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Western Animation / The Spectacular Spider-Man

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"Tell me there's something better. Go ahead, try."

"Livin' on the edge, fightin' crime, spinning webs!
Swinging from the highest ledge! He can leap above our heads!"

The Spectacular Spider-Man is a short-lived animated series based on the Marvel Comics' web-slinging superhero and developed for television by Greg Weisman of Gargoyles fame. The series features Peter Parker as a geeky Ordinary High-School Student who was bitten by a genetically-altered spider and gained spider powers during the previous school year and spent all summer as Spider-Man.

The series is based on the early comic stories by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, although it also draws from the film series, Ultimate Spider-Man, more recent comics, and even Spider-Man: The Animated Series. It is also the first animated Spider-Man series to focus on his time as a teenager in high school, as it was originally in the comics, rather than portray him in college and beyond like in all of the previous shows. 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 censorship that crippled one of its predecessors, it was a composite adaptation of all sorts, that managed to combine all these aspects yet somehow managed to feel like its own universe.note 

Unfortunately, Sony returned the rights for TV adaptations of Spider-Man and the staff couldn't continue, leaving the series on a majorly bittersweet cliffhanger.note  After Disney's acquisition of Marvel, the latter went on to create a new animated series in Disney XD's Ultimate Spider-Man.

For those who either miss or missed out on 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.

This Spider-Man reappears in the 2023 movie Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, complete with Josh Keaton voicing him again.

