Western Animation: The Spectacular Spider-Man
aka: The Spectacular Spider-Man
"Tell me there's something better. Go ahead, try."
Livin' on the edge, fightin' crime, spinning webs! The Spectacular Spider-Man
Swinging from the highest ledge! He can leap above our heads!
is a short-lived animated take on Marvel Comics
' web-slinging superhero
, headed by Greg Weisman
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-Man and couldn't continue
, leaving the series on a major 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
Though strangely it is one of the few Spiderman cartoons to be absent from (Canadian) Netflix, despite being among the most popular.
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.
- To a lesser extent there was also Norman Osborn's/ The Chameleon's phone conversation wth a "Gargan." Clearly foreshadowing Scorpion.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The New York sewer system is marvelously cavernous, convenient for Spidey and his Rogues Gallery's fights.
- Abusive Parents: Norman Osborn barely conceals contempt for his son Harry, from snide criticisms to blatant displays of favoritism towards Harry's best friend Peter. Harry's mother barely acknowledges him.
- 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.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: Harry Osborn snubs his old friends once he's In with the In Crowd. He gets better after his temporary absence, though.
- 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 Distillation: The series is already well thought of by comic fans.
- 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."
- Adaptation Name Change: Silver Sable's real name, due to being Silvermane's daughter here, is Sable Mandfredi, not Silver Sablinova.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- Frederick Foswell, who in the comics was the villain Big Man, but here that name went to Tombstone, leaving Foswell as a regular reporter.
- In the original comics, Sha Shan Nguyen started off as a Spider-Man villain named Sister Sun. In Spectacular, she was a normal high school student and Flash Thompson's Replacement Love Interest.
- Adaptational Villainy:
- Air-Vent Passageway: Black Cat uses it as an entrance.
- All-Cheering All the Time: One episode has the supporting cast quoting Shakespeare passages in auditioning for the school play. Sally turns hers into a cheer. Needless to say, she doesn't get a part.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Peter asks the Alpha Bitch Sally out, and later dates Liz. Ultimately averted, as his true feelings are for Gwen.
- All of the Other Reindeer
- All Just a Dream: The fight with Venom at the start of "Blueprints".
- Almost Kiss: Peter and Gwen in "Identity Crisis".
- 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.
- Altum Videtur: Mysterio.
- 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.
- And This Is for...: Spider-Man delivers a particularly violent kick to the Green Goblin for "making [him] protect Tombstone."
- In a later episode, while Flash is in the hospital with a football injury, he gives Kraven a particularly powerful blow with "That's for Flash!" (Beat) "I can't believe I just thought that."
- An Aesop: "Reinforcement": Concentration of fire is important in both love and war.
- Anger Born of Worry - Gwen to Peter.
- Animated Adaptation
- Animation Bump - Fights tends to look really good.
- Animorphism - Curt Connors transforms into the Lizard.
- 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.
- Spider-Man's web bullets to most of his enemies.
- Applied Phlebotinum
- Appropriated Appellation: Many.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
Spider-Man: Hey, Max, don't tell me you're scared of a second-rate schemer with a funny voice!
: First: I ain't scared of nothing! Second: the Master Planner ain't "second-rate" nothing! And third: don't call me "Max"
... OR I'LL FRY YOU INTO NOTHING!!!
- Artificial Limbs: Curt Connors' elaborate prosthetic arm, Doctor Octopus' robotic arms
- Ascended Meme - "Identity Crisis" has Spidey do the "How Do I Shot Web?" pose briefly.◊
- 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.
- Auction of Evil "Accomplices".
- Badass - Venom and Kraven.
- Badass Bookworm - Doctor Octopus.
- Spider-Man himself counts as well.
- 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.
- Badass in a Nice Suit - Hammerhead and Tombstone.
- Badass Longcoat - Doctor Octopus.
- Badass Normal - Black Cat presumably, and George Stacy. Season 2 gives us Sergei Kravinov (Kraven before his transformation) and Silver Sable.
- Hammerhead's limo driver is pretty determined and tough.
- Hammerhead himself counts as well. The metal plate in his head gives him a nasty headbutt, but other than that he's an average joe.
- Shocker also fits the bill. Other than his gauntlets, he's a normal guy.
- Bad-Guy Bar - Montana's Big Sky Billard Room
- Bait and Switch - Kingsley in "Accomplices". He even uses the phrase.
- The Green Goblin's identity is also handled in such a manner.
- Barrier Warrior - This is a secondary function of Shocker's costume, that enables him to survive a building's collapse.
- Bat Signal - Inverted. As in the Silver Age, Spider-Man uses the Spider-Signal to announce his arrival.
- Batman Cold Open - Frequently.
- Battle Butler - Hammerhead's Driver.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind - Peter versus the symbiote, naturally. With Peter getting a little help from Uncle Ben.
- 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.
- Berserk Button: "Don't call me Max! The name is Electro! ELECTRO, I TELL YOU!"
- Benevolent Boss - Tombstone goes out of his way to save Hammerhead.
- Beware the Nice Ones - Otto Octavius.
- BFG - Silver Sable uses one.
- Big Applesauce
- Big Bad - Tombstone, Green Goblin, Venom/the Symbiote, or Dr. Octopus, depending on the Story Arc. See Big Bad Ensemble.
- 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 Eater - Kenny Kong
- 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.
- Bilingual Bonus - Speaking Latin allows you to know that some of Mysterio's ominous intonations are actually hilarious (but very well translated) non sequiturs. See here: http://www.tv.com/the-spectacular-spider-man/mysterio-latin-translations/topic/84600-1263028/msgs.html
- 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.
- Black Best Friend - Rand Robertson to Flash Thompson.
- Robbie to J Jonah Jameson.
- 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.
- Blasting It out of Their Hands - The Green Goblin's mooks shoot a laser rifle out of Heroic Bystander John Jameson's hands.
- Blessed with Suck - Electro is Power Incontinent, when angry, which is often. He has to wear an insulation suit at all times.
- Blindfolded Vision: Used by Spidey in his first fight with Mysterio in order to tell apart what was real and what were illusions with his Spider-Sense, and it was awesome.
- Boobs of Steel - Black Cat and Silver Sable are both pretty well-endowed and both kick butt.
- Book Ends - In the first episode "Tell me there's something better. Go ahead, try."
- Season 2's usage of "Don't apologize. I never do."
- Bottomless Magazines: The spike-ball guns used by the mooks in the Batman Cold Open in "Nature Vs. Nurture."
