"Tell me there's something better. Go ahead, try."
Livin' on the edge, fightin' crime, spinning webs! Swinging from the highest ledge! He can leap above our heads!
The Spectacular Spider-Man is a short-lived animated take on Marvel Comics' web-slinging superhero, headed by Greg Weisman of Gargoyles fame. The series follows 16-year-old Peter Parker through his Junior year of high school, after getting his powers at the end of the previous year and spending all summer as Spider-Man.The series' biggest influences come from the early comic stories by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, although it also draws heavily from the film series, Ultimate Spider-Man, more recent comics, and even Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Combined with fluid animation thanks to the simple art style of artist Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, sharp dialogue, interwoven character origins and a pleasing lack of its predecessor's crippling censorship, it was a composite adaptation of all sorts, that managed to combine all these aspects yet somehow managed to feel like its own universe.Unfortunately for the fans, Sony lost the rights for TV adaptations of Spider-Manand couldn't continue, leaving the series on a major of bittersweet cliffhanger and prompting Marvel to start a new series, Ultimate Spider-Man.For those who either miss or missed out watching this show on TV, it has become one of the few Spider-Man TV shows to have all its episodes released on DVD, and the first one to receive a Blu-Ray release.note Regarding the DVDs, the first season received four single-disc volumes, then a 2-Disc set of the complete season. The second season only has the former option. The 4-Disc Blu-Ray contains the complete series, and currently remains the only way to buy all the episodes together.Now has a recap page in progress. Only thematically related to the Spectacular Spider-Man line of comics.
The Spectacular Spider-Man provides examples of the following tropes:
Abhorrent Admirer: Peter shudders every time Aunt May brings up Mary Jane's "great personality" until he actually meets her, likely assuming that she would adhere to this.
Abnormal Ammo: Bazookas and machine guns that fire metal slugs which sprout tiny spikes, and giant staple guns complete with giant staples make the best of the show's prohibition on actual bullets.
Aborted Arc: Due to the show's sudden cancellation, many questions will be left unanswered. The Season Two finale had Norman Osborn surviving his fight with Spider-Man and escaping the country, as well as having Gwen be forced to stay with Harry out of pity leaving more romantic tension to be resolved later. There was also the Miles Warren angle, likely setting up an adaptation of The Clone Saga. There's also the symbiote still being at large.
Osborn takes this to a whole new level after revealing that he was the Green Goblin. Not only did he accused his son of being the Green Goblin, but he faked a limp and then injured his own son's leg in order to make it look more believable. The creepiest part is that, after all this, Norman claims it was all out of love for Harry, claiming that "he never would have learnt to become a man" without it. Wow... what a psycho. It gets much worse when you realize, due to Harry's angst at the end of that episode, that it worked.
Academy of Adventure: Midtown High, more so in Season 2 than in Season 1. Also, Empire State University, though the fact that it's a school in addition to a research lab is barely brought up.
Achilles' Heel: A lot of Spider-Man's enemies have one of these, which he is really good at using to his advantage:
The superstrong Rhino's costume is tough, but fused to his skin, so he only perspires from his exposed face. Spider-Man traps him in a sewer steam-tunnel, which causes Rhino to overheat and collapse.
The remote that controls Molten Man's power probably counts too.
Doctor Octopus's arms are powered by a large battery system on the front of his suit.
The symbiote does not like the vibrations caused by loud noises. They are "unpleasant".
Initially Vulture's wing's wouldn't withstand a punch to their power pack on the Vulture's back. This is fixed in his second appearance.
Pete in the first episode suffers from this, riding high on his new-found confidence as Spider-Man. He doesn't snub his friends or anything, but he does try to ask Sally Avril out. This goes very badly.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Sally goes from a brunette in the comic books to a blonde here. Also, Liz Allan, who was originally blonde, becomes a brunette (though this change is not restricted to hair color, in her case).
Adaptation Expansion: A single date between Mary Jane and Mark Raxton in the Ultimate comics became a subplot in Season 2 between Mary Jane and "Mark Allen."
and again, as of "Final Curtain." They stop just in time to not betray their current significant others till they break-up with other.
Hammerhead and Silver Sable in "Probable Cause" and again in "Gangland."
Alpha Bitch: Sally, who acts as though her entire life revolves around maintaining the high school popularity hierarchy. It's to the point where she gets upset whenever her boyfriend doesn't act like a Jerk Jock. Gradually, she becomes just a little nicer.
She was angry at Peter because she blames him for Flash and Liz breaking up. She's not happy with Flash dating someone else and Liz dating Peter. She blames Peter for messing up the school hierarchy. She was pleased that Liz "breaks up" with Peter.
Am I Being Punked? - Stan Lee, funnily enough, provides same the explanation for the surrounding weirdness that he gave to the citizens of the Marvel U when he was writing back in the Silver Age. Aunt May asks the same thing when questioned if her nephew is Spider-Man.
Amusement Park: Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus duke it out in the middle of Coney Island, causing chaos amongst the fairgoers.
Also, Kraven the Hunter's mutation into a more feline-looking form.
Annoying Arrows - Tombstone takes three of Green Goblin's pumpkin blades in the back and just looks well, annoyed. Although this is mostly due to his power set, as Spider-Man can't afford a single hit.
Aside Glance: After Spider-Man repeats Tombstone's dialogue verbatim, Green Goblin turns to the camera and quips, "Anyone else getting deja vu? Oh well, let's run with it!" and then repeats his response.
