Reviews: The Spectacular Spiderman
One of finest comic book adaptations
Helmed by Gargoyles creator Greg Weisman and Victor Cook from the Hellboy DT Vs, "The Spectacular Spider-Man" premiered in 2008 to tie in to Sam Raimi's 2007 film "Spider-Man 3". Ever since this show was fist announced as a DTV series, I was looking forward to seeing a new Spidey series, and the announcement of Weisman's involvement made me really look forward to the premiere. It did not disappoint. "TSSM" is one of the best comic book cartoons out there, and I'd rank it just as high as "Batman: The Animated Series". It pays tribute to the Ditko and Lee's run in the 60's, but skillfully adapts other elements from the movies, the Ultimate Comics, and decades worth of comic book history and content to create a cohesive, developed world. It is mostly faithful to the source material, while still putting on new twists and revamps here and there. The writing is sharp, providing for some nuanced dialog, some clever Spidey humor, and likable, endearing characters from Peter and his flawed character, to his strong supporting cast and extra characters, to his colorful Rogues Gallery. Everyone has an interesting relationship with each other. The stories are almost formatted to have several mini story-arcs in both seasons, but the episodes themselves are episodic enough to not get viewers confused. Character development is aplenty as well. The voice cast is mostly perfectly cast, from Josh Keaton giving an iconic performance as Peter and Spidey, to Lacey Chabert as Gwen, Vanessa Marshall as Mary Jane, and the villains such as Steven Blum's deliciously evil Green Goblin, or Kevin Michael Richardson as the cold, calculating Tombstone. Though the show's stylized art style is a point of controversy, I personally enjoyed it. It is a fresh breath of air from anime and Timm imitators, and provides for some neat costume updates, such as Vulture and Electro. The art style also allows for some great animation and fight scenes, such as Symbiote Spidey's first fight with the Sinister Six, or the opera fight between three mob bosses. It is fast-paced, but not without detail. Overall, "The Spectacular Spider-Man" is an excellent show. Though it was cancelled due to unfortunate Executive Meddling, it remains a high-quality production. One of the best cartoons of the 2000's, and one that hopefully will not be forgotten anytime soon.
The best Spider-Man cartoon, period.
Move over 90's TAS, this one is taking its place next to Batman: The Animated Series as the best superhero cartoons ever made. What makes this show so good? The writing does NOT talk down to kids. Not only are plots complicated and drawn-out (in a good way), the humor is actually funny, as Spider-Man should be. I cracked up after hearing the one-liner he said after defeating The Rhino. Also, the characters make a huge contribution. They're very well-written, and almost all sympathetic, with the exception of some of the villains. But even those are still fun to watch. And Josh Keaton was the PERFECT choice to voice Peter, not only nailing the man, but also the Spider. Half the humor comes from his delivery. This is a show that goes out of it's way to appeal to everyone, and it succeeds marvelously. Unfortunately, Disney chose not to renew it, and instead gave us Ultimate Spider-Man (shudders). But even so, this was a show that was not afraid to take risks, and shows as much love for the early Spider-Man mythology as Stan Lee probably has himself. If you're looking to show your kid a good superhero cartoon that you can enjoy together, this is the one.