Ride / The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

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With Doc Ock on the loose, this could be the most dangerous night of my life! And YOURS!
Spider-Man

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a 3D dark ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan. The ride follows Spider-Man and his battle against the evil Sinister Syndicate, led by Doctor Octopus himself. The designs of the ride take inspiration from Spider-Man: The Animated Series, mainly from the characters that share an appearance between the show and this.

The attraction has guests enter and queue through the Daily Bugle, where television monitors overhead show news footage of the Syndicate wreaking havoc throughout the city, with authorities as being completely overwhelmed. The footage also reveals that the Syndicate has stolen the Statue of Liberty, which they obtained by levitating it into the air, via a special weapon that Doc Ock had acquired. With the Statue of Liberty hostage, the Syndicate broadcasts that they will only place it back if the entire city surrenders to them. J. Jonah Jameson, seeing a newspaper-selling advantage in all of the turmoil, yet having no photographers to spare, sends the guests out in the Daily Bugle's new "SCOOP" vehicles to take pictures of what's going on. From there, things get rather...chaotic, to say the least.

The attraction's history began after Universal acquired the license to use the Marvel Comics characters for their new park, Islands of Adventure, after failing to acquire the DC Comics characters as they had originally wanted. With a Marvel-themed "island" now on the drawing boards, it was quickly decided that Spider-Man, being Marvel's best-known character, should be the headliner attraction.

When designing the attraction, the creative teams sought inspiration from two earlier attractions: Back to the Future: The Ride and Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time. The plan would be for this attraction to combine the former's thrilling simulations with the latter's seamless integration of 3-D film with real-life sets - and in addition have this all take place on a moving vehicle. The big problem with this plan was the fact that 3-D only looks good if viewed from at the center; at a different angle, it comes off as looking completely distorted. To get around this, the creative team had to flat-out develop a whole new process which they referred to as "squinching" - having the 3-D film "move" with the location of the ride vehicle. note  Since the process had never been done before, the creative team was repeatedly told that there was no way it would be possible - but luckily they managed to prove all doubters wrong (click here for more information about this whole process) The attraction also required a very-much elaborate type of ride system in order to have the vehicles be on top of a mobile simulation-base. All of these technical hurdles ended up sending the attraction extremely over-budget; which unfortunately resulted in many of the planned additions of the new park being slashed from the budget.

After years of design and planning, the ride opened with Islands of Adventure on May 28th, 1999. Upon opening, the attraction was an immediate success, leaving virtually everyone stepping off the ride mind-blown at how it was done. Its insta-popularity led to lines going on for hours, which even today can still occur. It also won several theme park awards, notably winning the "Golden Ticket Award for Best Dark Ride" for twelve years in a row. The ride continues to receive serious praise from both the industry and theme park enthusiasts, with it often being ranked as one of the greatest theme park attractions of all time.

The ride was eventually cloned at Universal Studios Japan, opening on January 23rd, 2004. It's opening caused a massive spike in attendance for the park, with it going from 8.8 million to 9.9 million visitors in just under a year.

In 2012, the ride was given an extensive overhaul; its film being completely re-animated and put into 4K high-definition along with it receiving a new digital projection system and a new soundtrack. The new additions were very well received, with people regarding the ride as being "better than ever."