- Bouncing Battler: Ricochet, who tucks himself into a ball and becomes a living Pinball Projectile once he gets a super suit.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In "Probable Cause", Ox hums the tune of the show's theme song, prompting glares from Shocker and Ricochet.
Ox: "It's catchy!"
- Green Goblin also sometimes makes a comment in a way that may or may not be directed at the audience.
*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.
- Brief Accent Imitation - Spider-Man mocks Shocker in this way.
- Broken Bad - Electro, and especially John Jameson
- The Brute - Hammerhead, the Sandman, the Rhino, and Ox
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday - Mysterio is disappointed that Spider-man doesn't remember him.
Mysterio: Don't pretend you've forgotten. I was the Chameleon's right-hand man!
Spider-man: Oh, right. On the boat! You were...You were dressed as the crewman!
Mysterio: As the waiter!
- By Wall That Is Holey - A hole in the bleachers is quite handy when Venom throws them around
- Candid Camera Prank - When Ned asks Aunt May if Peter is Spider-Man, she looks for a hidden camera and asks if she's being "Punked".
- Cain and Abel - Peter and Eddie, though not blood relatives, fit this nonetheless.
- The Cameo - Stan Lee as "Stan" the Dockworker in Season 2. Character Designer Sean Galloway also appears at a DJ at the dance in Season 1.
- Cannot Spit It Out - Gwen's crush on Peter is a secret to him, and almost everybody else, except Mary Jane and the audience, if they've read the comics.
- Cardboard Prison: Played with and added shades of The Alcatraz and Tailor-Made Prison thrown in. Each major break-out is done only thanks to outside help indicating a more realistic view of prisons even for Supervillains. The cells at the first jail are designed to exploit the weakness of a super-powered criminal. Only Mysterio is shown to break out easily on his own, and that's only because that particular Mysterio turned out to be a Doombot.
- Car Fu - Hammerhead's driver likes to practice it against Silver Sable.
- Casual Danger Dialog
- Card-Carrying Villain - Doc Ock drinks out of an "Evil Genius" coffee mug.
- Ceiling Cling - Spider-Man, Black Cat, Venom. Even Doc Oc gets a little.
- Subverted when the hero is fighting Venom at the school, they eventually end in the gym. Once Venom realizes Spider-man is no where to be seen, the first thing he does is look at the ceiling.
- Character Development - Much. Flash Thompson seems to be getting a fair bit.
- 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.
- Chekhov's Gunman - Most of the series early bird cameos function this way, as ostensibly tertiary characters soon become very important.
- Chest Insignia - Spider-Man's spider.
- Chewbacca Defense - Venom's attempt to out Spidey as Peter Parker in "Identity Crisis"
- The reporters get in on it, stating if Spider-Man is not Peter Parker, there's no reason he shouldn't take off his mask, ignoring that it would reveal whoever he actually is.
- Chick Magnet - Peter. With Gwen, Liz, and of course MJ around, it's a shipping
goldmineminefield. (Cf "BITCHES LOVE SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES").
- This seems to bother Flash and Sally (concerning her friend Liz).
- Christmas Episode: The season two episode "Reinforcements". Featuring the destruction of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, of course.
- Civvie Spandex - Doctor Octopus tops his harness and jumpsuit with an ordinary trenchcoat.
- City of Adventure
- Classy Cat-Burglar - The Black Cat
- Clear My Name - Spider-Man must do this when Master of Disguise the Chameleon impersonates him for a series of robberies; then again when Venom returns and tries to ruin his reputation.
- Cliff Hanger - Big one in "Growing Pains" when Venom bursts through the window of the Bugle and tells Jameson (and in front of Pete):
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
- Closer to Earth - Of the series' ¡Three Amigos!, it is Gwen who is most observant and concerned for Harry.
- Clothing Damage - Spidey's suit receives more rips and tears per episode than in any other adaptation. Despite the strong continuity of the series, it's always good as new by the next battle. Although Pete has noted that garbage stink and smoke smell are hard to remove.
- The Collector of the Strange - Norman Osborn collects masks and other such antiquities. Spidey even briefly considers that his strange collection might be evidence of Norman being the Green Goblin.
- Color Character - Green Goblin, Black Cat, Silver Sable and Silvermane
- Combat Tentacles - Doctor Octopus' four super strong arms are used for battering and throwing, and the claws can rotate like miniature sawblades.
- Come Alone - Green Goblin's warning when baiting Tombstone into a Death Course
- Comes Great Insanity - Electro, Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin. Also a heroic example: John Jameson/"Colonel Jupiter"
- Comes Great Responsibility - Spider-Man. The phrase itself is uttered multiple times throughout the series, which is expected since it's near synonymous with the franchise.
- Sometimes, it's even subverted:
Sandman: [Talking with Spider-Man in the middle of a fight] Gee, you really think I can do some good?
Spider-Man: Well, yeah, I mean with great power comes great—
!! [sucker punches Spidey]
- Compassionate Critic - Norman Osborn towards his son
- 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. In in turns makes Black Cat one with Jessica Caradine.
- 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...
- Conspicuous Trenchcoat - Green Goblin in "Subtext"
- Continuity Nod - "Tell me I didn't fall for a gag I used on Shocker..."
- In "Gangland", we see the nerdy guy Spidey webbed up with a hot girl during a car chase in season 1 proposing to said girl.
- When Mysterio is revealed to be another duplicate in Opening Night, Spidey grimaces "I KNEW he was a bot" after making sure the one he put in jail wasn't, well, a bot. That's irony.
- "I can't believe someone is posing as me, framing me, AGAIN! Please be Chameleon, please be Chameleon"
- And in that same episode, Captain Stacy reminds Jonah what happened last time he jumped the gun when someone impersonated Spidey.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive - Norman Osborn, respected Oscorp CEO, very much exemplifies this trope, working both sides of the fence with impunity. And in his own way, L. Thompson Lincoln/Tombstone.
- Costume Copycat - Chameleon disguises himself as Spider-Man to perform a series of robberies.
- Could Have Been Messy
- 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.
- Curb-Stomp Battle - Tombstone's first encounter with Spidey.
- Also Spider-Man manages to pull one against the Sinister Six in "Group Therapy" after he got the symbiote, but with a twist he was asleep the whole time.
- Curse Cut Short
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check - Inverted. Norman Osborn and the Big Man turn a profit by antagonizing Spider-Man. One gets research funding, while the other keeps Spidey too distracted by Supervillains to bother with him.