The Spectacular Spider-Man provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The 3-D black helicopters tend to stick out against the backgrounds and characters.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Peter shudders every time Aunt May brings up Mary Jane's "wonderful personality" until he actually meets her, likely assuming that she wouldn't be as great as Aunt May says.
  • 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: With the show's cancellation after only two seasons, plot threads that were set up for Season 3 were left unresolved. Some stand-out examples were Miles Warren taking over ESU's science department and experimenting with human-animal hybrids setting up him becoming the Jackal; and Eddie Brock's forced separation from the Venom symbiote, subsequent mental breakdown, and incarceration, which when combined with a brief cameo of Cletus Kasady in Ravencroft set up the appearance of Carnage.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The New York sewer system is marvelously cavernous, which is convenient for Spider-Man and his Rogues Gallery's fights.
  • Abusive Parents: Norman Osborn barely conceals contempt for his son Harry, from snide criticisms to parental neglect and 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 accuse 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 learned 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 (although, the fact that it's a school in addition to having 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.
    • 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 by the time of his second appearance.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism:
    • 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.
    • Harry Osborn snubs his old friends once he's In with the In Crowd. He gets better after his temporary absence, though.
  • Actually Quite Catchy: Spider-Man's enemies Shocker, Ox, and Ricochet are riding an elevator, and Ox starts to hum the show's (and by extension, the titular character's) theme song, prompting the other two to stare at him. "What? It's catchy."
  • Adapted Out:
    • Herman Schultz, the usual bearer of the Shocker identity, doesn't appear in this adaptation and Montana of the Enforcers used the identity instead.
    • The series had Walter Hardy, the father of Black Cat, as Uncle Ben's killer. In the original comics and most other adaptations, Ben's killer was just a generic burglar.
    • Due to licensing issues, The Kingpin was one of the few big name Spider-Man villains who never appeared in the show. This led to the writers turning Tombstone into a Suspiciously Similar Substitute of sorts, having him inherit the Kingpin's Villain with Good Publicity and The Man Behind the Man traits.
    • While Cletus Kasady does appear, Carnage, the symbiote who bonds with him, does not.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The series is already well thought of by comic fans. It's more or so a retelling of the Lee-Ditko era, but with some elements from the Spider-Man Trilogy (the origin of Spider-Man is transferred almost shot-for-shot from the Raimi films, and likewise, the Daily Bugle is in the Flatiron Building), Ultimate Spider-Man (Kong, Eddie Brock's backstory and role albeit Venom is more or less the 616 Version, i.e. an alien symbiote from outer space), and even Spider-Man: Chapter One (Norman Osborn as the Greater-Scope Villain who converts mooks into supervillains).
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Sally goes from being a brunette in the comics 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 Name Change: Silver Sable's real name, due to being Silvermane's daughter here, is Sable Mandfredi, not Silver Sablinova.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: The spider that bites Peter was from a laboratory run by Curt Conners AKA The Lizard and funded by Oscorp. Also, Uncle Ben was killed by Black Cat's father.
  • Adaptational Diversity: The series features a Gwen Stacy and an Aunt May who require glasses, a Hispanic Liz Allan and Molten Man, an Asian version of Kenny "King Kong" McFarlane (renamed "Kenny Kong"), a Native American Jean DeWolff, a black Nicholas Bromwell and Roderick Kingsley and a Korean Ned Leeds (renamed "Ned Lee").
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Frederick Foswell, who in the comics was the villain Big Man, but that name went to Tombstone in this adaptation, leaving Foswell as a regular reporter.
    • In the comics, Sha Shan Nguyen started off as a Spider-Man villain named Sister Sun. In this adaptation, she was a normal high school student and Flash Thompson's Replacement Goldfish.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
  • An Aesop: "Reinforcement": Concentration of fire is important in both love and war.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: The origin of Spider-Man is all about this: he refuses to stop a fleeing criminal and Uncle Ben is subsequently killed by that criminal, teaching our hero that valuable lesson that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.
  • 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 and he also had a crush on Mary Jane for a while until she told him that she wants to be friends and isn't ready for any relationship.
  • Alliterative Title: The Spectacular Spider-Man
  • All Just a Dream: The fight with Venom at the start of "Blueprints".
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Peter Parker/Spider-Man in flashbacks and in high-school.
  • Almost Kiss:
    • Peter and Gwen do this 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 them.
    • Hammerhead and Silver Sable in "Probable Cause" and again in "Gangland."
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Liz Allan was introduced as one, mocking Peter as much as everyone else, until seeing him in a different light a gave her boost of Character Development and turned her into his love interest. Liz initially did not want to be around Peter Parker because of their social standings, but she eventually warmed up to Peter and dated him, becoming a Lovable 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.
  • Amusement Park: Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus duke it out in the middle of Coney Island, causing chaos amongst the fairgoers.
  • Amusing Injuries: Largely averted. Most of the hits Spider-Man takes are clearly painful, with him occasionally sporting visible injuries after some fights (i.e. the Lizard busted his hand, his fight with Kraven left him with a black eye, his fight on New Years Eve left him with a sore back, etc).
    • The one time this was played straight was when Peter burned his tongue on hot chocolate, causing Spider-Man to talk in a barely comprehensible lisp.
  • 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".
  • Anger Born of Worry: Gwen has this towards Peter.
  • Animated Adaptation: This show is widely considered an Adaptation Distillation of the Spider-Man mythos. While the show does stay true to the comics (through being based on the early comic stories by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko; the show brought in characters, story lines, and plot elements with a similar balance of action, drama and comedy as well as a high school setting), it also tends to utilize material from all eras of the comic's run and other sources such as the more recent ones, the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, and the Sam Raimi movies, making a Spider-Man cartoon that is recognizable to both older and younger fans.
  • Animation Bump: The fights tend 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 razor bats in the back and just looks 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. Venom's, however, are definitely not.
      Venom: (amused) What are those supposed to do?
      Spider-Man: Uh, well... they're supposed to hurt.
      Venom: Right idea, WRONG CALIBER! (craters a staircase with cannonball-sized web bullets)
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Spider-Man: Hey, Max, don't tell me you're scared of a second-rate schemer with a funny voice!
    Electro: First: I'm not 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 and Doctor Octopus' robotic arms.
  • Artistic License – Geography: In the episode where Doctor Octopus chases Spider-Man and the two end up in Coney Island after duking it out across Manhattan, it is fairly improbable, mostly because Coney Island is in Brooklyn and Spider-Man is implied to have swung there.
  • Artistic License – Law: Averted. A police officer in the first episode points out that most of the crooks Spider-Man captures get let off. Roping up a criminal and leaving them outside a police station is a bad way to get them convicted. Spidey redeems himself later on by focusing on apprehending super villains who are very publicly wreaking havoc, in view of witnesses or engaged by police. note 