The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adult Fear: The news report shows a little boy that's trapped upstairs in a burning building that's about to explode. Luckily, Spidey gets to him in time.
  • All There in the Manual: It is never properly explained where Doctor Octopus' levitation ray came from. He claims that he created it himself, however a tie-in comic book reveals that this was not the case and that he actually stole it from Stark Industries.
  • All Webbed Up: The fate of the Sinister Syndicate at the end of the ride.
  • Ascended Extra: Scream, a very minor symbiote character who was included because of the The Smurfette Principle and because they likely wanted to save Venom and Carnage for another project. It can also be assumed that Venom or Carnage were not made a part of the Sinister Syndicate due to Venom being an Anti-Hero and Carnage not really being one to take orders along with having little interest in world domination.
  • Art Evolution: The ride's very 90s-ish animation was completely overhauled in 2012. However, the cartoon queue animation wasn't altered, making some of the designs clash.
    • Some good in-ride examples would be making Spidey's eyes smaller and more realistic, putting tiny strings of electricity between the bolts of Electro's mask, and trading Doc Ock's body armor for a more contemporary (and somewhat referential) trenchcoat.
  • Bat Signal: Though this time it's a Spider-Signal!
  • The Be Careful Speech:
    • Spider-Man gives one to the riders at the start of the ride, saying the page quote above along with, "Be careful!"
    • Mary Jane also gives one to Peter over a voicemail message in the queue line.
  • BFG: Doctor Octopus' levitation ray.
  • Big "NO!": Though neither is drawn out, Spider-Man does this twice; first when the Hobgoblin tosses a pumpkin bomb at the riders, and again when Doc Ock reverses the levitation effect on the riders.
  • Boring but Practical: Spider-Man defeats Doctor Octopus and Scream with one simple punch or kick.
  • Call Back: In the first scene, Spider-Man warns the riders to be careful. Later, when the riders are attacked by the Syndicate and end up in the sewers, they meet up with Spider-Man again, who says, "So much for being careful..."
  • The Cameo: After the 2012 refurb, the animated film on the screens features cameos by Stan Lee himself. Stan also provides the exit spiel at the end of the ride.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Again, Doc Ock's levitation gun. The SCOOP vehicles are also this.
  • Con Man: J. Jonah Jameson, who talks the guests into going out into the city for the sake of getting pictures.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Right at the beginning of the ride, the guests just so happen to crash into the very warehouse where the supervillains are working on their evil plan.
  • Cool Car: The SCOOP vehicles, while also looking neat, are designed to withstand numerous conditions.
  • Cool Shades: The 3-D glasses the riders wear, Spider-Man even lampshades this.
  • Creator Cameo: Stan Lee makes not one, not two, but six appearances in this ride. note 
  • Demoted to Extra: The only appearance Aunt May and Mary Jane make in this ride is via a voicemail in Peter's office, which you can only walk through if you're going through the Universal Express queue line.
  • Easter Egg:
    • At one point in the ride, you'll see a closed movie theater that has a phone number on its signage. If you call it, you'll get a message saying that the theater is closed until Spider-Man can make the city safe again.
    • At that same movie theater, the marque advertises the showing of a movie called The Clone Saga.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: While Spider-Man is talking to the riders in the sewers, Hydro-Man rises up right behind him, which he notices soon after.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The ride vehicles spin rapidly as they are sent down into the sewers.
  • Evil Gloating: Upon the ride's first scene, Doc Ock is seen boasting among the other villains, saying, "with my heavy gravity cannon, even Spider-Man won't be able to stop me!".
  • Evil Laugh: Every villain in the ride except Scream does one at some point.
  • Evil Plan: The Syndicate plans to make the city surrender itself by threatening to destroy the Statue of Liberty.
  • Excuse Plot: J. Jonah Jameson recruits a bunch of random New York tourists to help him cover the Syndicate's attack on the city using a squad of automated news vans that keep them safe from the bad guys when shit goes down. Hey, it's a theme-park ride; you don't ride it for the story...
  • Fearless Fool: The guests are pretty much this in the context of the ride's story.
  • Femme Fatalons: Scream has these, which she uses in an attempt to claw the riders' faces off.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Doc Ock's tentacles are shown to have the added ability to produce fire.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Follow the Leader: For better or worse, pretty much every other major ride Universal has made since Spider-Man can be described as "Spider-Man with X" ex. "Spider-Man with a robot arm", "Spider-Man on a roller coaster", "Spider-Man with baysplosions." Not that this is necessarily a bad thing of course.
  • The Full Name Adventures: Speaks for itself.
  • Giggling Villain: Hobgoblin is this, though he also does the standard evil laugh as well.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: The entire city at the beginning of the ride, they even light up a "Spider-Signal".
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Doc Ock seems to have a lot of trouble aiming his anti-gravity gun correctly, which Spider-Man lampshades.
    Spider-Man: Doc, your aim is worse than your haircut!
  • Intimidation Demonstration: In the queue line video, Doc Ock demonstrates the power of his anti-gravity gun by levitating an incoming train and then dropping it into the river.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: During the news report in the queue line, one of the reporters says, "In a city of tumult and turmoil, Wall Street sits eerily silent tonight, while Doc Ock and his gang rain havoc on the rest of Manhattan..." Que Scream showing up and creating chaos.
