The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a 3D dark ride at Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Japan. The ride follows Spider-Man and his battle against the evil Sinister Syndicate, led by Doctor Octopus himself. The designs of the ride take inspiration from Spider-Man: The Animated Series, mainly from the characters that share an appearance between the show and this.
The attraction has guests enter and queue through the Daily Bugle, where television monitors overhead show news footage of the Syndicate wreaking havoc throughout the city, with authorities as being completely overwhelmed. The footage also reveals that the Syndicate has stolen the Statue of Liberty, which they obtained by levitating it into the air, via a special weapon that Doc Ock had acquired. With the Statue of Liberty hostage, the Syndicate broadcasts that they will only place it back if the entire city surrenders to them. J. Jonah Jameson, seeing a newspaper-selling advantage in all of the turmoil, yet having no photographers to spare, sends the guests out in the Daily Bugle's new "SCOOP" vehicles to take pictures of what's going on. From there, things get rather...chaotic, to say the least.
The attraction's history began after Universal acquired the license to use the Marvel Comics characters for their new park, Islands of Adventure, after failing to acquire the DC Comics characters as they had originally wanted. With a Marvel-themed "island" now on the drawing boards, it was quickly decided that Spider-Man, being Marvel's best-known character, should be the headliner attraction.
When designing the attraction, the creative teams sought inspiration from two earlier attractions: Back to the Future: The Ride and Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time. The plan would be for this attraction to combine the former's thrilling simulations with the latter's seamless integration of 3-D film with real-life sets - and in addition have this all take place on a moving vehicle. The big problem with this plan was the fact that 3-D only looks good if viewed from at the center; at a different angle, it comes off as looking completely distorted. To get around this, the creative team had to flat-out develop a whole new process which they referred to as "squinching" - having the 3-D film "move" with the location of the ride vehicle. note Since the process had never been done before, the creative team was repeatedly told that there was no way it would be possible - but luckily they managed to prove all doubters wrong (click here for more information about this whole process) The attraction also required a very-much elaborate type of ride system in order to have the vehicles be on top of a mobile simulation-base. All of these technical hurdles ended up sending the attraction extremely over-budget; which unfortunately resulted in many of the planned additions of the new park being slashed from the budget.
After years of design and planning, the ride opened with Islands of Adventure on May 28, 1999. Upon opening, the attraction was an immediate success, leaving virtually everyone stepping off the ride mind-blown at how it was done. Its insta-popularity led to lines going on for hours, which even today can still occur. It also won several theme park awards, notably winning the "Golden Ticket Award for Best Dark Ride" for twelve years in a row. The ride continues to receive serious praise from both the industry and theme park enthusiasts, with it often being ranked as one of the greatest theme park attractions of all time.
The ride was eventually cloned at Universal Studios Japan, opening on January 23, 2004. Its opening caused a massive spike in attendance for the park, with it going from 8.8 million to 9.9 million visitors in just under a year. This iteration of the ride closed on January 22, 2024 alongside Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time and Backdraft due to the ride's licencing expiring, and to make way for new attractions.
In 2012, the ride was given an extensive overhaul; its film being completely re-animated and put into 4K high-definition along with it receiving a new digital projection system and a new soundtrack. The new additions were very well received, with people regarding the ride as being "better than ever."
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man provides examples of the following tropes:
- Abandoned Warehouse: Where the Sinister Syndicate have set up shop.
- Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The riders end up in one after the Scoop nearly escapes the Sinister Syndicate's first attack.
- Actor Allusion: Rodger Bumpass voices an octopus-themed character here, just not the one you're thinking about.
- Adaptational Villainy: According to one of the wanted posters, Ned Leeds is the Hobgoblin in this ride; who in the comics was merely brainwashed into temporarily becoming the villain, whereas here he appears to be all-evil.
- Alternate Continuity: Although the queue video shares some strong similarities to the animation-style of the Spider-Man cartoon from the '90s, the ride itself (along with the rest of Marvel Super Hero Island) appears to be set in its own universe.
- All There in the Manual: It is never properly explained where Doctor Octopus' levitation ray came from. He claims that he created it himself, however a tie-in comic book reveals that this was not the case and that he actually stole it from Stark Industries.
- All Webbed Up: The fate of the Sinister Syndicate at the end of the ride.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: JJJ does this when talking to the guests about his missing staff.J. Jonah Jameson: Listen, my people are gone. Half have abandoned ship, and the others...probably trapped out there somewhere...cold, and hungry, and...NOT GETTING ME ANY GOOD PICTURES!