- 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.
- Da Editor - "Jolly" J. Jonah Jameson
- Damned by Faint Praise - Subverted, when Aunt May sets Peter up with MJ, saying she has a "wonderful personality." Cue shudder from Peter...until he meets her.
- 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.
- Dark Action Girl - Black Cat, Silver Sable
- Dating Catwoman - Spider-Man and the Black Cat
- 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.
- 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.
- Death by Origin Story - Uncle Ben.
- Death Course - Green Goblin sets up one of these for both Tombstone and Spider-Man at a refinery with No OSHA Compliance.
- Death Glare - Gwen has "The Look", which has the same general effect.
- Death Seeker - Word of God says Eddie Brock is, hence why he's charging at villains like Electro and Lizard early on and does some dangerous cycling later in the season.
- Decomposite Character: Fredrick Forswell isn't the Big Man here.
- Defrosting Ice Queen - Cheerleader Liz Allan warms up to Peter.
- Deliberately Monochrome - The scenes in the Journey to the Center of the Mind in Intervention, including the Super Hero Origin Flash Back.
- Destined Bystander - Nearly all the villains, as well as, probably, Gwen Stacy
- Disco Dan - Hammerhead is a walking throwback to Al Capone-era gangsterism, from his accent to his vintage car.
- Distressed Damsel - Lampshaded when Spider-Man points out that Norman Osborn is his very first rescue of this type. Liz, Gwen, and Mary-Jane all get their moments too.
- Destructive Saviour - Lets just say Spidey has a habit of using the environment. By which I mean breaking it over the opponents face.
- Do I Really Sound Like That?? - "Persona"
Chameleon Spider-Man - "How 'bout a taste of Spider-PUNCH!"
Spider-Man - "Please tell me I don't sound like that, or at least that I offer a higher-quality quip."
- The Dog Bites Back - Dr. Octopus turning on Norman Osborn after his transformation.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind - Discussed by Norman and Harry in the final episode, where Harry brings up the possibility of his mother being the Green Goblin. Norman just shrugs in response with a confused look.
- Dogged Nice Guy - Subverted when Betty Brant turns down Peter's advances after a talk with Aunt May.
- Don't Explain the Joke: "Reinforcements"
Spider-Man: [being knocked into a vehicle] Ohh! Anyone get the number of that sleigh?
Sandman: [laughs] Ain't he a clever boy! [to Rhino] See, it's Christmas Eve and he said "sleigh". You know, instead of "truck"?
- Do They Know It's Christmas Time? - Spidey tries appealing to seasonal spirit to stop the new Sinister Six. No such luck.
- Double Entendre - The show's favored method of Getting Crap Past the Radar, like when Liz admires Peter's Halloween costume:
"You can web me up anytime, Petey."
Black Cat: "Just don't get any of your goo in my hair."
"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?"
"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.
- The Dragon - Hammerhead, right hand man to Tombstone. Until he becomes The Starscream...
- Silver Sable for her father Silvermane
- Electro and the Vulture both play this role to Doc Ock at varying times.
- Hammerhead has one of his own - his chauffeur.
- Dramatic Drop - Gwen Stacy drops her books in shock at finding Harry Osborn passed out cold on the ground.
- Drool Hello - A bystander attempts to hide from the Lizard's rampage through a subway station by ducking into an alcove. Cue the drips of saliva falling on her head.
- Dynamic Entry - Venom performs this on Spider-Man several times.
- Not to mention Gobby's window-smashing entry into Tombstone's gala.
- Early-Bird Cameo - So very many. The first episode alone introduces nearly a dozen pre-villainy supervillains.
- It seems like every named character is a reference to the comics. Word of God confirms there were no "original" characters in this series.
- The actor who runs the school play in season 2 was the one who called in May's heart attack in season 1.
- Black Cat can be seen at the Halloween party in "The Uncertainty Principle," carrying a bag of money. Seems Peter wasn't the only one taking advantage of already having a costume.
- Eating Lunch Alone - Gwen in "Intervention".
- Economy Cast - If an episode needs cops bursting into a scene, it's going to be Jean DeWolff and Stan Carter—a bit surprising, considering the show's surprisingly large cast.
- Elevator Floor Announcement: In "Reinforcements".
Mysterio: "Second Floor - Toys, Housewares, Superhero Defeat."
- Elite Mooks - Tombstone's bodyguards.
- Embarrassing Old Photo - Flash earned his nickname when he was four, and it wasn't just because he was fast.
- Enemy Mine
- 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...
- Establishing Shot
- 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.
- Everybody Lives
- 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.
- Evil Albino - Tombstone
- Evil Brit: In his faux-sorcerer act, Mysterio has a British accent, although Quentin Beck himself does not.
- Evil Costume Switch - Doctor Octopus, Spider-Man
- Evil Duo - Flint Marko and Alex O'Hirn before they became Supervillains; they team up again in "Reinforcements" as the second tier of Sinister Six members.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Type 2 with Gobby. He had some pretty sadistic jokes.
Spider-Man: "Now what's so funny?"
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 Is Hammy: True of most of the villains.
- Notably Mysterio, who does it on purpose.
- Otto Octavius also deserves a special mention as he was incredibly mild mannered before he turned to villainy, and only loses to Mysterio in hamminess once he does turn.
- Evil Laugh: A few villains exhibit this behavior; namely Green Goblin (psychotic version), Mysterio (dramatic version), and Venom (really creepy version).
- Evil Power Vacuum - Season 2's Gang War story. "And nature abhors a vacuum..."
- Evil Sounds Deep: Tombstone, Mysterio, Hammerhead, Rhino.
- 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.
- Evolutionary Levels - "Lizard DNA is more primitive than human."
- 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?
- Exactly What I Aimed At: Pulled on Spider-Man by Rhino, of all people.
- Expository Theme Tune
- Expressive Mask - Spider-Man's, Green Goblin's and Chameleon's masks, Doctor Octopus' goggles, Flash's donkey's head especially.
- Eyepatch of Power - Patch
- Face Death with Dignity - Kraven advises that Spidey do this. Of course he doesn't and breaks the headlock.
- 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.
- A lot of other villains count too like the Vulture (who became a villain after Norman stole his work), Mark, Colonel Jupiter, Doctor Oc, Eltro, etc.
- 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.
- Face Framed in Shadow - Walter Hardy, in "Opening Night".