The Atoner: The Cat Burglar/Walter Hardy (a.k.a. Black Cat's father). It's revealed that he was the one who killed Uncle Ben, due to deciding to carry a gun because he was getting older and slower (before then he'd never harmed anyone) and has regretted it ever since. It's implied that he is aware that Peter is Spider-Man and chooses to stay in the prison, whilst trapping the other escaped inmates in the gas chamber with him.
Badass Bystander - When the Lizard is about to bite Spidey's head off in a subway train, some old lady hits him (the Lizard) on the head with her purse.
For emphasis: the Lizard is seven or so feet tall, built like a truck, and has many, many sharp pointy teeth that he has shown no compunction about using. This old woman saved Spider-Man's life with a handbag.
Badass Grandpa - The Vulture, sort of-he's dangerous because of his outfit, not any inherent ability.
And Silvermane, who has a cybernetic suit. He can also can deck pretty hard without it.
Be Careful What You Wish For - In Group Therapy, just before going to sleep, Peter remarks, "I wish I could just wake up tomorrow, with Doc and his merry morons back in jail." Oh, he gets his wish alright. But at the cost of losing himself to the symbiote, waking up exhausted, and being out of the loop for a whole day that his aunt has had a heart attack.
Venom and Tombstone in Season One. Venom possibly more so, because Eddie's increasing hatred towards Peter was one of the main plot points of the season and the symbiote's influence on Peter made him a worse person, which eventually led to Eddie Brock turning into Venom. Also, Venom's actions made Peter realize that he loves Gwen and sets a lot of events in season 2 in motion. Tombstone was Demoted to Extra after Goblin's arc and returned to this status in season 2.
Season 2 has the Master Planner/ Doctor Octopus, Venom (he was main focus of first half of season and became Big Bad in episode 5-7), then Doc Ock and Tombstone with Silvermane and Green Goblin.
Big "NO!" - Spider-Man, several times: getting trussed up and threatened by Venom; when it looks like he's accidentally dropped Gwen to her death... and again in the Season 2 premiere when Venom tosses Spider-Man off a ledge in his dream (seems like Venom loves this trope).
The Sandman has one upon seeing his new form. Bit of a subversion though, as it doesn't take long before he decides that he doesn't mind the change too much after all.
Venom does love it. He does a Big "NO!" of his own after being force-fed gene-cleanser and seeing the symbiote slowly separate from him.
Bittersweet Ending - Season 2's ending took the universe's directive to screw Peter over at every turn and ran with it so fast it mocked The Flash. Congrats, Spidey, you finally defeated the biggest baddie of them all. Only a) you had to traumatize your best friend to do it and pretty much black spot Spider-Man forever for him as a result (Which will likely drive him into becoming the new Green Goblin), b) You don't have a girlfriend to show for it (and on top of that, Gwen is going to be utterly miserable as a result of feeling sorry for the manipulative Harry), and c) You didn't really defeat the Goblin because Norman Osborn is still alive.
Blackmail - Green Goblin unsuccessfully attempts this twice with L. Thompson Lincoln, threatening to out him as Tombstone if he won't step down as The Big Man, or won't come to the Goblin's Death Course.
More succesfully, he forces Liz's brother to try and kill Spider-man.
Green Goblin also sometimes makes a comment in a way that may or may not be directed at the audience.
Green Goblin: *Looks at camera* "Anyone else getting deja vu?"
Later he comments that he has decided to speak in rhyme. He might be talking to the audience, or he might just be talking to himself.
Briar Patching - Used and referenced during one of Spidey's fights with Shocker.
Brick Joke: A subtle one. In Reaction, Spidey webs up a nerdy guy and a pretty girl to keep them out of the way of a runaway car. In Gangland, a season later, the same two characters show up, when she accepts his proposal on Valentine's Day.
In this show, it seems even the villains have character development moments.
You can see Eddie Brock's slow descent into anger and insanity long before the symbiote shows up.
Chair Reveal - Tombstone; Green Goblin pulls this on Tombstone in Tombstone's office
Check Please - Said by Doc Ock, to a waiter who, fortunately for him, knows better than to respond with anything other than "It's on the house".
Chekhov's Gun - Connors' formula, seen in the first episode, and later, the gene cleanser antidote Peter hides in his room. The latter was a subversion, as he eventually decides to just pour it down the drain.
Venom: "You want the wall-crawler? Then here's a scoop - Peter Parker is Spider-Man!"
And of course there's the infamous 'Norman Osborn is alive' series ending.
Clingy Costume: Due to a Freak Lab Accident, Max Dillon/Electro was turned into an energy being with Power Incontinence, and needs to wear a suit with restraints in order to touch anything/not fry any electrical equipment in the near vicinity. Even with the suit, he cannot eat and is deprived of most normal human interaction, so it's no wonder he became Ax-Crazy pretty quickly.
Clip Show - "Intervention" contains a lot of archival footage
Compilation Movie - The first DVD release "Attack of the Lizard", contains the first three episodes but is advertised as a movie. The other arcs were originally supposed to follow suit, but this idea was eventually scrapped.
Composite Character - Montana of the Enforcers and the Shocker (originally Herman Schultz in the comics) are now a single character.
Tombstone is taking the role of the Kingpin from the comics. Quite possibly because the Kingpin couldn't be used on the show.
For that matter, People call him the Big Man on the show while Big Man was a completely different character in the comics.
Hammerhead combines aspects of the original comics' Hammerhead and Hammer Harrison of the Enforcers, the latter of which mostly comes through from the punching-based fighting style and distinctive knuckledusters.
