learn more about the characters. Peter grew a lot in the season and it ends with him being offered a place with the Avengers after saving the city and his team from becoming Goblins, but his answer is unknown! This season also had some cool references or other cool details throughout. The first being an obvious reference to the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends show (review here) with a title sequence of him and the Lizard that matched the title sequence for the show. There was also a brief one with Doctor Octopus, but Peter cut that short and shook off the weird image in his head. Stan has a Soap Box that he stands on to go on about things which is a reference to Stan’s Soapbox, a page often featured in the comics (check out my Instagram to see it on my Comic Book Friday’s!). And finally, Deadpool was in an episode which changed the title to Ultimate Deadpool, classic.
Season 3: This season begins with the return of the Guardians and maintains the same short intro. Peter has decided to wait on joining the Avengers after being with them for a short period of time and returns to SHIELD and his original team. While Peter’s team is growing and getting stronger, Peter begins recruiting younger heroes who are coming out of the woodworks to join his Web Warriors (the title given to the second half of the season). Peter is truly developing as a leader and as a person and the show begins to focus much more on him as a leader of everyone instead of him and his initial team. Nova, Powerman, White Tiger, and Iron Fist get suit upgrades in the first half of the season and this is somewhat their transition to being less of a focus as they’ve grown enough to be independent. As this season progresses, it brings in a lot of cool and funny things that are worth noting. Some were comic accurate, some were clearly made up but still pretty fun. The Spider-Supreme makes an appearance as Spider-Man has to fight Nightmare to save Doctor Strange. There are two big references to the old school Spider-Man show, the first being an episode with a similar style of animation and jokes and the second was the demonic Spider-Man-Spider (the six arm monstrosity) as Peter goes savage in the Savage Lands. The Thunderbolts are introduced, though only briefly as they become the Web Warriors (originally the New Warriors). There was a silly Jesse crossover episode (for those not familiar, Jesse was a Disney XD Channel show that was about a country girl becoming a nanny to four bougie rich kids). There is only one point of concern I hold with this season. It ends with a four-episode special about The Grand Master and The Collector using heroes and villains to battle over who is better, and right away Spider-Man knows The Collector and they keep referencing something in the past about Spider-Man having dealt with him before. Now, this seems familiar from the first time I saw the show (however many years ago) but it wasn’t in this show? Was it in the Avengers show I’m watching soon when he was a part of the Avengers? I know these shows all aired around the same time and have a lot of crossover, but a plot point this big should be in the Spider-Man show, not the Avengers one. The season ends with Aunt May admitting she knows that Peter is Spider-Man and trying to help him in his battle (however misguided this was).
Season 4: This season changes in tone and story completely, which I loved. It becomes Ultimate Spider-Man vs The Sinister 6 and it really dives into the challenges Peter faces as a young superhero. Dr. Octopus joins Hydra, though only to use them to get what he wants in the long run, and gets an extremely creepy suit and looks upgrade, which I hated looking at. He lost all his hair and they aged him significantly in the span of 5 minutes with his new look. New villains are introduced and old ones change their ways, some more than once, as Otto tries to build his new and improved Sinister 6. As Spider-Man grows his teams, it focuses more on the variations of Spider-Men in the world, and other worlds, mainly Agent Venom, Iron-Spider, Miles Morales, and Scarlet Spider. Now, Scarlet Spider quickly became my favorite and I loved how much content we got of him, so it broke my heart when he turned out to be the spy. However, thankfully, in the end he decided to help Peter and Aunt May and sacrificed himself to save them and NYC which caused me to cry a bit because I really did love the character. BUT thankfully they brought him back! He struggled once again with his friendship with Peter as he discovered who/what he really was, but in the end he trusted his teammates and remained on the Web Warriors. I also appreciated the growth Flash underwent in this season and the bond he developed with Peter. The season came to a strong conclusion with Peter realizing he’s more than just Spider-Man and everyone graduating from SHIELD Academy. There were a few things in this season that were pretty cool, and one that was really stupid (Agents Fitz and Simmons had a cameo). The cool things were the True Believers references, Peter calling himself a Spirate then taking Doctor Strange and Ant-Man trick-or-treating, and Moon Knight as a whole was hilarious. Doctor Octopus also got a suit upgrade and finally looked like his classic comic book self, though his voice was still creepy.