- 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.
- Falling Chandelier of Doom - in "Gangland"
- 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.
- Fantastic Aesop - Green Goblin Harry, Venom, Electro, and Colonel Jupiter teach us the extremely applicable life lesson that With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
- Fantastic Drug - Impressively, Harry's Globulin Green addiction manages to evoke steroid, Ritalin and heroin abuse all at once.
- Fastball Special - Spidey and Rhino's Team Up, Ox and Ricochet
- Femme Fatale - The Black Cat
- Fiery Redhead - Mary Jane Watson
- Five-Bad Band- The Sinister Six
- The Big Bad - Doctor Octopus, the leader of the bunch and perhaps the most competent.
- The Dragon - Electro wields more raw power than anyone else on the team, and is also the most loyal to Doc Ock.
- The Evil Genius - Vulture, a Gadgeteer Genius.
- The Brute - Sandman and Rhino share the position.
- The Dark Chick - Shocker. The closest thing to an ordinary guy on the team. While quite formidable, his teammates tend to outstrip him in power and/or smarts.
- The Sixth Ranger Traitor - Mysterio and Kraven, who join in Season 2.
- Flash Back - "Intervention"
- Flaw Exploitation - This is Spider-Man's standard MO for defeating villains. Doctor Octopus attempts to do this with a Hostage for MacGuffin.
- Flight - The Vulture's magnetic air transport system and the Green Goblin's Tech-Flight glider allow them to fly.
- First Kiss - Peter's first kiss was actually given to him by Black Cat at the end of "Persona"—a classic Spider-Man Upside Down Kiss.
- Foreshadowing - While virtually every Chekhov's Gunman could qualify, Season 2 earns mention when Harry literally casts the Goblin's shadow
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself - Peter goes to a Halloween festival as Spider-Man, and gets compliments on how well he fills out his costume. Black Cat evidently likes Halloween too.
- Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Gender Flipped; Peter and Flash were best friends when they were younger.
- Freak Lab Accident - Spider-Man, Electro, The Sandman, Doctor Octopus, The Lizard, and to a lesser extent Molten Man, as the heat was an unexpected side effect of the nanobot infusion.
- Freak Out - Electro snaps, unable to cope with his loss of humanity. Doctor Octopus suffers traumatic electrical shock, and goes from meek to megalomaniacal.
- Freudian Slip - Pete says Gwen's name instead of Liz's in an inner monologue.
- When Silvermane, Tombstone, and Doc Ock meet, Silvermane refers to it as the St. Valentine's Day Massac-... Summit.
- Fun Personified - Mary Jane Watson.
- Gadgeteer Genius - The Vulture invented his flight-capable Powered Armor, while Mason creates all the Chameleon's Shoe Phone technology.
- The Gambling Addict - Mark Allan
- Gender Flip - Mayor Waters is a female version of the male mayor with the same name in the comic "Spider-Man: Reign"
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke - Spider-Man, Electro, The Lizard, Kraven.
- Genius Bruiser - Tombstone, Hammerhead, Kraven.
- Venom qualifies as well; in the show, Eddie Brock is Dr Connors' assistant.
- Genre Savvy
- 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.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar
Mary Jane Watson:...but if I can't dance with Pete, I guess I'll dance with...it's Randy, right?
Rand Robertson: Very.
"Well, you are the expert on premature gloatalation."
Liz Allen "You can web me up anytime, Petey."
- and... well a good chunk of Black Cat's dialogue but:
"You better not get your goop in my hair."
- After Peter, Liz, Harry and Gwen decide to go to Flash's birthday party as a double-date:
Harry: "Then it's settled! This Saturday we're a foursome!"
- Doc Ock (to symbiote-wearing Spider-Man): "Your new suit interests me, arachnid. I'm going to enjoy peeeeeeeeeling it away for further study..."
- Mary Jane suggests that on New Year's Eve Peter and Gwen could "watch the ball drop," then winks at Gwen.
- And what about that scene when Spider-Man opened a compartment on his utility belt to cause a flash of light to distract Doc Ock? You could say Spider-Man FLASHED Doc Ock to distract him!
- 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.
- The Glasses Gotta Go - Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy
- Glowing Eyes of Doom - Electro and Molten Man, although seeing that their powers are energy-based, it's a given.
- Grenade Hot Potato - Goblin tosses up a Pumpkin Bomb in the Billiard Room that gets tossed from person to person until it blows up a pool table.
- The Good Captain - Colonel Jupiter
- 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!"
- Gosh Dang It to Heck! - Spider-Man says "Every single blasted fragment of you?!?"
- Debatable. Given the context, a literal interpretation of "blasted" would be quite appropriate.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol - Spider-Man's webshooters, Black Cat's rope shooter
- Green And Mean - The Green Goblin of course. Lizard and Mysterio fit as well
- Hand Blast: Shocker, Electro, and Green Goblin.
- Hard Head - Hammerhead.
- 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.
- He Knows Too Much - The motivation behind the Green Goblin's attempted murder of Otto Octavius.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen - Master Planner
- Hellish Pupils - The Vulture/Adrian Toomes has comma-shaped pupils, which look particularly odd when he's out of costume.
- Heroes Want Redheads - Peter is interested in Mary Jane, but is rebuffed.
- 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.
- Heroic Fire Rescue - Colonel Jupiter's first attempt at heroics.
- Heroic Sacrifice - Sandman, sort of.
- 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.
- Hijacked by Ganon - The Master Planner turns out to be Doctor Octopus.
- 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.
- Hostage for MacGuffin - Doctor Octopus takes Liz Allan hostage to force Spider-Man to fork over desired Applied Phlebotinum.
- The Master Planner also takes Gwen hostage so that Captain Stacy can get him Homeland Security Defense Codes. The Doc/ Planner is very fond of this tactic.
- Hostage Situation - Played straight when Electro holds the genetics lab staff hostage to force them to develop a cure for his condition.
- How Much More Can He Take - Arguably one of the show's flaws; after taking five minutes of pounding from a supervillain without slowing down at all, it can get hard to care.
- How We Got Here - "Catalysts", "First Steps"
- High School Dance - The fall formal is the subject of much agonizing as Peter tries to find a suitable date.
- Hollywood Cyborg - Doctor Octopus
- Hollywood Nerd - Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker
- Homage Shot - Numerous Comic Book Covers are used in the series including Amazing Fantasy #15◊, Amazing Spider-Man #33◊, #39◊, #100◊, and more.