Sable Manfredi is a combination of Silver Sable (appearances and fighting skills) and Alisha Silver from the 90s Spider-Man cartoon (being the daughter of Silvermane).
The Burglar on this show is a combination of Uncle Ben's killer and Black Cat's father.
Liz Allan is one of Liz and Michele Gonzales
Speaking of Liz, her brother Mark Allan is one of himself and Betty's brother Bennett, who also had gambling problems which didn't work too well for him.
Conspicuous CG - The 3-D black helicopters tend to stick out against the bright, flat backgrounds and characters.
The camera that goes down the stairs in "Group Therapy", kinda looks like something out of Doom
And then there's the falling Christmas tree...
And the helicopter Harry Osborn is impressively adept at piloting...
Creator Thumbprint - Anyone who's seen Gargoyles knows that Weisman loves his Shakespeare; and it's worked its way into Spidey's season 2 as well. Especially "Growing Pains" and "Opening Night", which use the play's auditions and performance, respectively, to throw in appropriate quotes whenever possible:
Sha Shan:(shown right after Venom appeared) Why strewest thou sugar on that bottled spider, whose deadly web ensnareth thee about? Fool, fool! The day will come to curse this venomous bunchback toad!
"Opening Night" especially, constantly throwing out connections between the play and Spider-Man's current situation. The Green Goblin starts quoting Puck's lines himself eventually.
Cross Referenced Titles: All of the story arcs are linked by episode titles referring to various high school subjects.
Crying Little Kid - Inverted. The child's mother pushes her out of harm's way, but remains in danger herself until Spider-Man swings to the rescue.
Mysterio and Tinker play it straight, though. Those Ridiculously Human Robots must cost a ton of money, and they would likely make them tons of profit legitimately. Green Goblin's squad of hover-tanks would also revolutionize warfare if he sold them to the government instead of giving them to gang-bangers.
Sort of. Given Norman Osborn's history of screwing genius inventors out of their ideas, creating Ridiculously Human Robots and using them for petty crime might be the only near-viable course of action available.
Dangerously Genre Savvy - Venom actually decides to take advantage of the knowledge that Peter held, rather than just go out and fight him like in most of his other appearances.
When Silvermane is trying to crush Peter to death, the latter manages to shoot some webs into his eyes. Instead of dropping him, Silvermane cries out that he's blind, pauses thoughtfully, and notes that he doesn't need to see to keep crushing him. Dang.
Dating Do-Si-Do: Where to begin! Peter and Liz, Flash and Liz, Flash and Sha Shan, Gwen and Harry, Glory and Harry, Glory and Kenny, MJ and Peter, MJ and Mark, and so on...
Wouldn't it be more interesting to start from one of them, then branch off and see how they are all connected? - Such as: MJ and Mark, MJ and Peter, Peter and Liz, Peter and Gwen, Gwen and Harry, Harry and Glory, Glory and Kenny...Somehow fit Flash and Liz in there to keep the connection going.
Deadly Dodging - Spider-Man does this to cause Shocker to destroy a building, and again to get the Rhino to rupture sewer pipes. And constantly during the Sinister Six fight.
Lampshaded in the first season finale when he tricks Venom into punching a float, causing it to slowly descend:
Spider-man: (to Venom) "Now shouldn't y'all have seen that coming?"
Subverted in the second season when RHINO, of all people, manages to make this backfire on him.
Deadpan Snarker - Most of the characters have mild instances of this. Like always, Spidey is the king of deadpan snarking. His biology professor also has a few good lines:
Liz: Ooh! Couldn't Flash tutor me instead? Professor Warren: I'm not sure you understand. We want your grade to go up.
Special mention goes to John Jameson, who reacts to his growing twice his size and having to wear a containment suit with snarking.
Black Cat:"Just don't get any of your goo in my hair.".
Black Cat: "If you're fed up enough with the thankless hero thing to match your image to mine, then I have to ask, are we going to bad guys together, partner ... or just plain bad?"
Mysterio: "A bit too soon to gloat, Spider-Man." Spidey: "Well, you are the expert on premature gloatalation."
Rand: She's in your bio class, man. Flash: Oh, she's in my bio class, all right.
Downer Ending - Thanks to the cancellation of the series, we're stuck with the downer season 2 ending as the last episode of the series. John Jameson is still driven mad with power. Eddie is driven insane from losing the symbiote. The Connors lost their jobs due to Miles Warren blackmailing them. Warren is now solely in charge of the science lab. The symbiote is still running around somewhere. Black Cat hates Spider-Man. Mark Allen is still stuck as Molten Man. Mysterio, Kraven, Hammerhead, and even Tombstone are still loose. The Rhino specs are still on the streets. Peter breaks up with Liz, who now (deservedly?) hates his guts. Worst of all, Peter and Gwen finally admit they love each other, except Harry overhears and ends up tricking Gwen into staying with him after he sees his father's demise. Gwen is probably miserable, staying with Harry only because she thinks that he may go back on Globulin Green if she leaves. Peter is filled with heartbreak over losing Gwen, despair over the hatred he has spurned for Spider-Man in Harry, and guilt over killing his best friend's dad. And Norman Osborn isn't even dead; in fact, he's taking a nice vacation to the Tropics! Just about the only character who got a totally happy ending here and deserved it is Flash Thompson.
A meta example of a downer ending for fans who thought this was the best Spider-man series and then got a much uh less well received series as a replacement.
Dramatic Irony - Peter sees Jameson is calling him and doesn't pick up his phone, presuming that he's just going to yell about not getting pictures; instead he's calling to let Peter know Aunt May had a heart attack.