- Art Evolution: The ride's very '90s-ish animation was completely overhauled in 2012. However, the cartoon queue animation wasn't altered, making some of the designs clash.
- Automated Automobiles: It's explained that the SCOOP vehicle can pilot itself automatically, but does have a manual override (though JJJ refuses to reveal which button does it).
- Badass Longcoat: The 2012 overhaul of the ride's animation added a trench coat onto Doctor Octopus' design, which he wears over his traditional green and yellow suit.
- Bat Signal: The seldom-seen Spider-Signal from the comics is given prominence in the ride's opening scene.
- The "Be Careful!" Speech:
- Spider-Man gives one to the riders at the start of the ride, saying the page quote above along with, "Be careful!"
- Mary Jane also gives one to Peter over a voicemail message in the queue line.
- BFG: Doctor Octopus' levitation ray.
- Big Damn Heroes: The news report shows a little boy that's trapped upstairs in a burning building that's about to explode. Luckily, Spidey gets to him in time.
- Big "NO!": Though neither is drawn out, Spider-Man does this twice; first when the Hobgoblin tosses a pumpkin bomb at the riders, and again when Doc Ock reverses the levitation effect on the riders.
- Blah, Blah, Blah: Done by JJJ in the first queue video, when he vents his rage against how the city appreciates Spider-Man so much.J. Jonah Jameson: I know most of the pea-brains in this town call him a hero and will rattle on about how, "He saved the mayor!", "He saved the city!", "He saved the world!" Blah, blah, blah!
- Bond One-Liner: After webbing up the villains, Spidey says to the riders, "Guess that wraps things up!"
- Boring, but Practical: Spider-Man defeats Doctor Octopus and Scream with one simple punch or kick.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The news footage in the queue starts with one of the reporters saying, "Reports pour in of fire, theft, and what has been described as a green levitation ray that has lifted and removed the Statue of Liberty."
- Burn the Orphanage: News footage is shown of a burning orphanage, which was said to have been set aflame due to a gas line rupture that occurred when the Sinister Syndicate levitated the building.
- Butt-Monkey: You. You and your fellow riders are just some random tourists who got shanghaied by JJJ into taking some juicy photographs on the night of the Syndicate's greatest caper. You're caught by the bad guys almost immediately, and for the rest of the ride, you're sent through one deadly hazard after another. You're nearly zapped, bitten, crushed, blown up, and sent plummeting to your death after getting zapped by the Anti-Gravity Cannon, saved only by the timely intervention of Spidey. Who mocks you for your trouble.
- Call-Back: In the first scene, Spider-Man warns the riders to be careful. Later, when the riders are attacked by the Syndicate and end up in the sewers, they meet up with Spider-Man again, who says, "So much for being careful..."
- Chekhov's Gun: The SCOOP vehicles are introduced early in the queue line as the Daily Bugle's new form of newspaper delivery, and they later come very much in handy when JJJ decides to use them to send the guests out into the city.
- Composite Character: The Sinister Syndicate is an actual team within the Marvel Universe made up of lesser-known Spider-Man villains, but the roster of antagonists is primarily made up of Sinister Six members, including the team's founder (Doctor Octopus). The key reason that the other team's name was used is due to the fact that there are only five members.
- Con Man: J. Jonah Jameson, who talks the guests into going out to get pictures of all the chaos by explaining that it will help save the city; when really he just wants pictures for his own personal gain.
- Contrived Coincidence: Right at the beginning of the ride, the guests just so happen to crash into the very warehouse where the supervillains are working on their evil plan.
- Cool Car: The SCOOP vehicles, while also looking neat, are designed to withstand numerous conditions.
- Cool Shades: The 3-D glasses the riders wear, Spider-Man even lampshades this.
- Creator Cameo: Stan Lee makes not one, not two, but six appearances in this ride. note
- A Day in the Limelight: Scream, who is a very minor character in the comics, is included among the members of the Sinister Syndicate in the ride; presumably to fill the symbiote-villain quota as they likely wanted to save Venom and Carnage for another project. It can also be assumed that Venom or Carnage were not made a part of the Sinister Syndicate due to Venom being an Anti-Hero and Carnage not really being one to take orders along with having little interest in world domination.
- Deadline News: In the queue line's news footage, a news reporter is shown getting footage of the Sinister Syndicate stealing the Statue of Liberty, before Doctor Octopus attacks and the broadcast abruptly ends.
- Demoted to Extra: The only appearance Aunt May and Mary Jane make in this ride is via a voicemail in Peter's office, which you can only walk through if you're going through the Universal Express queue line.
- Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: JJJ makes it clear that he doesn't want the guests to touch anything on the SCOOP vehicle, as it's expensive and he's still making payments on it.
- Easter Egg:
- At one point in the ride, you'll see a closed movie theater that has a phone number on its signage. If you call it, you'll get a message saying that the theater is closed until Spider-Man can make the city safe again.
- At that same movie theater, the marquee advertises the showing of a movie called The Clone Saga.
- Eat the Camera: Played with. At the end of Doc Ock's first transmission, Scream gets in front of the camera and lunges forward, mouth-first, before the transmission cuts out.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Occurs when Spider-Man tricks Electro, a villain with electricity powers, into accidentally attacking Hydro-Man, a villain with water powers. The result is both of them getting defeated without Spidey having to land a single punch.
- Enemy Rising Behind: While Spider-Man is talking to the riders in the sewers, Hydro-Man rises up right behind him, which he notices soon after.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: During the news footage, Scream picks up a police car and tosses it at three other ones, causing it to immediately explode on impact, and soon after causes the other ones to explode as well.
- Evil Gloating: Upon the ride's first scene, Doc Ock is seen boasting among the other villains, saying, "with my anti-gravity cannon, even Spider-Man won't be able to stop me!".
- Evil Laugh: Every villain in the ride except Scream does one at some point.
- Evil Plan: The Syndicate plans to make the city surrender itself by threatening to destroy the Statue of Liberty.
- Exact Words: A gag at the ride's unloading station shows that Spider-Man used the levitation ray on J. Jonah Jameson, along with leaving a note that says, "Here's the raise you deserve."
- Excuse Plot: J. Jonah Jameson recruits a bunch of random New York tourists to help him cover the Syndicate's attack on the city using a squad of automated news vans that keep them safe from the bad guys when shit goes down. Hey, it's a theme-park ride; you don't ride it for the story...
- Fearless Fool: The guests are pretty much this in the context of the ride's story.
- Femme Fatalons: Scream has these, which she uses in an attempt to claw the riders' faces off.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: Doc Ock's tentacles are shown to have the added ability to produce fire.
- Freudian Slip:
Peter Parker: Listen, things are going from bad to worse out there. I got to go save the ci...uh, I mean save some of this action on film!
- First occurs during Peter's conversation with JJJ.
J. Jonah Jameson: Keep your eyes out for these degenerate scum and anything else that might make a good headline-uh, I mean, that might help save our fair city.
- Then again when JJJ is briefing the guests on their task.
- From Bad to Worse: The Sinister Syndicate's attack on New York progressively escalates in scale, eventually leading to them stealing the Statue of Liberty and holding the entire city hostage. In the queue video, Peter Parker even says this trope word-for-word when explaining to JJJ why he doesn't have time to talk to him.
- The Full Name Adventures: Speaks for itself.
- Giggling Villain: Hobgoblin is this, though he also does the standard evil laugh as well.
- Holding Out for a Hero: It's shown in the queue videos that the police force are no match for the Sinister Syndicate, leading the city to desperately call out for any kind of superheroic-assistance.
- I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: During the final part of the queue video, when JJJ remarks on how dangerous it is in the city:J. Jonah Jameson: Things are getting dangerous out there. So dangerous that I'm feeling guilty about sending you out, and believe me that just doesn't happen.
- I Want My Mommy!: JJJ believes that some of his staff wimped out for this reason.J. Jonah Jameson: My staff has gone AWOL, half missing, and half run home to mommy. The lousy, gutless WIMPS!
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Doc Ock seems to have a lot of trouble aiming his anti-gravity gun correctly, which Spider-Man lampshades.Spider-Man: Doc, your aim is worse than your haircut!
- Insult Backfire: After Spidey mocks Doc Ock's poor aim, he responds, "Well, it's good enough for your sitting duck-friends!", before levitating the SCOOP vehicle.
- Intimidation Demonstration: In the queue line video, Doc Ock demonstrates the power of his anti-gravity gun by levitating an incoming train and then dropping it into the river.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Before attempting to chuck a pumpkin bomb at the guests, Hobgoblin does his own take on the "Trick or Treat" rhyme.Hobgoblin: Trick or treat, smell my feet, time to blow you off the street!
- Is This Thing Still On?: In the pre-boarding video, while trying to turn off the camera, JJJ says to himself, "Tourists! They make that moronic shutterbug Parker look like a genius..." Then when he notices that it's still on, he exclaims, "How do you turn this thing off?!"