- 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.)
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Kraven decides to do this with Spider-Man... and loses because he's simply a Badass Normal. He pulls this again after getting superpowers.
- I Just Want to Be Normal - Peter briefly considers taking a Power Nullifier. Electro is in pursuit of a cure for his powers.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming - Episode titles are all derived from scientific terminology, grouped by field:
- Weisman has referred to the season 1 groups as "Biology 101", "Economics 101", "Chemistry 101", and "Psychology 101".
- Season 2 has "Engineering 101", "Pediatrics 101", "Criminology 101" and finally, "Theatrics 101".
- Idiosyncratic Wipes - Spider hordes, symbiote pseudopods, and pumpkin bombs.
- Ignored Vital News Reports - the Sinister Six's breakout in "Group Therapy"
- Imagine Spot - When asked to try out for the football team with Harry, Peter has a brief, absurdist fantasy of making touchdowns while in costume and wearing a football helmet.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Vulture clearly attended before he added lasers to his harness.
- To be fair, it's probably seriously hard to aim with that placement.
- Also in his defense, he's an old man who lived his entire life as a scientist. Not exactly a field known for marksmanship.
- Improbable Weapon User - Silver Sable wields a giant staple gun.
- Incredibly Lame Pun - The Goblin reports to Tombstone that Hammerhead is "tied up at the moment", and chuckles. "You gotta love the classics."
- In "First Steps" Sandman is hired to steal "The Urn of Morpheus" (Morpheus is the God of Dreams and is also known as "The Sandman")
- Incoming Ham - Doc Ock's first words after becoming a supervillain: "SILENCE, YOU IMPERIOUS MORON!!!"
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue - Otto Octavius fantasizes about attacking his domineering boss Norman Osborn mere minutes before his high-voltage Freak Out, after which he does it for real.
- Ink-Suit Actor - Adrian Toomes is basically a caricature of Robert Englund
- In Medias Res - "Subtext"
- Institutional Apparel - The Vault's inmates are all in the orange jumpsuits.
- Intrepid Reporter - Daily Bugle reporter Ned Lee is investigating Spider-Man and the Green Goblin.
- Fredrick Foswell fits this trope as well, if not more so.
- Ironic Echo Cut - "Intervention" Tombstone says "That's the deal." Cut to Martha Connors saying "That's the deal."
- Ironic Nickname: Spidey likes to call J. Jonah Jameson "Jolly" Jameson.
- 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.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique - Spidey does this with The Tinkerer in "Shear Strength".
- 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.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk - Norman Osborn
- Joker Immunity - The show definitely likes to bring back old villains.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind - Spider-Man is forced into one of these by the symbiote.
- Just Friends - This frustrates Gwen, because she doesn't want to risk their friendship by telling Peter that she wants to be more than just friends.
- Just Hit Him
- Just Think of the Potential - Connors' rationalization for developing his formula
- Karma Houdini - Black Cat, but thankfully, not her dad, who murdered Uncle Ben, and stays in prison despite Cat's break out attempt.
- Flash receives NO comeuppance whatsoever for his acts of bullying and stealing, he's never even called out on it.
- Also, Norman Osborn, Chameleon, Silver Sable, Hammerhead, Vulture, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman, Tombstone and the Symbiote.
- To expand on the spoiler above, the last scene of the last episode features Norman Osborn taking his vacation and rubbing his Houdininess directly in the viewer's face. Downer Ending indeed.
- Kansas City Shuffle - "It's all about misdirection", and boy is it ever...
- 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.
- Lampshade Hanging: Spidey seems to be a master of this trope.
- Large and in Charge - Tombstone
- Large Ham - Specifically, Evil Is Hammy:
- "We're VENOM!!" Eddie.
- Doc Ock, especially the first time he speaks after his "Freak Lab Accident": "Silence, you imperious moron!!!" He later gets scenery-chewing lines like "Arachniiiiid!", "TREACHERYYYYYYYYYY!!!", and ""L. Thompson Lincoln is WEAK!!!"
- The Green Goblin. 'Nuff said.
- "Behold, I am Mysterio!"
- Laser Hallway - Peculiarly, appears in the ESU genetics lab to deter theft of the "ooze."
- And when Black Cat encounters another such trap while stealing from the Big Man, she remarks "Lasers, how original."
- Latex Perfection - Master of Disguise the Chameleon wears this type of mask over his own full-face mask.
- Le Parkour - This Spider-Man doesn't just Wall Crawl, he wall runs, too. Black Cat pulls it off as well.
- Laughing Mad - Harry Osborn on Globulin Green. He gets better when he stops taking the stuff.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall
Doctor Octopus: Do you ever shut up?!
Spider-Man: Sorry, no. My fans expect a certain amount of quippage in every battle.
- Legion of Doom - The Sinister Six.
- LEGO Genetics - Spider-Man, the Lizard, Kraven
- 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!"
- Lightning Can Do Anything - Electric and bioelectric shocks grant Electro superpowers, which catalyze a gene-altering formula. Electromagnetic shock fuses Doctor Octopus' harness to his spine, causing his Freak Out.
- 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.
- Electricity is also the catalyst for the subdermal silicon armor that resulted in the creation of the Sandman.
- Likes Older Women - Peter very publicly proclaims his interest in twenty-year-old Betty Brant, and plays the Dogged Nice Guy to pressure her to be his date for the High School Dance, only to be thwarted by Aunt May.
- Similarly, Black Cat is apparently 19 years old in this series as opposed to Peter being 16/17.
- This is similar to Black Cat in the Ultimate universe (Though in that case the age gap was bigger and she threw up when she found up how young he was).
- Limited Wardrobe
- Loads and Loads of Characters - It's what happens when you take nearly every major and minor character from Spider-Man's history and put them all in one show.
- Of course, a lot of them have also been One Scene Wonders so far, but should season three stroll around the corner that could easily change.
- Find any named character. Any of them. Then look them up on The Other Wiki. They will be there.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Liz.
- 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 Makes You Crazy - Eddie Brock's love for... the Symbiote.
- 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.
- Master of Disguise - The Chameleon, Fredrick Foswell
- Master of Illusion - Beck, the Chameleon's special effects wizard, who, in season 2, dons the guise of Mysterio.
- Mean Boss - Norman Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson
- Meaningful Name - Patch
Spider-Man - Really? Did your parents have foresight or what?