In season 1, Tombstone and Spidey team up against the Green Goblin, with both saving the other's lives. Things return to normal between them afterwards though.
Two examples in "Accomplices", where Silver Sable and Hammerhead (both The Dragon to feuding rival crime bosses) briefly team up to take out Spidey, who keeps butting into their battle. Later on there's a reluctant team-up between Spidey and Rhino to destroy what Silver Sable and Hammerhead were after, a flash drive containing specs on how to equip multiple mercenaries with Rhino armor. The second this objective is completed, Rhino tries to smash Spidey.
Tombstone also does this when caught out in public with Doctor Octopus and Silvermane in a cybernetic exoskeleton, seeing as he's a Villain with Good Publicity he has to fight alongside Spider-Man until the cameras are no longer pointed at him..
Enemy Within - The Symbiote in "Intervention". After it fuses with Eddie Brock at the end of the same episode, they become...
Even Evil Has Standards - Doc Ock politely asks and waits for Aunt May and Anna Watson to excuse themselves from the upcoming brawl between the Sinister Six and Spidey, even halting Rhino as he tries to charge through them.
That may be a nod to a brief storyline where Doc Ock tried to marry Aunt May in the comics.
Also Tombstone due to the fact he helps stop Green Goblin's first attack on innocent people.
Although Tombstone never does anything to jeopardize his flawless reputation.
Everything Is Online - Played straight, then subverted in the Engineering arc when Master Planner's telepathic microchip link-up can force traffic lights, cash registers, and even coffee makers to go haywire, but then requires the assistance of Captain Stacy to get the Homeland Security codes he needs, as they are on a closed network.
Green Goblin: "Oh, just the fire and brimstone pumpkin bomb I left behind as a present for our dear Mr. Lincoln. Any minute now the creme de la creme of New York City is going to paint the town red! Well the ballroom anyway...." *evil laugh*
Evil vs. Evil: In season one, we have the Green Goblin vs. Tombstone and his gang. In season two, we have Dr. Ock and the Sinister Six vs. Silvermane and his gang vs. Tombstone and his gang (with Hammerhead as The Starscream). And then the Goblin came back and outplayed them all.
Evolving Credits - Once Mary-Jane Watson becomes a regular character, she is added to the opening sequence.
Exact Eaves Dropping - Season 2 finale - Harry overhears Peter and Gwen finally admitting their true feelings to each other... as well as their realization that they have to break up with their current significant others to be able to actually do anything. Guess who Gwen is dating?
Face-Heel Turn - Eddie Brock was originally Peter's friend at the start of season one, but over time he developed a burning hatred for Peter Parker AND Spider-Man. After he bonds with the symbiote, he learns that they're the same person and becomes Venom.
The Faceless - The Chameleon's real face is concealed behind a featureless white full-head mask.
Mysterio, when he has his crystal ball-shaped helmet on.
Failed a Spot Check - "Group Therapy" Peter doesn't know the Sinister Six have escaped despite it being the number one item in the news. Aunt May's absence also eludes him.
Also, S02 E07: Identity crisis, in which two thugs see Flash dressed up as Spider-Man wearing a cast and decide to beat the stuffing out of him... In front of about fifty reporters.
Faking the Dead - Norman Osborn (Green Goblin) in the season 2 finale. He even changes his appearance and leaves on a plane.
Fallen Hero - Peter Parker came VERY close when he gained the symbiote. However Eddie Brock didn't fare so well, though not a superhero he did pull some pretty courageous moves at the start of the season.
Also John Jameson when the spores begin to affect his mind. He got better...kinda and sadly will stay that way since there is no season 3.
Family-Friendly Firearms - While the guns most people carry are supposed to be realistic "shoot bullets" ones, they sound more like lasers or silenced shots. High-tech villains such as the Green Goblin, however, are all about shooting beams. There's also a couple of instances of Abnormal Ammo, although these are rarer.
Doc Connors's son points out that he has no reason to think his father will recognize him as the Lizard since actual lizards generally don't stick around to raise their young.
Goblin says he has a flash drive containing information that would cripple Tombstone's operations that he got from the captured Hammerhead, and tells him to come to a location at a certain time to get it. Tombstone says it's a trap. Spider-Man sees him leaving Tombstone's office, and attacks him. Goblin tells him the same thing he told Tombstone, and Spidey says it's a trap. Both men show up later, and meet outside the aforementioned location, and agree it's a trap. Guess what? It's a trap. In fact, Hammerhead points out that he never made any "insurance", and is insulted by the assumption he wouldn't be loyal. Goblin points out that everyone knew it was a trap anyway.
In "Probable Cause", the class is on a police cruiser ridealong field trip. Mark Allan and Mary Jane start flirting in the backseat, prompting the cop riding shotgun to nudge his partner and remark, "So are we on a ridealong, or a ridealong ridealong?"
Glad I Thought of It - J. Jonah Jameson does this with Peter Parker's idea to take pictures of Spider-Man.
Good Feels Good - Interesting use in Flash's case. After trying and failing to get Sha Shan to go out with him for quite some time, he finally(and unintentionally) gets her attention by doing the right thing and reporting Harry's use of performance enhancers during football games, at the cost of the team's recently-won championship.
Goofy Print Underwear - "Okay, the thermals with the hearts were half-price and in no way reflect my very high macho quotient!"