- It's All About Me: JJJ shows zero concern over the guests' safety, caring only about being able to score some pictures of the devastation and maybe win a Pulitzer Prize.
- It's Quiet… Too Quiet: During the news report in the queue line, one of the reporters says, "In a city of tumult and turmoil, Wall Street sits eerily silent tonight, while Doc Ock and his gang rain havoc on the rest of Manhattan..." Cue Scream showing up and creating chaos.
- Just in Time: Spider-Man just narrowly prevents the riders from smashing into ground by catching them in a web.
- Kent Brockman News: The second part of the queue video is this, showing a series of news reports that detail the Sinister Syndicate's activities, with many news parodies thrown in along the way; such as a male news reporter that seems to have only a mere passing interest in what's going on.
- Leave Him to Me!: When Scream moves in to attack the riders, Doc Ock pulls her away, exclaiming, "Get away! They're mine!"
- Legion of Doom: The Sinister Syndicate.
- Militaries Are Useless: News broadcasts show that the Sinister Syndicate are able to pummel through the police with ease.
- Monumental Theft: The villains, with the aid of the levitation gun, steal the Statue of Liberty and hold it for ransom.
- Mythology Gag: In one scene, there's a movie theater that's currently advertising a film called The Clone Saga.
- Night-Vision Goggles: What the 3D glasses are said to be.
- "No Talking or Phones" Warning: The final part of the queue video has one of the Bugle employees explain how to properly board the SCOOP vehicle and what not to do when riding.
- Not Bad: After being heavily concerned for their safety, at the end of the ride Spidey says to the guests, "You guys did alright. But don't give up your day job."
- Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: Doc Ock can be heard saying this as the riders crash into the Syndicate's hideout. Of course, it ends up being a form of Tempting Fate.Electro: Doctor Octopus, everything’s going as planned!Doctor Octopus: Excellent, and with my anti-gravity cannon, even Spider-Man won't be able to stop me!Hobgoblin: You mean ‘stop us’!Doctor Octopus: Yes, of course...
- No-Sell: When you first encounter Hydro-Man, Spider-Man tries to take him down by punching him. Because he's made of water, however, it barely even slows him down.
- Opportunistic Bastard: JJJ, who takes advantage of the guests being in the Bugle and recklessly sends them out to get pictures.
- Or My Name Isn't...: The full context of what he was saying isn't shown, but when the Syndicate's transmission cuts back to JJJ, he's exclaiming, "...or my name isn't J. Jonah Jameson!"
- Paddleball Shot: Several scenes in the ride definitely go the extra mile with making use of the 3D effects. Examples include: Spider-Man's pointer finger, An electrical cable held by Electro, Scream's claws (and her face), Hydro-Man's hand, one of Doc Ock's tentacles, and one of Hobgoblin's pumpkin bombs.
- Photo Montage: Briefly done in the Daily Bugle introductory video to show the early roots of the company.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Due to the obscurity of the character, many people believe that Scream was created just for this ride, when in fact she did actually appear in the comics long beforehand.
- Right Behind Me: When JJJ explains to Peter why he's sending the guests out to get photos, he mentions, "...and if I con those dupes into doing their civic duty, why not use them?", before Peter points out that the guests are right behind him, to which he responds by turning around and smiling awkwardly at them.
- Rooftop Confrontation: Spider-Man takes out Scream, Electro, Hydro-Man, and Doctor Octopus all on rooftops.
- Running Gag: Stan Lee's many appearances in the ride. In the updated version, he even gives the final exit spiel as the Scoop pulls into the unload station.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The queue line shows evidence that the entire Daily Bugle staff fled the building in response to the current threat, as all of the offices are completely empty, phone calls are left unanswered, and there's even a few half-eaten doughnuts laying on some desks. J. Jonah Jameson later confirms this implication when he angrily mentions how all of his staff have abandoned ship, which is why he's going to send tourists out into the city to get him some photos.
- Shoo the Dog: Spider-Man to the riders in the first scene, warning them that it's not safe and that they shouldn't be out.
- Two advertisements for Stark Industries can be seen in the ride.
- In the Universal Express queue line, there is a long row of file cabinets that have the names of different characters and beings from the Marvel Universe. One of the bins is labelled "SCP".
- In the scene where Doc Ock levitates the vehicle, one of the theaters in the background is named "The Woodbury Theater", a nod to Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative.
- The queue line has a room full of glass shelves displaying a variety of certificates, which have the names of many of the Universal Creative employees that worked on the ride.