- Justified - it's a cover identity for Fredrick Foswell.
- Meet Cute - Spidey facilitates this when he saves two passers-by from a runaway sports car by webbing them up together.
- Meganekko - Gwen Stacy.
- Mêlée à Trois - The massive battle between Silvermane, Tombstone, Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man in "Gangland".
- And a couple episodes earlier (in "Accomplices") with everyone's lieutenants: Silver Sable, Hammerhead, Rhino, and Spidey.
- Mind Hug - Peter's memories of Uncle Ben allowing him to fight off the symbiote, culminating in a very heartwarming pair of montages.
- Mad Scientist - Doctor Octopus
- 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.
- Male Gaze - Black Cat + Tight Air Vent =
- Marilyn Maneuver - Spidey uses a web slingshot that causes a breeze that causes a nearby woman to experience this in "Reaction".
- The Masochism Tango - Randy Robertson/Sally Avril; seriously, Rand, ''why?'
- Meta Origin: Oscorp and the ESU lab bring together many origin stories that are unconnected in the comics.
- Meta Twist - The Goblin reveal. Both of them.
- 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.
- The Millstone: Doc Ock should stop having Electro on his team.
- Mirror Scare - Octavius discovers the Green Goblin in this way. It's also inverted when the viewer sees Harry's face reflected as the Green Goblin.
- Monster of the Week: The show has Spider-Man fight a Supervillain of the week.
- 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.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate - Doctor Octopus
- Motifs: Speakspeare Quotes, The Opera, A Midsummer Night's Dream
- Motive Decay:
- Averted in "Group Therapy", where after the first go at fighting Spider-Man, the Sinister Six nearly break up because most of them view fighting Spider-Man as a distraction from their personal goals.
- In Venom's second appearance, he can't seem to decide if he wants to ruin Peter's life, or just end it. Peter calls him out on this.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous - Doctor Octopus, of course.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg - "Yes, gentlemen... and Rhino."
- Mythology Gag:
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast - Tombstone, Venom. Peter even lampshades it.
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.
- New Transfer Student - Mary Jane Watson.
- New Year Has Come - "Shear Strength". Features plenty of date anxiety as Mary Jane schemes for Peter and Gwen to be together at midnight. When the ball drops, there's a Relationship Upgrade, that's for sure...but with Liz.
- New York City
- 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 Indoor Voice
- Colonel Jupiter when the spores really start affecting him. Also JJJ 80 percent of the time, it runs in the family.
- Sally Avril is also pretty loud.
- Non-Action Guy: Tinkerer, confirmed by Mysterio.
- Non-Standard Character Design - Hammerhead is the only character with pupils.
- 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.
- No OSHA Compliance - The refinery Death Course Green Goblin sets for Spider-Man and Tombstone.
- Not Now, Kiddo - Shocker dismisses O'Hirn this way when fighting Spider-Man
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Surprisingly, Rhino. He not only gets the idea to find Peter Parker to get close to Spider-Man, but also outsmarts Spider-Man in a one on one fight.
- Obligatory Joke - "He's a little 'tied up' at the moment. Heh, gotta love the classics."
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging - Invoked, by Harry pretending to be oblivious but really being a Manipulative Bastard.
- Oblivious Janitor Cut: "Nature Vs. Nuture", Spidey stops a helicopter from crashing into an office building, and the janitor doesn't even turn around.
- Off Model - Occurs throughout the series from time to time. According to Word of God, the animation was inconsistent.
- The One With - ...insert Supervillain debut here. (Season 1)
- Open the Iris - In particular, Harry's irises shrink to pinpricks when he's angered under the influence of Globulin Green.
- Operation Jealousy - Peter's smug arm-fold after accepting a date with Liz right after MJ claimed they were Just Friends indicates that he probably has this at least slightly in mind.
- Ordinary High-School Student - Peter Parker
- Orphaned Punchline - "...making this the third time the singer's baby was found driving her car."
- Our Goblins Are Different: They're green and they throw exploding pumpkins.
- Out-of-Character Alert - "Norman Osborn never apologizes!" The fact that Norman apologizes in the finale is one of the tip-offs that he's being impersonated by the Chameleon.
- Parody Magic Spell: Take the time to translate Mysterio's longer spells from Latin, this is what you get.
- Pet the Dog - Sandman helps a little girl at the beach. Hammerhead calls him out on "going soft", and he insists he was doing it to terrify the teens.
- In the episode "Shear Strength" Norman shows legitimate concern for Peter's safety.
- Pintsized Powerhouse - According to Spidey himself in an early episode, he's only 5'6.
- The Plan: Norman Osborn is the undisputed master of this, though it borders on Gambit Roulette, although if you want to be generous most of it can be written off as very quick improvising and later claiming credit.
- Playing Cyrano: Flash Thompson tries to get Peter to help him impress a girl immune to his Jerk Jock charms.
- Playing with Fire - Mark Allan/Molten Man
- Plummet Perspective - "Shear Strength" When Spidey has The Tinkerer perched on top a tall building we get to see Tinkerer's glasses fall and shatter on the street below.
- Post-Kiss Catatonia - Peter after Gwen kisses him in the season 1 finale
- 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 Incontinence - Electro
- 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".
- Powered Armor - Silvermane and Vulture.
- The Power of Friendship - How Peter fights against the Symbiote for control of his body.
- The Power of Love - Pretty much how Spider-Man defeats Venom in "Nature vs. Nurture".
- Previously On: Suprisingly averted, even with all the subplots that take place on the show. Might be case case of Viewers Are Geniuses that they'd read up on what happened with something they missed.
- Professional Killers - The mercenary Enforcers made up of Montana(Shocker), Fancy Dan(Ricochet) and Ox(Ox).
- Professor Guinea Pig - Curt Connors doses himself with his own formula.
- 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.
- Hell, he provides the trope's picture.
- Psycho Serum - Globulin Green, an addictive steroid, causes blackouts and gives its user a Superpowered Evil Side. It's a handy way to adapt the comic book Harry's famous drug addiction for Saturday morning cartoons.
- Punch Clock Villain - The reluctant Otto Octavius, before his Freak Out. Also, the Sandman is generally only in it for a "big score," hates revenge, and is kind to children.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis! - Venom (after Spider-Man bashes a bat against lockers, creating soundwaves that weaken him):
"That. Was. Unpleasant."
- And Doc Ock (extenuating each word by slamming Spidey around):
"Glib! Does not! Equate! With clever! Spider-Man!"