  • Artistic License – Sports: New York City has its own Public Schools Athletic League separate from the rest of the state, and, as such, Midtown High wouldn't play in a state championship game.
  • Ascended Meme: "Identity Crisis" has Spider-Man 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: Spider-Man's main motivation for doing good is that no one will have to suffer like he did when he inadvertently got his Uncle killed.
  • Auction of Evil: "Accomplices" sees the local crime syndicates bid on a disk drive containing the technology to replicate Rhino's armor.
  • Badass Bookworm: Peter Parker/Spider-Man is this, just like his comic book counterpart; As Peter, he is a geeky nerd who can solve your hardest algebra problems before breakfast is over. As Spider-Man, he is able to hand criminals their asses using his superhuman combat skills.
  • 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 Longcoat: Doctor Octopus wears an overcoat in this adaptation just like in Spider-Man 2.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Black Cat presumably and George Stacy. Season 2 gives us Kraven the Hunter (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 does this 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, which enables him to survive a building's collapse.
  • Bat Signal: Inverted. As in the Lee-Ditko run, Spider-Man uses the Spider-Signal to announce his arrival. It also serves as a handy flash bang as when he attacks Doctor Octopus at Coney Island).
  • 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:
  • Benevolent Boss: Tombstone goes out of his way to save Hammerhead.
  • Betty and Veronica: Gwen fills the role of Betty, but curiously enough, the role of Veronica is zigzagged between his other love interests at different times. This would include Liz (his major crush with Gwen), Black Cat and Mary Jane (which is short-lived in this adaptation due to its cancellation).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Spider-Man is a nice guy, but he can be very frightening when the villains push him too far and put too many people in danger. When he stops making jokes, you know you're in for a world of hurt.
  • BFG: Silver Sable uses a large firearm.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Depending on the Story Arc, the role of Big Bad alternates between Tombstone, Doctor Octopus, Venom/The Symbiote, and Green Goblin.
    • Season 1: Tombstone takes center stage as the Big Bad for episodes 1-6, being the Man Behind the Man for several of Spidey's villains, like the Enforcers, Shocker, Sandman, and Rhino. The Green Goblin steals the title for episodes 7-9, until he's Put on a Bus. The Symbiote becomes the major threat for episodes 10-13, with Venom as the Final Boss.
    • Season 2: The Master Planner (AKA Doctor Octopus) is the main antagonist of episodes 1-4, being responsible for the creation of a supervillain empire. When Eddie recovers the Symbiote, Venom picks up the reins for episodes 5-7. Tombstone, Silvermane, and Doctor Octopus all share the position as a gang war looms for episodes 8-10, ending with all three leaders being Out-Gambitted by Green Goblin, who becomes the final Big Bad for episodes 11-13.
  • Big Eater: Kenny Kong has a voracious appetite.
  • Big "NO!": Spider-Man says this 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: Knowledge of Latin allows you to know that some of Mysterio's ominous intonations are actually hilarious (but very well translated) non sequiturs.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Season 2's ending took the adaptation’s directive to screw Peter over at every turn and ran with it so fast it mocked The Flash. Congratulations, Spider-Man, you finally defeated the biggest baddie of them all. Only a) you had to traumatize your best friend to do it and black spot Spider-Man forever for him as a result (Which will likely drive him into becoming the new Green Goblin), b) You don't have a girlfriend to show for it (and on top of that, Gwen is going to be utterly miserable as a result of feeling sorry for the manipulative Harry), and c) You didn't really defeat the Goblin because Norman Osborn is still alive.
  • Blackmail: Green Goblin unsuccessfully attempts this twice with L. Thompson Lincoln, threatening to out him as Tombstone if he won't step down as The Big Man, or won't come to the Goblin's Death Course.
    • More successfully, 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: Spider-Man views his powers as a burden and responsibility instead a blessing because of the bad guys who've been pulled toward his family and friends because of them and the problems that have cropped up when he chooses not to use them.
  • Blindfolded Vision: This is 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.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Peter (Brunette), Harry (Redhead) and Gwen (Blonde). Mary Jane joined the group after Harry temporarily left the main cast. With Peter's love interests there's Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane and Liz Allen.
  • Book Ends: The first episode has this: "Tell me there's something better. Go ahead, try".
  • 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.
      Green Goblin: *Looks at camera* "Anyone else getting deja vu?"
      • Later, he comments that he has decided to speak in rhyme. He might be talking to the audience or he might just be talking to himself.
  • Briar Patching: This was used and referenced during one of Spidey's fights with the 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", which is set a season later, the same two characters show up when she accepts his proposal on Valentine's Day note 
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Spider-Man mocks Shocker in this way.
  • Broken Bad: John Jameson.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Sally Avril speaks with a Brooklyn accent note , and is easily the most abrasive of the teens at Peter's school.
  • The Brute: Hammerhead, the Sandman, the Rhino, and Ox are all villains whose greatest asset is their strength.
  • 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 for Spider-Man when Venom throws them at him.
  • Candid Camera Prank:
  • 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.
  • Clear My Name: It happens on quite a few occasions. Also, Jameson tends to blame Spider-Man for crimes in a lot of episodes, sometimes accusing him of working with the villain even when Spider-Man was clearly trying to stop them.
  • 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 with 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 Dialogue: Spider-Man and his Rogues Gallery engage in this whenever they aren't bantering wittily or trading insults.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Doc Ock drinks out of an "Evil Genius" coffee mug.
  • Ceiling Cling: Spider-Man, Black Cat, Venom. Even Doc Ock 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.
  • Central Theme: With great power comes great responsibility; what it means to have power and to use it in a socially and morally responsible way. This theme can be said to apply, to varying degrees, to almost any superhero story in some shape or form. With Spider-Man, it's being a hero even when there is no reward for being one, it won't get bills paid, it won't help your love life and it won't get you fame and respect.
  • Character Development: A significant amount of the characters featured in this adaptation receive this. An example can be how viewers are able to see Eddie Brock's slow descent into anger and insanity long before the symbiote shows up.
  • Chair Reveal: Tombstone tends to do this. Green Goblin pulls this on Tombstone in Tombstone's office
  • Check, Please!: Said by Doc Ock, to a waiter who, fortunately for the latter, 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 and Venom's spider symbols.
  • 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.
  • Chic and Awe: In one episode, Peter has no one to go to prom with and moans as his aunt tells him she set him up with a friend's niece. He mentions all the red flags he's about this girl and shudders as he goes to open the door... only to trip over his words as he sees a cute red-head, Mary-Jane Watson, for the first time.
  • Christmas Episode: The season two episode "Reinforcements". It even features the destruction of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, of course.