Hearing Voices: When Spider-Man's bonded to the symbiote, it speaks to him in his head using a voice only slightly different from his own. Spider-Man doesn't realize that the voice isn't part of his own thoughts until it's almost too late.
Heart Symbol - Peter and Gwen hide from reporters behind a sculpture with a heart shaped window that frames their faces.
Heavy Sleeper - in "Group Therapy", Peter or rather, the symbiote using Peter's body while he's asleep, fights AND defeats the Sinister Six.
Heroic Bystander - Eddie Brock defends his friends from Electro, and helps Spider-Man fight the Lizard. John Jameson helps Spidey find a timebomb. Flash Thompson subverts this, putting himself in harm's way several times, but other times plays it straight to help Spidey out.
A variation in Opening Night, as the Cat Burglar decides to unleash the tranquilizer gas on the escaped prisoners, leading to him being knocked out as well, and going back to prison.
High-Altitude Interrogation - In the episode "Shear Strength," Gwen is being held hostage by The Master Planner, and Spidey attempts to get information out of the captured Tinkerer by dangling him off a building. Tinkerer wisely calls his bluff (Spidey doesn't kill after all), and Spidey really does drop him, only to save him with a webline at the last minute so he'll talk.
Hit Flash - In a shocker for an action cartoon series, this trope is almost completely averted; the only time it's used is for the first-person perspective punches.
Hopeless Suitor - Liz Allan verges on this with Peter in the second season, even when they actually are dating. Despite being completely empathetic and nice to him, Peter is preoccupied with Gwen for most of the time, to the point that when leaving in the middle of a date, he apologizes to Gwen who is double-dating with Harry and ignores Liz.
And The Invisible Hand and Intervention have homage shots to panels from Amazing Spider-Man #42◊ and Amazing Fantasy #15, respectively.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Kenny and Glory, though she's actually a normal height; it's just that any girl would look tiny compared to him. (In "Gangland" they danced without her feet even touching the ground.)
I Shall Taunt You - Spidey's preferred method of fighting the bad guys is to quip until they get so pissed off that they lose focus. Doesn't work very well against Green Goblin, who matches him taunt for taunt. Spider-Man even compliments him on his banter.
It Only Works Once - Doc Ock explicitly mentions that none of the previous methods Spider-Man has used to beat the members of the Sinister Six will work again. He has an alternate power source, Vulture has an armored control unit, Electro can now control his powers in water, and Rhino is no longer dumb enough to enter closed spaces.
It's Always Spring - Averted. Time passes realistically, with Season 1 going from September to November and Season 2 from December to March.
Jerkass Has a Point - "OK, if Flash Thompson is making sense, something must be seriously wrong."
Jerk Jock - Flash Thompson, Kenny "King" Kong. Flash is softening up, though; He's the one who brought Pete back down to earth and clued him in on the way he was acting
Jerk with a Heart of Gold - J. Jonah Jameson. Phenomenal jerk? You betcha, but he's a phenomenal jerk that would risk death by a giant rhino-man to protect a worker (less dramatically but more consistently, he's also a proud and loving father, putting him in marked contrast to Norman Osborn). Also Flash Thompson by Season 2.
Kick the Morality Pet/ Mistaken for Murderer - Dr. Octopus attacks Spider-Man on the wrong accusation that he tried to kill him because the doc thought Spider-Man figured out he "created" Sandman and Rhino; it was actually Green Goblin behind the accident.
Doc Ock: Do not insult my intelligence, hero! You tracked me down and tried to destroy me! As I knew you would.
Spider-Man: Destroy you? Pal, I don't even know you!
Lampshaded Double Entendre - Peter and Harry both know what "nice personality" usually means, and the viewers are expected to as well.
Doc Ock, especially the first time he speaks after his "Freak Lab Accident": "Silence, you imperiousmoron!!!" He later gets scenery-chewing lines like "Arachniiiiid!", "TREACHERYYYYYYYYYY!!!", and ""L. Thompson Lincoln is WEAK!!!"
Left Hanging - As of the second season finale, there are a few unresolved plot threads, such as Miles Warren taking control of Connors' old lab and using it to perform illegal experiments to create super soldiers.
Leitmotif - Snippets from the 60's and 90's series can be heard in the background music. Several of the characters have melodies associated with them as well, or failing that have some kind of instrument that accompanies them - the most notable of these is Rhino, whose menacing fanfare tends to take over the soundtrack whenever he's on a rampage.
Lies to Children - When Venom webs up Gwen to a Thankgiving parade balloon and a little boy notices, his mother nervously says "She's so lifelike!"
Miles Warren actually lampshades (or justifies, depending on your point of view) this by saying that the only way to get the gene-altering formula to work is to catalyze it with a big dose of electricity.
Love Dodecahedron - The dynamics of the Midtown high group are enormously complicated, but succinctly - Gwen and Liz both like Peter, Peter likes Gwen & Liz and also MJ, MJ flirts with Flash but also comes to really like Mark Allen, Liz has lingering feelings for ex-boyfriend Flash, who finds MJ attractive but then focusses on Sha-Shan, Gwen dates Harry, who previously dated Glory, who left him somewhat inexplicably for Kenny, and I'm sure there are others in there.
Love Triangle - A fairly straightforward one as of the end of season 2 between Harry, Gwen and Peter. complicated by the fact that Harry is aware of Peter and Gwen's mutual attraction, but they are unaware that he knows.
Also, Peter, Eddie Brock and the Symbiote. Yeah.