- Punctuated Pounding: GLIB! DOES NOT! EQUATE! WITH CLEVER!
- Put on a Bus - Harry Osborn was sent on a trip to rehab for multiple episodes.
- The Quiet One - Ox of the Enforcers rarely speaks.
- 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 DeWolff is Native American, Debra Whitman and Roderick Kingsley are African-American, and the Warren brothers are of Arab descent. Also, Fancy Dan is African-American and Ox is Hispanic.
- Reasonable Authority Figure - Captain Stacy
- Record Needle Scratch - Accompanies cheerleader Sally Avril's blunt rejection of Peter when he asks her out in the first episode.
- Redemption Equals Death - Sandman...but not really.
- Reflective Eyes - "Final Curtain" The Unmasked Goblin is reflected in Harry's Eyes.
- Rescue Romance - Spidey saves a guy and a girl by webbing them together. For them it's Love at First Sight
Spidey - "You can thank me later, dude."
- 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...
- Ridiculously Human Robots - Mysterio has many to disguise himself with, fitting his illusionist persona.
- 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.
- Rogues Gallery
- Role Reprisal:
- Roofhopping - Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus, Black Cat, Colonel Jupiter
- Running Gag - Gwen gives her friends "the look" when angry.
"Oh don't tell me you like the Master Planner and his wonderful personality!" *shudder*.
- Safety In Muggles: Tombstone won't fight Spidey in public.
- Save the Villain: Spidey, to his dismay, saves Electro from Master Planner's Collapsing Lair.
- Scary Black Man - Tombstone...no, really. Evil Albino, remember? Also, all his mooks. Except for the albino thing. Oh, and a few of those mooks are Scary Black Women.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Actually they're goggles, but Doc Ock wears them.
- Scenery Censor - Flint Marko is depicted as nude when serving as an experimental subject, but clever blocking conceals anything below waist level.
- The photo of a young Flash Thompson streaking across the meadow has his rear covered by a flower in the foreground.
- School Play - The production of A Midsummer Night's Dream becomes a major subplot in Season 2.
- 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.
- Secret Identity
- Secret Identity Change Trick - Used often. At one point, this backfires on Peter, when it looks as though he lied about where he was going in order to take pictures of Spider-Man.
- Secret Keeper - George Stacy keeps hinting that he knows.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness - Doctor Octopus
- Shadow Discretion Shot - The first time the Lizard appears, the horror of the transformation is depicted in shadows and the reactions of Mrs. Connors, Eddie Brock, and Gwen Stacy.
- She Cleans Up Nicely - Gwen shows up to her date with Harry sans glasses and in a dress and heels
- She Is All Grown Up - Hammerhead says this about Silver Sable
- Shipper on Deck - Mary Jane is a Peter/Gwen shipper all the way. Liz even calls her out on it.
- Also, Aunt May is quite supportive of Peter/Mary Jane in early episodes.
- Ship Tease - Where do we even begin?
- Shockingly Expensive Bill: Aunt May's hospital bill in "Intervention".
- In the series premiere, there are a great many gargoyles shown, in reference to director Greg Weisman's series of the same name, also set in New York.
- In the Title Sequence, one of the "photos" of Spider-Man is a tribute to the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15, his debut issue.
- Musical leitmotifs from the 1960s and 1990s series can be heard in the background music.
- In the second season episode, "First Steps," Sandman is stealing the "Urn of Morpheus" from a museum for Hammerhead.
- In the fourth episode of the 1st season, Spider-Man comments to the Shocker/Montana "I mock. I'm a mocker." The Mocker was a comic by Spider-Man creator Steve Ditko.
- The statue of Atlas is a reoccurring feature, likely a shout out to "Atlas Shrugged" in keeping with Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko's objectivism.
- In "Opening Night" Black Cat uses a fake ID with the name "Selina Drew" "Drew" is probably a reference to Spider-Woman, aka Jessica Drew, while "Selina" may refer to Catwoman.
- Also in "Opening Night", when Spider-Man is fighting Mysterio, Mysterio sends out some imp creatures to attack him. J. Jonah Jameson, watching from the security room says:
- In "Nature Vs. Nuture" Peter wonders if "Romita's" delivers turkey pizza. A reference to artists John Romita
- There may also be some homage to Batman Beyond Because, at some point during the fight with the Sinister Six (First fight), Spider-Man defeats Shocker the same way Shriek was defeated.
- The battle damage that Spider-Man suffers in his fight with the Green Goblin in season 2 looks like it came from the movie.
- Also, Impact Webbing makes an appearance in season 2. Unfortunately, Venom's are much more effective.
- And then there's.....
Spider-Man (To a Mysterio-bot's disembodied head)
: What are you gonna do? Bite my kneecaps off?
- 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.
- Colonel Jupiter's Shout-Out to The Six Million Dollar Man.
- Episode "Catalyst" has Peter getting a last dance with Mary Jane.
- "Survival of the Fittest" had Peter cling to a gargoyle that looked remarkably like Hudson to slow his fall.
- Liz Allan's Race Lift to Latina may be a Shout-Out to Paulina from Danny Phantom.
- In "Shear Strength", a demolitions tech refers to "cascading detonations" that would bring a building down "in its own footprint". Which happens to sound a lot like Conspiracy Theories about 9/11.
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: The school play is A Midsummer Night's Dream. Green Goblin even quotes a few of Puck's lines. Oh, did we mention the guy writing this episode is Greg Weisman?
- 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.
- Significant Anagram - Of course a criminal named O'Hirn would be called the Rhino.
- 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.)
- Socially-Awkward Hero
- Soft Glass
- Soft Water
- Something Person - Spider-Man, Sandman, Molten Man
- 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.
- Spared by the Adaptation - Word of God says they wouldn't be killing Gwen during the course of the show. Sally Avril as well. Emily Osborn is also alive and well whereas other incarnations had her die not long after Harry was born. Joan Jameson is also alive and well, despite dying in the comics well before Peter became Spider-Man.
- Spider-Sense - Of course.
- 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.
- Stepping Stones in the Sky - At the beginning of "Shear Strength".
- Steven Ulysses Perhero - Otto Octavius = Doctor Octopus.
- Stiff Upper Lip - The Osborns' oh-so-English butler greets Spider-Man with the same blase tone of voice that he does Norman and Harry.