- One of the first commercials advertising Islands of Adventure parodied the Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." When a boy looks out of the airplane window, he sees Spidey and Doc Ock duking it out on the wing.
- Sickly Green Glow: Forms around anything that gets shot with Doc Ock's levitation ray.
- Skewed Priorities: Just after the riders narrowly avoid getting killed by Doc Ock and Hobgoblin, JJJ is more upset over the damage the SCOOP vehicle has taken, exclaiming over a radio transmission, "SCOOP! My BEAUTIFUL SCOOP!"
- Slasher Smile: Hobgoblin does this throughout the ride.
- Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The ride's facade shows Spider-Man in this kind of position.
- The Smurfette Principle: Scream is the only female among the five Syndicate members.
- Spectacular Spinning: The ride vehicles spin rapidly as they are sent down into the sewers.
- Spinning Paper: Subverted, a spinning paper effect is used in the Daily Bugle introduction video, but it just says "Welcome to the Daily Bugle!" on it.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Hobgoblin makes a building wall blow up with a pumpkin bomb when Spider-Man causes him to miss.
- Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Despite the threat of the Sinister Syndicate being extremely serious, no other superhero besides Spider-Man get involved in stopping them.
- Take Over the City: What Ock's current plan is.
- Take Over the World: What Ock mentions his overall long-term plan is.
- This Is Not a Drill: In the queue, one of the PA announcements that will occasionally go off states that all members of the "SCOOP Readiness Team" should report to the loading dock, adding at the end, "This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill!"
- Throwing Out the Script: In the queue line video, Peter Parker gives the guests a tour of the Bugle, and then notices his script says negative things about Spider-Man. He tosses it aside and gives his own perspective.
- Title: The Adaptation: At Universal Studios Japan, the ride is sometimes referred to as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: The Ride.
- Title Theme Drop: A dubstep version of the classic Spider-Man theme song plays as the vehicles are pulling back into the station. The normal version of it also plays in the ride's gift shop.
- Turn Off the Camera: In the queue video, Spidey does the "Have Some Decency" version of this after he sees that a news station is filming him rescuing an injured woman. He then promptly webs-out the camera lens.Spider-Man: Hey, you nutcase. Put that camera down and get this lady to a hospital! TV News...sheesh!
- Updated Re Release: As mentioned previously, the ride was given a revamp in 2012, getting entirely new animation, 4K projectors, and a new soundtrack. The changes were later also brought over to Japan's version in 2014.
- Verbal Backspace: When JJJ first talks to the guests in the SCOOP vehicle:J. Jonah Jameson: With Spider-Man nearby, trouble can't be far away. And you know what trouble means; Headlines! National coverage! So don't screw this up! I mean, uh, good luck.
- "Wanted!" Poster: The loading station as well as the alleyway in the first scene of the ride has wanted posters for all of the Sinister Syndicate members.
- We Interrupt This Program: The Sinister Syndicate cuts off all of the television signals in the city to broadcast their demands for New York to surrender. Hobgoblin even says, "We interrupt this program to give you this special report!..."
- What Happened to the Mouse?: At the end of the ride, Hydro-Man is not among the webbed-up villains, leaving it unanswered as to whether getting hit by Electro's electricity killed him or merely incapacitated him for a time.
- Wink "Ding!": The end of the Daily Bugle introductory video has JJJ giving a wink, complete with this sound effect.
- Wolverine Publicity: Up until Harry Potter came along, both this and Shrek 4D were the most marketed-attractions at Universal Orlando.
- World of Pun: Quite a few puns get thrown around in the attraction.
(after wrapping the villains in a web) "Guess that "wraps" things up!"
- From Spider-Man:
(when levitating and then dropping a train) "What goes up...must come DOWN!"(when making his tentacles produce fire) "Don't leave now! Things are going to...HEAT UP!"(before turning off the levitation on the riders, making them fall) "Happy landings!"
- From Doctor Octopus:
(about to electrocute the vehicle) "INTRUDERS! If you think you're getting out of here, you're in for a SHOCK!"(when Doc Ock announces that they've stolen Lady Liberty) "ELECTRIFYING!"
- From Electro:
(during Doc Ock's broadcast, when discussing the damage he's done) "We took a bite out of the big apple!"(during the final fight scene, when attempting to attack the SCOOP) "You're taking a dive!"
- From Hydro-Man:
- You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Peter's reaction to JJJ's plan to send the guests out in the SCOOP.Peter Parker: The SCOOP? With a bunch of wet-behind-the-ears tourists? You're kidding, right?