  • Civvie Spandex: Doctor Octopus tops his harness and jumpsuit with an ordinary trenchcoat. Or a tuxedo.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • There is a big one in "Growing Pains" when Venom bursts through the window of the Daily 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. Other examples include the Rhino, Dr. Octopus (only when it came to his mechanical arms), Venom, and Molten Man.
    • Even Spidey himself had this when he had the symbiote.
  • Clip Show: "Intervention" contains a lot of archival footage.
  • Closer to Earth: Among the friend trio of Peter, Gwen and Harry, it is Gwen who is most observant and concerned for Harry.
  • Clothing Damage: Spider-Man'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.
  • Color Motif: Greg Weisman deliberately used color to denote different aspects of Peter's life. They appear to break down as such:
    • Blue represents Peter's personal identity, between his blue bedroom, blue shirt, and the blue on the Spider-Man costume.
    • Yellow seems to represent safety, friendship and family: yellow house, yellow school and biology classroom (his best subject), Gwen and Eddie both have blonde hair (No longer visible on Eddie after he becomes Venom), Aunt May dresses in yellow and feeds Peter banana-cream pie, even Jameson, Peter's source of employment, dresses in yellow.
    • Green represents danger: many of the villains dress in green (And the main villain even has "Green" in his name), even down to Doc Ock wearing green goggles and jumpsuit, and the Osborns all wear green, while Oscorp is largely lit with green light. Colonel Jupiter has a green and yellow costume, denoting him as an apparent ally who becomes an enemy.
    • Red may represent new things in Peter's life which could be good or bad: MJ and Harry have red hair, Vulture (the first of a trend of supervillains) has red armor, and the red on Spider-Man's costume.
    • This might be reaching a bit, but Black may represent moral ambiguity: Black Cat is an obvious example, while Venom eventually becomes more anti-heroic in the comics, something which may have eventually happened on the show as well, had it not been cancelled. Further, Tombstone dresses in a black suit: he's definitely a bad guy, but doesn't want to make war with Spider-Man if he doesn't have to.
  • 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, and Green Goblin. There is 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—
      Sandman: Gullibility!! [sucker punches Spidey]
  • Comical Coffee Cup: Doctor Octopus drinks from an "Evil Genius" mug at one point.
  • Compassionate Critic: Norman Osborn is this towards his son.
  • Compilation Movie: The first DVD release "Attack of the Lizard", contains the first three episodes, but it 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 takes 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.
    • Sable Manfredi is a combination of Silver Sable (appearance and fighting skills) and Alisha Silver (via being the daughter of Silvermane) from the 90s Spider-Man cartoon.
    • The Burglar on this show is a combination of Uncle Ben's killer and Black Cat's father, which in turn makes Black Cat one with Jessica Caradine.
    • Mark Allan is one of himself and Betty's brother Bennett, who also had gambling problems which didn't work too well for him.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In "Group Therapy" Spider-Man defeats the Sinister Six in battle towards the end despite being outmatched by them at the beginning. This is justified in that it wasn't Peter Parker doing the fighting that night, but the symbiote piloting his body to defeat them.
  • 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 founder & head, 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: Spider-Man constantly engages in nick-of-time Deadly Dodging, otherwise he'd have been pulped into a fine mist before the first episode ended. (Justified in that he has Spider-Sense and super reflexes for just that reason, which is to avoid getting hit.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cursed with Awesome: How some of the villains in the show view their powers:
    • Flint Marko was coerced into an unethical science experiment that left him a sentient pile of sand. While he was horrified at first, he quickly grew to like his new body.
    • Alex O'Hirn, aka Rhino, is covered in a titanium-resin armor that's permanently fused to his skin and makes it nearly impossible to cool off if he over exerts himself (something Spider-Man exploited in their first fight). Despite this, he never once says anything negative about the suit, and even ruins any possibility of people making more Rhinos.
    • The process that turned Otto Octavius into Dr. Octopus was incredibly painful (and most likely resulted in brain damage). That said, he clearly loves himself and his arms, and wouldn't change a thing.
  • 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.
  • Cut Short: Due to the show's sudden cancellation, many questions were 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 the question of whether Spider-Man and Black Cat would ever reconcile after their last meeting ended on a bitter note, in addition to set-up for several villains such as Carnage, Hydro-Man, Hobgoblin, and Scorpion.
    • In a meta way, after this Spider-Man's appearance in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, you can't help but wonder if there would have been an episode dedicated to other versions of Spider-Man (Miles Morales, Spider-Woman, etc) coming to his New York.
  • 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.
  • Damsel in Distress: 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.
  • 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.
  • Destined Bystander: Harry and Norman Osborn, as per the comics.
  • 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 fights.
    • Lampshaded in the first season finale when he tricks Venom into punching a float, causing it to slowly descend:
      Spider-Man: (to Venom) "Now shouldn't y'all have seen that coming?"
    • Subverted in the second season when THE RHINO, of all people, manages to make this backfire on him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As always, Spider-Man is the king of deadpan snarking. Although, some of the other characters have some moments of being this as well. An example would be Professor Warren:
    Liz: Ooh! Couldn't Flash tutor me instead?
    Professor Warren: I'm not sure you understand. We want your grade to go up.
    • A special mention also 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: As usual, Peter Parker uses his spider powers to fight crime as Spider-Man because he feels guilty for failing to use them to prevent his Uncle Ben from being shot.
  • 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 The Lizard early on and does some dangerous cycling later in the season.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Fredrick Forswell isn't the Big Man in this adaptation. Instead, Foswell’s role of being the Big Man is given to Tombstone.
    • In the comic, Peter created four secret identity after Spider-Man was framed for murder. One of them was Ricochet. In this adaptation, Peter never used this identity and Ricochet is an name used by one of his enemies
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Throughout the series Peter’s Secret Identity as Spider-Man is deconstructed, as it causes him to put strains on his relationships with his loved ones, but it also gets reconstructed as things manage to work out for him, and it is the only way protect himself and them from the supervillains and other criminals he fights on regular basis, something Captain Stacy has made a note of.
  • 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.
  • Depending on the Artist: Occasional examples throughout the series. According to Word of God, the animation was inconsistent.
  • De-power: Curt Connors, John Jameson, and Eddie Brock are reverted to normal humans by Spider-Man, the former two only having powers for one episode each. Although given their main continuity history, it's highly unlikely they would've remained normal for very long.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: 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 ...
    Ox: What? It's catchy.
  • Disco Dan: Hammerhead is a walking throwback to Al Capone-era gangsterism, from his accent to his vintage car.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The symbiote making Peter push his friends away so that it can have Peter all to itself, along with Peter acknowledging that the symbiote sees him as its "first love," is reminiscent of an abusive partner attempting to isolate their victim from family and friends.
  • 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"?
  • Double Entendre: All over the place, such as when Liz admires Peter's Halloween costume:
    Liz Allan:"You can web me up anytime, Petey."