- Story Arc - There are multiple arcs that overlap one another. They consist of three episodes unless stated otherwise:
- Season 1: The Lizard, The Big Man, Green Goblin, The Symbiote (4 episodes)
- Season 2: Master Planner (4 episodes), Venom Strikes Back, Gang War, Return of the Green Goblin
- Strange Bedfellows - In "Accomplices": Hammerhead and Silver Sable, Spidey and Rhino.
- Strange Minds Think Alike
- 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.
- Super Hero Origin - Presented in flashback during "Intervention".
- Super Hero Paradox - Invoked: several supervillains are created on Tombstone's orders to distract Spider-Man from his organization's more orthodox criminal efforts. Lampshaded in "Group Therapy:"
J. Jonah Jameson: The whole thing's Spiderman's fault! New York never saw supervillains till the superhero showed up!
- Supervillain Lair - The Master Planner's Underwater Base, complete with Hacker Cave and Self-Destruct Mechanism that causes it to collapse.
- 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.
- Swiss Cheese Security - Tombstone's office, lampshaded by the man himself.
- Take Over the City: Only one villain tries to take over the entire world. The rest war over New York City.
- Take That: "Don't get all emo on me, bro."
- 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."
- Terrible Trio:
- 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 ...
- Third-Person Person - Mysterio and Kraven. Venom, on the other hand, refers to himself in the first-person plural.
- Doc Ock and Green Goblin do this sometimes as well.
- And sometimes Electro.
- This Is Gonna Suck - Spidey says this line (substituting "hurt" for "suck") in "Accomplices".
- This Is Reality - Spidey trying to use bowling balls to make Rhino trip and failing:
"This always works in the cartoons!"
"Oh, television can so not be trusted!"
- This Is Unforgivable!: Black Cat tells Spider-Man this after he successfully convinced her dad to stay in prison.
- Throw the Dog a Bone - Hobie Brown is given the role of Puck in "A Midsummer's Night's Dream" after having previously been interrupted every time he opens his mouth in the show.
- Title Drop - Spidey is referred to specifically as "The Spectacular Spider-Man" during his introduction as a wrestler in "Intervention".
- And even earlier in the first scene of the first episode.
- Played with in The Uncertainty Principle, when Flash, after seeing Peter in a Spider-Man costume on Halloween, points and exclaims, "Look! It's the Spectacular Spider-Geek."
- Title Sequence Replacement: Disney XD airings boast a trimmed version of the theme song.
- Title Theme Tune
- 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.
- Took a Level in Jerkass - The instant Doc Ock's tentacle harness fuses to him, he goes from a meek, nervous little man into a Dangerously Genre Savvy Evil Genius and Large Ham.
- Totally Radical - Averted with the usage of common slang, such as "Don't go emo on me, bro."
- Transformation Trauma - Again, Connors' Lizard transformation. Flint Marko's transformation into the Sandman, a painful process that culminates when he explodes into sand.
- Traintop Battle: Spider-Man fights the Lizard atop and inside a subway car. Sound familiar?
- 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."
- Trickster - Spider-Man, Black Cat
- Troperiffic - If you've made it this far, you know it is. Don't worry, you're almost to the end.
- Two Guys and a Girl - Peter, Gwen, and Harry have been best friends for at least 4 years. Harry's dark side seems to be growing.
- Two Words:
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—?
- Undercover When Alone: The Green Goblin in the penultimate episode.
- Underwater Base - Master Planner's HQ
- The Unfavorite - Harry Osborn
- 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
- 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.
- Villainous Breakdown - Dr. Octopus suffers a rather calm breakdown in Shear Strength.
- Eddie Brock suffers a rather narmful one in Season 2.
- "Don't know anyone named Max! The name's Electro! ELECTRO, I TELL YOU!"
- Villain Ball - grabbed very jarringly by Eddie Brock.
- Villain Team-Up - "Group Therapy"
- Villain with Good Publicity - Norman Osborn, Corrupt Corporate Executive and The Big Man, L. Thompson Lincoln, who is the philanthropic public face of crimelord Tombstone.
- Note that Tombstone manages to pull this off despite having white skin, an incredibly gravelly voice, and sharpened teeth that all make him look Obviously Evil. That is some good publicity.
- Lampshaded even: "L. Thomson Lincoln? He looks a little strange but is a good man."
- The Voiceless - A running gag is that Hobie Brown, one of Flash's gang, never says anything onscreen. Doesn't stop him from trying.
- He finally gets to speak, as Puck of A Midsummer Night's Dream, in "Final Curtain"... but not with his real face!
- Also, Emily Osborn.
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
- Wall Crawl - Spider-Man, The Lizard, Venom. Black Cat to an extent.
- We Can Rule Together - Tombstone again, and later the Green Goblin.
- During the opera house fight, Doc Ock proposes that he, Tombstone and Silvermane can share control of all of Manhattan... as soon as Spidey's out of the way.
- The Symbiote also makes this offer to Peter: "Join with us! Make our bond permanent. Together, nothing can stop us. And everything we ever wanted will be ours."
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy - Harry Osborn. When he accomplishes something, he even brushes off his girlfriend congratulating him to call his dad.
- Wham Episode - "Identity Crisis."
- And "Final Curtain."
- "The Uncertainty Principle" is pretty Whammy.
- Wham Line: At the end of "Growing Pains:"
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?
- When All You Have Is a Hammer - Sandman gets progressively more creative with the ability to turn into sand. By the second season he's using his sand-shifting with a finesse that would impress Sir Crocodile.
- 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?
- Why Are You Not My Son?: Norman Osborn rather viciously approves of Peter far more than his own son.
- Who Is Driving? ? - Sandman asks Spidey this question in "Competition."
- Wolf Man - Spidey refers to mutant Kraven as one of these, even though there's no evidence of wolf DNA in his change.
- The Worf Barrage - Spidey's webbing very rarely works. Lampshaded in "Gangland":
Spider-man: I've gotta start making that stuff stronger.
- X-Ray Sparks - Otto Octavius, during a massive electromagnetic shock
- Yandere - The Venom symbiote.
- Yank the Dog's Chain - Well, it is Spider-Man. Hey, look, someone else gets superpowers and decides to use them for good! Not.
- Yawn and Reach - Flash tries it on Mary Jane at one point.
- You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good
- 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.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame - In "Catalysts", Spidey manages to get rid of a Time Bomb of Green Goblin's dropped off at a party held by Tombstone just in time, earning his applause.
Spidey: You know, applause from you...makes me wanna shower.