  • Justin Time: Spider-Man just narrowly prevents the riders from smashing into ground by catching them in a web.
  • Lack of Empathy: As previously mentioned, JJJ has no qualms about sending everyday people into a dangerous battle where they could easily get killed.
  • Leave Him to Me: When Scream moves in to attack the riders, Doc Ock pulls her away, exclaiming, "Get away! They're mine!"
  • Legion of Doom: The Sinister Syndicate.
  • Militaries Are Useless: News broadcasts show that the Sinister Syndicate are able to pummel through the police with ease.
  • Monumental Theft: The villains, with the aid of the levitation gun, steal the Statue of Liberty and hold it for ransom.
  • Mythology Gag: In one scene, there's a movie theater that's currently advertising a film called The Clone Saga.
    • The music playing at the end of the ride is a remix of the classic Spider-Man theme.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: What the 3D glasses are said to be.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: As stated previously, Doc Ock says a variation of this line in the beginning part of the ride.
  • One-Shot Character: Scream is this if the ride is canonical with the 90's animated series, as she never appeared in any episode.
  • The Only One: It appears Spider-Man is this, as he's the only character shown facing off against the Syndicate. Guess all the other Marvel heroes were out to lunch or something.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: JJJ with his aforementioned "plan" with the guests.
  • Photo Montage: Briefly done in the Daily Bugle introductory video to show the early roots of the company.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Spider-Man takes out Scream, Electro, Hydro-Man, and Doctor Octopus all on rooftops.
  • Running Gag: Stan Lee's many appearances in the ride.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: J. Jonah Jameson mentions that all of his photographers "dropped off the face of the earth" in response to the current threat.
  • Shoo the Dog: Spider-Man to the riders in the first scene, warning them that it's not safe and that they shouldn't be out.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Two advertisements for Stark Industries can be seen in the ride.
    • In the Universal Express queue line, there is a long row of file cabinets that have the names of different characters and beings from the Marvel Universe.
    • In the scene where Doc Ock levitates the vehicle, one of the theaters in the background is named "The Woodbury Theater", a nod to Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Forms around anything that gets shot with Doc Ock's levitation ray.
  • Slasher Smile: Hobgoblin does this throughout the ride.
  • Slimeball: As we've basically implied already, JJJ is at his most slimiest in this ride.
  • Spider-Man Is About to Shoot a Web at You: The ride's facade shows Spider-Man in this kind of position.
  • Spinning Paper: Subverted, a spinning paper effect is used in the Daily Bugle introduction video, but it just says "Welcome to the Daily Bugle!" on it.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Hobgoblin makes a building wall blow up with a pumpkin bomb when Spider-Man causes him to miss.
  • Suicide Mission: What Jameson secretly acknowledges sending tourists out to get pictures is.
  • Take Over the City: What Ock's current plan is.
  • Take Over the World: What Ock mentions his overall long-term plan is.
  • Tempting Fate: Doc Ock boasts, "With my heavy gravity cannon, even Spider-Man won't be able to stop me!" and minutes later, he is stopped, by Spider-Man, nonetheless.
  • Throwing Out the Script: In the queue line video, Peter Parker gives the guests a tour of the Bugle, and then notices his script says negative things about Spider-Man. He tosses it aside and gives his own perspective.
  • Title: The Adaptation: At Universal Studios Japan, the ride is sometimes referred to as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: The Ride.
  • Title Theme Drop: A dubstep version of the classic Spider-Man theme song plays as the vehicles are pulling back into the station. The normal version of it also plays in the ride's gift shop.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Electro, who has electricity powers, and Hydro-Man, who has water powers, attacking the riders together. Certainly nothing bad could result from this...
  • Wanted Poster: The loading station as well as the alleyway in the first scene of the ride has wanted posters for all of the Sinister Syndicate members.
  • We Interrupt This Program: The Sinister Syndicate cuts off all of the television signals in the city to broadcast their demands for New York to surrender. Hobgoblin even says, "We interrupt this program to give you this special report!..."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Scream is seen attacking the riders once before Doc Oct pulls her away, she disappears for the rest of the ride and doesn't even join the villains in attacking Spider-man, she's then seen at the end wrapped up with the other villains with no explanation as to how she got caught.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Up until Harry Potter came along, both this and Shrek 4-D were the most marketed-attractions at Universal Orlando.
  • World of Pun:
    • From Spider-Man:
    (after wrapping the villains in a web) "Guess that "wraps" things up!"
    • From Doctor Octopus:
    (when levitating and then dropping a train) "What goes up...must come DOWN!"
    (when making his tentacles produce fire) "Don't leave now! Things are going to...HEAT UP!"
    (before turning off the levitation on the riders, making them fall) "Happy landings!"
    • From Electro:
    (about to electrocute the vehicle) "INTRUDERS! If you think you're getting out of here, you're in for a real...SHOCK!"
    (when Doc Ock announces that they've stolen Lady Liberty) "ELECTRIFYING!"
    • From Hydro-Man:
    (during Doc Ock's broadcast, when discussing the damage he's done) "We took a bite out of the big apple!"


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