    Black Cat: "Just don't get any of your goo in my hair.".

    Black Cat: "If you're fed up enough with the thankless hero thing to match your image to mine, then I have to ask, are we going to be bad guys together, partner ... or just plain bad?"

    Mysterio: "A bit too soon to gloat, Spider-Man."
    Spidey: "Well, you are the expert on premature gloatalation."

    Rand: She's in your bio class, man.
    Flash: Oh, she's in my bio class, all right.
  • Downer Ending: Thanks to the cancellation of the series, we're stuck with this type of ending as the season two finale is 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'll most likely go back to hating him like she did at the beginning. 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! The only character who got a totally happy ending here and deserved it is Flash Thompson.
  • 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 is the 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.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The Globulin Green formula that Harry abuses is made into an analogy for steroids and other drugs. The aesop about drugs is so strong that Flash Thompson gets livid when Harry mentions he played for the team while juiced and reports it to the school authorities even if it means that they would have to return the trophy and have their statistical victories expunged.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Well, whose show did you think this was?
  • 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 are based off 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. It seems Peter wasn't the only one taking advantage of already having a costume.
    • Quintin Beck aka Mysterio and Phineas Mason aka the Tinker show up as the Chameleon's henchmen a season before they assume their villainous identities.
    • Season two featured Roderick Kingsley aka Hobgoblin, Morris Bench aka Hydro-Man, and Cletus Kassady aka Carnage who would have likely assumed their identities from the comics...... if the show had continued.
  • 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.
  • Electricity Knocks You Out: Electro zaps Gwen Stacy into unconsciousness so that the Vulture could take her to his lair for the Master Planner.
  • Elevator Floor Announcement: In "Reinforcements".
    Mysterio: "Second Floor - Toys, Housewares, Superhero Defeat."
  • Elite Mooks: Tombstone's bodyguards.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: It is revealed in "Growing Pains" that Flash earned his nickname when he was four, and it wasn't just because he was fast. The picture shows him running with no pants on.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: A minor Running Gag was Peter's cell phone going off at inconvenient times. One memorable instance had it go off in the middle of Spider-Man's fight with the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider. It was Peter's designated "Aunt May Alert".
  • 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...
  • Enemy Without: Venom, as always.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Despite everything that happens to them in the series, Flint Marko/Sandman and Alex O'Hirn/Rhino maintained a strong Villainous Friendship.
    • Mark Allan wasn't intentionally evil, though he did consent to killing Spider-Man in exchange for getting the remote that controls his flaming skin.
    • Inverted with Eddie Brock; there are still plenty of people who care about him (Peter, Gwen, the Doctors Connors, etc), but he believes himself to be hated and alone because of the symbiote's influence.
  • 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. It may be a nod to a brief storyline where Doc Ock tried to marry Aunt May in the comics.
      • Before this, Dr. Octavius was always the one most uncomfortable with the Big Man's unethical experiments, as one nearly killed the test subject (Marko).
    • Tombstone helps stop Green Goblin's first attack on innocent people, although he never does anything to jeopardize his flawless reputation.
  • Everybody Lives: Aside from Uncle Ben's usual fate of getting shot by a burglar to motivate Peter to use his powers responsibly, no one dies in this series. Even Norman Osborn is revealed to have faked his death at end of the second season finale.
  • 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 Brit: In his faux-sorcerer act, Mysterio has a British accent, although Quentin Beck himself does not.
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • Doctor Octopus changes his wardrobe after becoming evil.
    • Spider-Man's black suit symbiote could technically count as this, given that he becomes more prone to making questionable choices while under the symbiote's influence.
  • 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 the Green Goblin. 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, and the 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 Green 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 Eavesdropping: In the season two 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 the Rhino, of all people.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song boasts about how Spider-Man is an awesome hero who fights criminals to defend the city.
  • 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 wears an eyepatch, as the name may suggest.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Kraven advises that Spidey do this. Of course, he doesn't and breaks the headlock.
    Kraven: Now be still. The noblest prey gives up the fight with silent dignity.
    Spider-Man: 'Prey'? 'Silent'? 'Dignity'? You don't know me at all, do you?
  • Face–Heel Turn: Eddie Brock was originally Peter's childhood friend (as in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics) at the start of season one, but over time he developed a burning hatred for Peter Parker AND Spider-Man. After he bonds with the symbiote, he learns that they're the same person and becomes Venom.
  • The Faceless:
    • The Chameleon's real face is concealed behind a featureless white full-head mask.
    • Mysterio, when he has his crystal ball-shaped helmet on.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Walter Hardy, in "Opening Night".
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • In "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.
    • This also happens in "Identity crisis when 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 kind of got better and sadly will stay that way since there is no season 3.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: "Gangland" features one.
  • 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: Spider-Man and the Rhino's Team Up, Ox and Ricochet.
  • Femme Fatale: The Black Cat.
  • Fiery Redhead: Mary Jane Watson.
  • Flash Back: "Intervention" features this.
  • 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". It was a classic Spider-Man Upside Down Kiss.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: The entire Symbiote arc. Venom—or more accurately, the symbiote itself—acts like a spurned ex/stalker towards Peter Parker. Eddie Brock doesn't seem to have much issue with this either, judging by all of those unsettling leers aimed at the web-head. Of course, that could just be the symbiote's influence, but it's certainly there regardless. The symbiote doesn't seem to have any problem going on about how much it just wants to be with Spider-Man. Spidey even refers to himself (albeit somewhat ironically) as its "first love" at the end of "Nature vs Nurture". Venom seems to hate Spider-Man just as much as it wants him back/to itself.
  • 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, The Green Goblin, 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 the radiation fusing his mechanical arms with his spinal column, and goes from meek to megalomaniacal.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In some episodes, the articles from the Daily Bugle aren't just gibberish or scribbles. They can be read when in focus on relevant events throughout each episode.
    • Combined with Rewatch Bonus, after the twist in "First Steps" comes in that Eddie's been fooling Peter all along to trick him into revealing where the symbiote is, pause the screen anytime "Venom" appears for a bit second. It turns out it really is Eddie in his makeshift Venom costume the entire time.
  • Friendship Bribe: When Harry starts using Globulin Green, he becomes a part of the popular crowd. However, it's shown fairly quickly that the popular kids are only including Harry (except for Glory Grant, who's actually a decent person) because he's letting them ride in his limo and buying them things. Once he leaves for Europe to get clean of his addiction, none of the popular kids seem too upset about seeing him gone.
  • 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 Valentine's Day Massac-...Summit.
  • Friendless Background
  • From a Single Cell: Several.
  • Fun Personified: Mary Jane Watson.