Also an unusual Fatherly Love Triangle. Harry is Norman's son and wants Norman to be proud of him. Norman doesn't care about Harry, but is proud of Peter and wants Peter to think of him like a father. Peter is creeped out by Norman and wants nothing to do with him, but doesn't want to (further) alienate his friend Harry.
MacGuffin Melee: Spidey, Hammerhead, Silver Sable, and eventually the Rhino, all throwdown over a disk with technology that will allow the wielder to create their own Rhino-like henchman. Spider-Man and Rhino team up since they don't want that (Spidey does not want more Rhino's, and Rhino likes being the only game in town), allowing them to break the stalemate.
Made of Iron - Doctor Octopus's abilities reside solely in his Combat Tentacles, with his being a fairly unathletic middle-aged scientist meaning he doesn't really have any physical abilities of his own to speak of. Despite this, he can somehow takes hits at least as well as any other character in the show.
A more obscure one. In the original comics Foswell was a reporter who used the inside information he gained to make sure his alias "The Big Man" was untouchable. Many people thought we would see Foswell return to that role.
Though a lot of these were the result of the machinations of one or more of the show's three Big Bads - Tombstone, Doc Ock, or Norman Osborn, rather than isolated encounters. What's really interesting is the show's justification for why there are so many supervillains running around: The Big Bads had them created to keep Spider-Man busy and thus unable to interfere with their standard criminal operations.
Combining this with possible Foreshadowing, Stan Carter complains that Spider-Man "doesn't go far enough" when dealing with criminals. The comicbook version of Carter was actually the psychotic vigilante Sin-Eater, who went way beyond "far enough" including the murder of Jean DeWolff
Doc Ock had two girls on his arms in "Accomplices", and the blond one of them bears a resemblance to Stunner, one of Doc's in-comic girls. Some say the black haired one looks a bit like Mary-Alice, his first fiance.
As it happens in pretty much every animated series he appears, Mysterio battles Spidey in a movie lot. This also happens regularly in comic books; justified because of Mysterio's former job as stuntman and special effects expert.
As well as some to the fans for example, lack of banter was a complaint about the movies, so when Doc Ock yells "Do you ever shut up!?" during a fight, Spidey responds with"Sorry, no. My fans expect a certain amount of quippage in every battle."
The Season 2 episode "Shear Strength" has Spidey trapped into a situation similar to the comic books, where he had to save the life of a loved one despite being buried under a big fricking machine.
In "Opening Night" Montana resorts to his comic book weapon: a lasso, only in this case one made from sheets.
The fact that Frederick Foswell was investigating Tombstone/The Big Man could be a reference to the fact that in the comics, Foswell was himself the Big Man.
Kingsley Lampshading his Bait and Switch, also saying "the classics are the best." In the comics, Kingsley was the Hobgoblin and had multiple people to take the fall for it, and the Hobgoblin's intended identity had a habit of being changed fairly frequently. This is, of course, a classic storyline and Kingsley is a fan favourite.
The story arc leading up to Mary Jane's reveal was done in the same vein as her original debut in the comics, with Peter being unsure of how she looks and assuming the worst before being proven dead wrong, capped off with this classic line:
Mary Jane: Face it, Tiger: you just hit the jackpot.
In "Reaction," Spiderman stops a stolen truck using almost exactly the same technique that he did to stop a train in the second Sam Raimi film.
The field trip flashback in "Intervention" is an almost line-for-line, shot-for-shot recreation of the scene in the first movie, albeit with Gwen instead of Mary Jane. The rest of the flashback borrows a few more iconic scenes, with a few of the lines changed to avoid a lawsuit.
In "Survival of the Fittest," Pete tells himself that "Spider-Man's a wallcrawler, not a wallflower," before asking out Sally Avril. This is a callback to Amazing Fantasy #15 (Spidey's first appearance in comics), in which Peter Parker was referred to as a "professional wallflower." He also tried asking out a girl named Sally, only to be rejected.
A possible meta example calling back to the '90s series; on that series, the Moral Guardians insisted that Spider-Man not disturb pigeons on rooftops, for fear they might get hurt. In the cartoon, not only does Peter disturb a group of pigeons just by walking past them (they get scared of his shadow) but he is also thrown into a stack of cages holding them. None are visibly hurt, but this seems like a Take That to the censors for the previous cartoon.
Gwen Stacy's black headband finally turns up in the last few minutes of "Final Curtain"
Peter - "The guy calling himself "Venom", does that name inspire trust?"
Nature Versus Nurture: The title of the season one finale. It concerns the different upbringings between Peter Parker and Eddie Brock.
Brock: Our parents may have died together, but you had your precious aunt and uncle. We had no one, we've always been alone... until now.
Necro Cam - The camera dives into Peter's bloodstream after the spider bites him in the opening theme.
Also when we see Dr. Octopus' harness merge with his spine.
Nerd Glasses - Otto Octavius' coke-bottle lenses reduce his eyes to hazy black dots
Never My Fault - The people at fault dump blame on poor ol' Peter all the time.
Epitomized by Max/Electro. His condition came as a direct result of his own carelessness (placing a power screw driver on top of the server rack he's working on, trying to force the server out of it's casing, and disregarding electrical safety, all while in a lab full of volatile experiments and hyper electric eels) but the way he talks about it, all blame falls on Doc Connors.
Never Say "Die" - The occasional "destroy" still gets dropped, but so do actual terms like murder and die.
Largely averted with this rather bloodthirsty line in "Group Therapy"...
Doc Ock: "Rhino, you won the coin toss. Will you crush his skull or simply impale his heart on your horn?"