Overall, I would highly recommend this show to actually watch, not just have on. This Spider-Man is the funniest and most relatable so far, and the seasons give him great opportunities to grow and learn. The focus on his friends shifts away as his journey becomes more tasking and I liked this focus they put on him while still valuing his friends. His friends grow as well, but it’s more obvious in their suit upgrades instead of their actual character development. The only thing with this show that may cause concern is how not comic-accurate it is. Some of the story lines for characters are based loosely in the comics, others are just completely made up (as are some of the characters in general). While I didn’t mind this because of how much I enjoyed the show, it’s something to consider if you’re a hardcore comicbook nerd.
The main characters were Spider-Man (of course), Iron Fist, Power-Man, Nova, and White Tiger, though the other four weren’t as much of a feature by the time we get to season 4 because so many other characters were introduced. White Tiger’s backstory was revealed in season one, Iron Fist’s and Powermans were in season two, and Nova’s was somewhat in season two and three. My favorite character was Spider-Man, of course, because he was hilarious and relatable, and this is probably one of the most accurate depictions of the character I’ve seen so far in my Marvel animated journey. I did enjoy plenty of other characters featured though: Iron Fist, Doctor Doom, Wolverine, Loki, Venom, Deadpool, Spyder-Knight, and Scarlet-Spider (I LOVED HIM).
There were also a lot of other Marvel characters featured, some briefly and some made recurring appearances, also I probably repeated some because there were SO MANY. In order of appearance they were J. Jonah Jameson, Trapster, Nick Fury, Doctor Octopus, Mary Jane, Harry Osborn, Norman Osborn, Flash Thompson, Stan Lee, Wizard, Klaw, Thundra, Aunt May, Dr. Curt Connors, Phil Coulson, Dr. Doom, Venom, Living Laser, Iron Man, Task Master, Batroc, Hulk, Galactus, Frost Giants, Thor, Loki, Odin, Etri, Wolverine, Mesmero, Sabertooth, Whirlwind, Doctor Strange, Nightmare, Juggernaut, Scorpio and Zodiac, The Beetle, Sandman, The Wrecking Crew, Skurge, Captain America, Electro, Rhino, Kraven the Hunter, Hawkeye, Steel Spider, Carnage, Grizzly, John Jameson, Swarm, The Destroyer, Scorpion, The Thing, Rocket, Chitari, Korvac, Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Arcade, Blade, Dracula, The Living Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, Invisible Man, Iron Patriot, Titus, Black Widow, JARVIS, Falcon, Fin Fang Foom, Atuma, Ulik, Fenris, Agent Venom, Cloak and Dagger, Dormammu, Squirrel Girl, Vulture, Ka-Zar and Zabu, Boomerang, Shocker, Morgan Le Fey, The Enforcers, Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Girl (Petra Parker), Spider-Man Noir (Old Peter Parker), Spider-Ham (Peter Porker), Spyder-Knight and Spyder-Horse, Miles Morales, The Whizzer, Dr. Arnim Zola, Ant-Man, Molten Man, Triton, Queen Medusa, Lockjaw, Karnak, Gorgon, Crystal, King Black Bolt, Maximus the Mad, The Collector, The Grand Master, King of the Wendigos, Red Hulk, Yimr, Blastaar, Skaar, Absorbing Man, Zzzaax, Terrax, Attuma, Annihialus, A-Bomb, Shel Hulk, The Leader, MODOK, Scarlet-Spider, Baron Mordo, Anti-Venom, Dr. Michael Morbius, Hydro-Man, Shriek, Madame Web, The Mechano, Crossbones, Blood Spider, Wolf Spider, Web Beard, Howard the Duck, Spider-Gwen, Ultron, Bone-Spider, Goliath-Spider, Ghost-Spider, Moon Knight, Mysterio.
A Quick Note: I’m going through all of these shows in order on Disney+, but I will be skipping Ironman-Hulk: Heroes United because I don’t like that style of animation. If you want to check them out yourself, go for it! Tell me on Twitter what you thought of them!
This week’s post is sponsored by Podcasting Until Ragnarok, a podcast I created that was inspired by this blog. Be sure to go check it out wherever you listen to your podcasts and subscribe!