  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Vulture invented his flight-capable Powered Armor, Norman Osborn secretly invented the technology that he needed for his Green Goblin persona after he was presumably driven insane from the Green Goblin formula. Mason creates all the Chameleon's Shoe Phone technology. also, Otto Octavius created his mechanical tentacles.
  • 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"
  • Girl Next Door: Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Spider-Man, Electro, The Lizard, Kraven.
  • Genius Bruiser:
    • As always, Spider-Man is both intelligent and strong.
    • Tombstone, Hammerhead, Kraven.
    • Venom qualifies as well; in the show, Eddie Brock is Dr Connors' assistant.
  • The Gimmick: Spider-Man possesses several: The Spider theme, the quick wit, and, out of universe, One of Us.
  • Glad I Thought of It: J. Jonah Jameson does this with Peter Parker's idea to take pictures of Spider-Man in order to defame him.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Electro and Molten Man. Although since that their powers are energy-based, it's expected.
  • The Good Captain: Captain George Stacy and Colonel Jupiter.
  • Good Feels Good: An 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!"
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Spider-Man's webshooters and Black Cat's rope shooter.
  • Green and Mean: The Green Goblin, of course. Doc Ock, The Lizard, and Mysterio fit as well.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • As per usual, Harry is this towards Peter through the fact that he resents Peter for earning his father's approval, which Harry has never been able to do. Peter still is aware of it and tries to avoid it so Harry will end up better, but this doesn't end well.
    • There is also the fact that Jameson really hates Spider-Man, as always.
    • Liz gets jealous whenever she sees Peter and Gwen hanging out together (after she's warmed up to Peter), and she tends to find a means of getting Peter all to herself.
  • Grenade Tropes: The Green Goblin tosses up a Pumpkin Bomb in the Billiard Room that gets tossed from person to person until it blows up a pool table.
  • HA HA HA—No: Inverted by the Rhino in "Accomplices," when he agrees to team up with Spider-Man to destroy the schematics behind his suit.
    Spider-Man: I know I'll regret this, but... you wanna partner up to destroy it?
    Rhino: [bursts out into jolly laughter, followed by a Beat] Okay.
  • Hand Blast: Shocker, Electro, and Green Goblin. Goblin combines this with Finger Gun.
  • 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.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: As usual for a Spider-Man series.
  • 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.
  • 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 (such as when he and MJ rallied the football team to help save Gwen at the Thanksgiving parade).
  • 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?: This is arguable 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" and "First Steps" have this beginning.
  • High-School Dance: The fall formal is the subject of much agonizing as Peter tries to find a suitable date.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Doctor Octopus.
  • 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: As per usual, Kraven decides to do this with Spider-Man... and loses because he's simply a Badass Normal. He pulls this again after getting superpowers.
  • Iconic Attribute Adoption Moment: The Symbiote initially looks like a black version of Spider-Man's original costume like it did in Spider-Man 3, but gradually shifts into a more comics-accurate version as it takes over more and more of Peter's mind.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The 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".
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
  • 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.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Silver Sable wields a giant staple gun.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The Goblin reports to Tombstone that Hammerhead "can't come to the phone right now. He's a bit tied up!", and chuckles. "You gotta love the classics."
  • 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 mechanical tentacles harness fuse to his spine during a Freak Lab Accident, after which he does it for real.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Adrian Toomes is a caricature of Robert England.
  • Instant Sedation: Knockout gas.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Dr. Octopus hates Spider-Man as much as he hates Osborn because (before his accident) he'd been worried about Spider-Man tracing the Rhino and Sandman to him and coming for him. When he found Spider-Man at the scene when he woke up after the lab accident, he (based on his previous fear and the fact that Spider-Man was nearby) decides that Spider-Man was responsible for the attempt on his life and becomes his mortal enemy.
  • In Medias Res: "Subtext" has this beginning.
  • Institutional Apparel: The Vault's inmates are all in the orange jumpsuits.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Both the Daily Bugle's publisher, J. Jonah Jameson, and its editor-in-chief, Joseph Robertson, had aspects of this. As did photographer Peter Parker (who is secretly Spider-Man.)
    • Daily Bugle reporter Ned Lee is investigating Spider-Man and the Green Goblin.
    • Fredrick Foswell fits this trope as well, if not more so.
  • Irrational Hatred: Jameson has one for Spider-Man, as per usual.
  • 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. It doesn't work very well against Green Goblin, who matches him taunt for taunt. Spider-Man even compliments him on his banter.
  • Is This a Joke?: Stan Lee, funnily enough, provides the same explanation for the surrounding weirdness that he gave to the citizens of the Marvel Universe when he was writing back in the Silver Age. Aunt May asks the same thing when questioned if her nephew is Spider-Man.
  • It's All My Fault: As per usual, Spidey blames himself for his uncle's death.
  • 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: As always, J. Jonah Jameson is a jerk obsessed with proving his prejudiced belief that Spider-Man is a menace, no matter how much good the web-slinger does.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lampshade by Spider-Man in regards to Flash in one episode: "OK, if Flash Thompson is making sense, something must be seriously wrong."
  • Jerk Jock: Flash Thompson (as always), Kenny "King" Kong. Flash is kind of softening up, though; He's the one who brought Pete back down to earth and clued him in on the way he was acting while bonded to the symbiote.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: J. Jonah Jameson, the irascible, gruff publisher who make smear campaigns that are defaming Spider-Man for the sake of eye-catching headlines, lies to the face of the Rhino so as to protect Peter. Dramatically but more consistently, he's also a proud and loving father, putting him in marked contrast to Norman Osborn). Also, Flash Thompson is slightly this by the time of season 2, as he starts to give up his bullying ways and become a better person.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Norman Osborn and primarily J. Jonah Jameson.
  • 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 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 Black Cat's break out attempt.
    • Flash receives NO comeuppance whatsoever for his acts of bullying and stealing towards Peter. In fact, 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: 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!
  • Kid Amid the Chaos: Inverted. The child's mother pushes her out of harm's way, but remains in danger herself until Spider-Man swings to the rescue.
  • Knockout Gas: One of the Green Goblin's tools.
  • 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!"
    • The Vulture seems to have No Indoor Voice.
  • Laser Hallway: It 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.
  • Laughing Mad:
    • As per usual, the Green Goblin.
    • Harry Osborn on Globulin Green. He gets better when he stops taking the stuff.
  • Laugh of Love: Liz tends to do this when she's with Peter:
    • In "Reaction", Peter and Liz tend to laugh around each other as they grow close to one another.
    • In "Blueprints", Peter chuckles nervously and blushes when Liz hits on him by offering to help him stay warm after he complains about feeling really cold.
    • In "Destructive Testing", Liz giggles after hugging Peter, right before a football match she's cheering for is about to start.
  • 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.
    • One of the first shots of the intro is of a Daily Bugle headline declaring "He's Back!". The previous animated Spider-Man series last aired five years before Spectacular. So yeah, Spidey is back and it is kind of a big deal.
    • The Green Goblin claims that he possesses incriminating evidence against Tombstone which he's prepared to relinquish for a price:
      Goblin: I don't have it on me, but I will have it tonight.
      Tombstone: When tonight? Where?
      [later on...]
      Goblin: I don't have it on me, but I will have it tonight.
      Spidey: When tonight? Where?
      Goblin: [Aside Glance] Anyone else getting Déjà Vu?
  • 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 1960's and 1990'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.
  • Le Parkour: Just like in the comics and the films, Spider-Man doesn't just Wall Crawl, he wall runs, too. Black Cat pulls it off as well.
  • 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.
    • 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 and later Molten Man.
  • 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.
      • 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).
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Liz. She becomes this via Character Development, going from stuck-up in the second episode to eventually dating dorky Peter.
  • 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 (and would have came to love Peter had the series continued), Liz has lingering feelings for ex-boyfriend Flash, who finds MJ attractive but then focuses 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.