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - Peter wasn't responsible for Electro's descent into darkness, but he sure helped push him over the edge.
Nigh Invulnerable - The Rhino can bust through walls and survive a fall from the top floor of a building unscathed. His environs aren't so lucky. Hammerhead can likewise smash walls with his extraordinarily hard skull.
No One Could Survive That - Season 2 finale. The Green Goblin, a.k.a. Norman Osborn, atop his trademark flyer sails right into a roof-mounted pumpkin-bomb launcher—which proceeds to go boom with gusto. At the end of the episode, we see a newly blond and facial-hair-sporting Norman Osborn boarding a flight to a tropical island.
It's turned into a running gag, what with Black Cat kissing him in "Persona", and then Liz Allan kissing him in "Shear Strength". Same reaction every time (Though he said the kiss from Gwen was a lot more shocking to him than the one from Black Cat)
Power Echoes - In Electro's debut, when Spider-Man took off his protective mask, his first words outside the mask echoed eerily.
Electro: "You shouldn't have done that! You really shouldn't have done that..."
Interestingly enough, his voice doesn't echo at all after that.
Power Nullifier - The "gene cleanser" antidote for Curt Connors' transformation, a tube of which Peter considers taking himself, and later washes down the sink, as an affirmation that Spider-man is "his destiny".
Promotion to Opening Titles - Played straight, then Zig-Zagged. The theme from the first few episodes showcased our ¡Three Amigos! plus J. Jonah Jameson. In episode 10, Mary Jane replaced Harry's spot and since then, Peter, along with the three other characters most important to the episode's story are used in the credits.
Psycho Electro - Electro, in his debut episode, provides a perfect example of this trope, essentially running around in a panic and discharging voltage uncontrollably. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't get much better; if anything, he's gotten worse.
Race Lift - Used heavily. Liz Allan is now Latina. Ned Leeds is now Asian, and re-named Ned Lee. Kenny "King Kong" McFarlane is now Kenny "King" Kong, also Asian. Jean De Wolff is Native American, Debra Whitman and Roderick Kingsley are African-American, and the Warren brothers are of Arab descent. Also, Fancy Dan is apparently Indian and Ox is African-American (though this last was already true in the "Ultimate" comics.
In a Continuity Nod, we see this guy propose to the same girl in "Gangland".
Required Secondary Powers: Mentioned with regularity. Notably, the Shocker can take tons of punishment for the same reason that he is unharmed by his own weaponry.
On the other hand, the Rhino has the incredible strength that allows him to move around wearing a few tons of plate armor.
Rhymes on a Dime: While his isn't usually an example, the Green Goblin does this in "Opening Night". Not only is it lampshaded, but it's also partially justified: several of his lines are quotes from Shakespeare's verse. It also acts as a clue to the Goblin's identity: Harry Osborn, the prime suspect behind the mask, was supposed to be playing Puck in a school play, and all of the Shakespeare lines are Puck quotes. Turned out to be a Red Herring, but nice touch...
Right Hand Versus Left Hand - From a few obscure lines, you'd think that the Sinister Six were going to tear themselves apart through arguments, which is what Spider-Man has invoked in other adaptations. Instead they stayed relatively cool with each other, but their individual attacks would accidently take out other teammates.
Road Trip Across The Street - Justified by Harry insisting on driving Peter to his date, and not realizing they lived on the same street.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules! - Tombstone offers to buy Spider-Man's services in exchange for looking the other way now and then, but he declines. Though he takes the deal when fused with the Symbiote, once it's gone, he rejects the offer again.
That one was also used in Weisman's other show Gargoyles episode "Future Tense", where Xanatos said the exact same thing.
While fighting a giant Sandman, Spider-Man cribs a line from Greg Weisman's time on W.I.T.C.H. regarding the similar villain Sandpit: "How am I supposed to beat up a beach?"
That's another one that goes all the way back to Gargoyles; after the heroes defeat a massive amount of sand controlled by the Archmage, he gloats that they accomplished nothing other than beating up a beach.
Weisman loves this trope so much he actually used it for foreshadowing. In the school play, Harry Osborn was to play the role of Puck, and was one of the big suspects for being the Green Goblin. At the time of the play, Harry was absent (which forced them to use the understudy) and the Goblin was off doing evil and quoting Puck. Turned out to be a Red Herring, but excellent touch.
Skyward Scream - A minor version in the season finale; after Venom ties Spidey up and threatens to destroy everything in his life, the camera pulls out just a little bit as Spidey lets out a fairly low-grade Big "NO!".
Slave to PR - To preserve his public image, Tombstone refuses to do or say anything villainous when civilians that could incriminate him are around.
Slippery Skid - Spidey uses bowling balls to try and stop The Rhino
Smart Ball - Rhino may be portrayed as fairly unintelligent in this series, but he was the only one to connect Peter Parker to Spider-Man completely on his own. In Season 2, as noted above, he also manages to turn Spider-man's signature Deadly Dodging against him, being one of the few(if not the only) villain in this series to do so.
Smug Snake - Miles Warren (who admittedly seems perfectly content as right-hand-man to real Magnificent Bastard Norman Osborn), Hammerhead (in the Gang War arc, when he turns against Tombstone only to become the Goblin's pawn.)
So Proud of You - Osborn, after revealed to be the real Green Goblin, says he's never been so proud of Harry in the second season finale. A shame poor Harry probably didn't hear him...
Soundtrack Dissonance - The episode Gangland has a three-way(four after Spidey joins the fray) fight between Tombstone, Silvermane, and Doc Ock set to opera music. Justified in that an opera show was playing at the time.