  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Master of Disguise: The Chameleon, Mysterio, and 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 and J. Jonah Jameson are both this.
  • Meaningful Name: Patch. As Spidey sarcastically quips, "Did your parents have foresight or what?" Justified as 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.
  • 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, the Rhino, and Spidey.
  • Meta Origin: Oscorp and the ESU lab bring together many origin stories that are unconnected in the comics.
  • Meta Twist:
    • The Green Goblin’s unmasking reveal. Both of them.
    • A more obscure one. In the 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.
  • Mind Hug: Peter's memories of Uncle Ben allowing him to fight off the symbiote, culminating in a very heartwarming pair of montages.
  • 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.
    • Green Goblin went from wanting to take over New York's criminal underworld to being obsessed with killing Spider-Man.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Doctor Octopus, of course.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: "Yes, gentlemen... and Rhino."
  • Mythology Gag: The series has its own page.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Tombstone, Venom. Peter even lampshades it: "You mean 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: As per usual, Peter Parker used to wear these during the time that he was an ordinary high school student before he was bitten by the radioactive spider.
  • Never My Fault:
    • The people at fault dump blame on poor ol' Peter and Spider-Man 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. However, one could argue that the Implied Death Threats and Deadly Euphemisms are scarier than if a character simply said someone was going to die.
    • Largely averted with this rather bloodthirsty line in "Group Therapy"...
      Doc Ock: "Rhino, you won the coin toss. Will you crush his skull or simply impale his heart on your horn?"
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Peter wasn't responsible for Electro's descent into darkness, but he sure helped push him over the edge. Peter is mortified once he realizes this and tries to apologize, but it's too little, too late.
  • Niceness Denial: In "First Steps", Flint Marko uses his power to construct a sandcastle big enough to stand inside for a little girl after some older kids tease her for struggling to build a small sandcastle on her own. Seeing this, Hammerhead taunts him for seemingly going soft, but Flint insists he was only doing it to scare those teenagers, not for her - an excuse which falls a bit flat given that he even made sure to give the girl her shovel and bucket back afterwards and told her not to stay out too late.
  • 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.
    • The Vulture.
  • Non-Action Guy: Tinkerer, confirmed by Mysterio.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Hammerhead is the only character with pupils.
  • No One Could Survive That!: In the 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 the Cayman island.
  • The Notable Numeral: The Sinister Six, as always.
  • 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. J. Jonah Jameson dismisses Peter this way... while waiting for the guy with the Spider-Man photos.
  • 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: "Oh, I'm sorry, Hammerhead can't come to the phone right now. He's a bit 'tied up'. Heh, you 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.
  • Oblivious to Love: Peter.
    • Gwen nervously tries to ask him to the Fall formal. He fails to take the hint. MJ later advises her to step up their relationship as "Pete's not likely to wise up".
    • Black Cat flirts with him outrageously, but he still reacts with surprise when she eventually kisses him: "Wow Cat! I had no idea you felt that way!"
  • On the Rebound: None of the female characters in Midtown High have any interest in this.
    • When Liz's brother Mark believes Peter is taking interest in Gwen in the middle of their relationship, he warns Peter that she's too good to be "second choice" and Peter himself.
    • Flash Thompson spends the second season trying to form a relationship with Sha Shan Nguyen after he and Liz broke up, but manages to do so when his attitude improves.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: While Peter is under the influence of the symbiote, Flash smugly points out what a jerk he's becoming if he's pushing away his close friends like this. Not too long after, Peter reflects on this and realizes: if Flash is the voice of reason here, then the symbiote really is changing Peter for the worse and he has to get rid of it.
    • In "Uncertainty Principle", Jolly Jonah J. is uncharacteristically quiet and sober about his son's dangerous shuttle landing. Right up until John lands safely. He takes a second to celebrate, then gets right back to his usual self. He's a lot more cheerful around John, just in general.
  • 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.
    • Given how Gwen glances over at Peter and Liz before saying yes to dating Harry, it seems she had this in mind too
  • 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.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Like most incarnations of the character, Peter and May are fairly poor. The main reason he gets a job as a photographer for the Bugle is so he can help his aunt pay the bills. Part of the reason why the symbiote is able to take further control of Peter is because he's stressed out trying to find a way to pay May's medical bills (although she reveals at the end of "Nature vs Nurture" that she's become a published author and that the money she made from her first book covered the hospital bill). Even when they aren't having money troubles, Peter does things to save money, such as buying half-price thermals for winter crime-fighting.
  • 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.
    • When Aunt May has a heart attack, J. Jonah Jameson is visibly concerned for Peter, and insists on being the one to break the news to him. This backfires, but he was trying.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: According to Spidey himself in a season 1 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 episode, 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: How Spider-Man defeats Venom in "Nature vs. Nurture".
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: An unusual case. Due to Marvel classifying the Kingpin as a Darvedevil villain and Sony not having the rights to the character, he was replaced by someone else in Spidey's rogues gallery and this is where the unusualness of this case comes in. Rather than using another crime lord the Web-Head has famously gone up against, the creators used Tombstone, a hit-man rather than a crime lord and elevated him to a status he'd never had before.
  • Previously on…: Suprisingly averted, even with all the subplots that take place on the show. It might be case case of Viewers Are Geniuses that they'd read up on what happened with something they missed.
  • Professional Killers: The Enforcers are a group of mercenaries that consist 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 Peter, Gwen and Harry, 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.
  • 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 as usual.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • After stealing the credit for the Vulture's flight technology, Norman Osborn drops his Faux Affably Evil act and lays into the old man.
      Osborn: Listen, you old buzzard. You've been at this for decades without one success to your name. If you never accomplished anything as a young man, who'd believe you created Tech Flight as an old one?
    • Flash Thompson delivers one of these to Peter in "Intervention". For more, see What the Hell, Hero?.
  • Reconstruction: This show reconstructs the Secret Identity. While Peter’s double life as Spider-Man puts strains on his relationships with the people he cares about, as Captain Stacy has noted, keeping his identity secret is the only way he can keep them safe from the supervillains and other criminals he fights.
  • Record Needle Scratch: This 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.
  • 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: It’s 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.
  • Revisiting the Roots: While John Jameson returning from space with a transformative "condition" is a recurring plot in various adaptations, this marks the first one to use the alien spores his comic self came into contact with once, rather than the traditional magic werewolf moon amulet.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • The twist that Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin all along and set it up to look like Harry was is done amazingly well, with everything being carefully laid out in advance to the point that both the audience and Spider-Man believed the ruse for a while.
    • According to Word of God, Mary Jane had figured out that Peter was Spider-Man before they met. This explains why she's so forgiving of Peter missing things or suddenly running off (the very thing that can make his relationships so hard). Had the series been continued, it likely would have been revealed in the third season.
  • 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 accidentally 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: The Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Sandman, and Venom are among the most frequently recurring foes.
  • Roofhopping: Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus, Black Cat, and Colonel Jupiter tend to do this.
  • Running Gag:
    "Oh don't tell me you like the Master Planner and his wonderful personality!" *shudder*.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Eddie Brock gives Mary Jane a ride on his motorcycle, whilst he tells about his (strained) friendship with Peter. She doesn't know at first, but this ride is a telling look into Brock's true nature. Initially, he's driving smoothly, even while mentioning how he and Peter were childhood friends who were orphaned. But when he starts resentfully rattling off all of Peter's mishaps from the past season, his driving grows reckless and even dangerous. Seeing this as a red flag of Brock's bitter nature (and irresponsible driving), Mary Jane demands she get off.