Spot of Tea - John Devereaux was having one in the faculty lounge in "Identity Crisis".
The Starscream: Pretty much everyone's Dragon in the gang war arc, especially Hammerhead, which is surprising because he seemed to be extremely faithful toward his leader. However, he is understandably fired by said boss shortly after they (or at least the boss) were arrested.
Both Aunt May and Stan the Dockworker respond to an odd situation by asking if they are being punked.
Early in the series (before he met Mary Jane), Aunt May would try to get Peter to meet Mary Jane, saying she had a wonderful personality and Peter would shudder (interpreting wonderful personality as a synonym for "ugly"). Late in the series, the Green Goblin comments on the Master Planner's "wonderful personality" and does an identical shudder.
Stripperific: Mary Jane's Halloween costume shows off a lot of skin. Which is odd, considering they're in New York, which gets pretty cold around October/November.
Superpowered Evil Side - The Green Goblin. And naturally, with the addition of the alien symbiote, Spider-Man's getting his very own. At first, it simply made him slightly more ruthless and convinced him to lie to protect it. But apparently, it took over completely during his second confrontation with the Sinister Six, given that he doesn't remember the battle afterwards, he didn't make a single quip during it, and he nearly killed Doc Ock before Captain Stacy told him not to.
Talking Is a Free Action - Subverted. When Spider-Man takes the time to say "Woah! My Spider-Sense is tingli—!" he is caught in a net before he can finish. Afterwards, he never announces his spider-sense in the heat of battle again.
During Venom's Thanksgiving fight with Spider-Man (Spidey cannot sense Venom thanks to his "quality time" spent with the symbiote), Venom says "What's the matter? Spider-sense didn't... tingle?"
Tempting Fate - At the beginning of "Natural Selection": "Looks like I'm finally making all the right decisions... all the right choices."
The very first episode has "Tell me there's something better. Go ahead, try."
Chameleon, Beck, and Mason start out as one, with the somewhat unusual detail that all three are the Evil Genius type of villain.
The Enforcerers: Fancy Dan, Montana and The Ox, with Tombstone as their superior. (They later get Powered Armor, becoming Richochet, Shocker and... Still Ox.)
Theme Tune Cameo - In the season 2 episode "Probable Cause" Ox starts humming the show's theme tune while he and the other Enforcers are riding down an elevator. When Shocker and Ricochet look at him incredulously he responds ...
Too Dumb to Live: When Spidey apparently walks right into an ambush and gets pounded, Shocker uses these exact words to describe him. He's wrong though.
Took a Level in Badass - Eddie Brock returns in the second season with what seems to be his own mechanical webshooters, and, more importantly, enough ninja skills to reliably track Spidey across the city and mislead him into thinking that Venom is back before actually reuniting with the symbiote. Justified since Eddie is a Genius Bruiser plus his temporary fusion with the symbiote gave him access to Peter's experiences and knowledge, including how to make the web shooters and Spider-Man's usual patrolling routes.
Trap Is the Only Option - The Green Goblin sets an extremely obvious trap for both Tombstone and Spiderman, which fool neither but which he baits too well for them to ignore. When they show up together they both know it's a trap, and Goblin even lampshades it when - surprise surprise - the bait turns out to be completely fake.
Goblin (blowing up explosives all over the building): "Yes, yes, I'm a big fat liar. Like we didn't all know this was a trap."
Peter: I'd like a word. J. Jonah Jameson: How about "scram?" Or two words? "Scram kid!" Or seventeen? "Get out of my office in two-point-three seconds or I'll staple you to a flagpole!" Peter: How did you count—?
The Unfettered: According to Word of God, the phlebotinium giving powers to Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin didn't cause a personality split/involuntary insanity as in other versions. Instead, it removed all of the inhibitions of their civilian identities, and their villainy is a conscious choicenote although it is ambiguous whether the original person would have wanted to go as far as they do post-transformation, leaving open the possibility of some Split Personality Takeover
Unlucky Childhood Friend - Gwen has this problem when trying to get Peter to notice her. Even after she kissed him, Pete is... "easily distracted," as MJ put it, and falls for the much more direct Liz Allen.
Unskilled, but Strong: Rhino and Sandman, they're both stronger than the villains that contend for the show's Big Bad position, but aren't very smart. Despite that Spiderman still always requires some sort of plot device or trick to beat them, and Spiderman once needed to get rescued from Rhino when he had nothing around he could use to beat him.
Uptown Girl: Peter Parker and Liz Allan are played this way.
Venom: You want the wallcrawler? Then here's a scoop: PETER PARKER IS SPIDER-MAN!
What the Hell, Hero?: Peter gets this during the Lizard arc, since he has to ditch the crisis to change into Spider-Man, only for photos of the fight show up in the Daily Bugle—how are his friends not supposed to think that he turned tail and ran because of fear and greed?
Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys? - So far, it hasn't been mentioned where his webbing comes from, or where the web shooters themselves came from, or how he got his hands on a spotlight that fits on his belt and projects an image of his mask.
Not to mention, how did he sew that suit without his aunt catching on to what he was doing?
You Fight Like a Cow - Spidey's famous battle patter. Averted in "Group Therapy", where he takes down the Sinister Six without a word, because he's asleep. Octopus even says that he knew Spidey was getting serious when he stopped quipping.
The Green Goblin is also pretty good at it too, as when Spidey mocks him in battle, Goblin just banters right back perfectly. This is lampshaded by Spidey.