  • Safety in Muggles: Tombstone won't fight Spidey in public.
  • Saved by the Church Bell: The first season adapts the famous, but brief scene of Peter using church bells to get rid of the Venom symbiote into an entire episode. It takes place in a Battle in the Center of the Mind where the symbiote acts as a devil on his shoulder tempting Peter to evil, only for Peter to be reminded of his loved ones and reject the symbiote as the ringing drives it off.
  • Save the Villain:
    • Spider-Man, to his dismay, saves Electro from Master Planner's Collapsing Lair.
    • In the Rhino's (technical) introduction episode, Spider-Man tries to save him from falling twenty stories to the street, but he's so heavy that his webs snap. Luckily, his armor is so think that the Rhino says the fall was no more damaging that a thrill ride.
    • The first episode has Spider-Man saving Norman Osborn, who's already a Corrupt Corporate Executive and will soon become his Arch-Enemy.
  • Scary Black Man:, really. 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 in "Competition", but clever blocking conceals anything below waist level.
    • The photo of a young Flash Thompson streaking across the meadow seen in "Growing Pains" 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.
  • Second Year Protagonist: Subverted; the show began with Peter Parker's first day of junior year. Justified because it was intended to only be a 65-Episode Series that would have ended with him and his classmates Graduating from the Story.
  • Secret Identity: Spider-Man, Green Goblin, and other characters.
  • Secret Identity Change Trick: This is 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 Secret-Keeper:
    • George Stacy keeps hinting that he knows that Peter Parker is secretly Spider-Man.
    • Word of God confirmed that Mary Jane Watson has known Peter's secret since before they met.
  • 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, Peter Parker, 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".
  • Shout-Out: It has its own page.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare:
    • The first battle with the Sinister Six in "Group Therapy" takes place outside of a theatre advertising a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
    • 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.
    • "Growing Pains" features the auditions for the play with quotes that tie into the episode from Henry IV, Part 2, Macbeth, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Richard III, and Othello.
  • 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 Spider-Man 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) villains 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: Spider-Man, of course. Especially when he is Peter Parker.
  • Something Only They Would Say:
    • An interesting variation occurs during a Spot the Imposter scene between Spidey and the Chameleon, as the proof is not just what's said but how it's reacted to.
      Chameleon!Spidey: [You're] The real one? You don't even have the costume right!
      Spider-Man: I'm in mourning for my buried rep. Just like Picklepuss will be when he's forced to print a retraction!
      J. Jonah Jameson: RETRACTION?! Listen, web-head, nobody tells J. Jonah— (stops, Oh, Crap! face as the realization hits)
      Spider-Man: See? Even the jolly one himself knows I'm the genuine article.
    • During their battle in "Nature vs. Nurture", Venom mockingly calls Spider-Man "Bro", which makes him realize just who the symbiote bonded with.
      Venom: We know who you love the most, Bro.
      Spider-Man: Eddie?
      Venom: You guessed!
  • Something Person: Spider-Man, Sandman, and Molten Man.
  • So Proud of You: Norman 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: "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.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Some of these pop up:
    • Don't do drugs/steroids, or else you'll end up be gaslighted by your father and framed as the Green Goblin.
    • Don't gamble, or else your bookie and a crazy green man will blackmail you into putting on a flaming suit that you can never take off.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Word of God says they wouldn't be killing Gwen during the course of the show.
    • Sally Avril as well as she died while Peter was still in high school.
    • Emily Osborn is also alive and well whereas other incarnations had her die not long after Harry was born. Though only at the time, as Go Down Swinging revealed that Emma, the nanny of Normie and Stanley, was really Emily and she'd faked her death to get away from Norman upon realizing he was a monster.
    • Joan Jameson is also alive and well, despite dying in the comics well before Peter became Spider-Man.
    • Fredrick Foswell is also still alive and well by the end of the series, as opposed to his comic counterpart who died saving Jonah from the Kingpin.
  • Spider-Sense: Spider-Man has this as one of his powers, of course.
  • The Starscream: 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.
  • Stealth Pun: 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".
  • 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 blasé tone of voice that he does Norman and Harry.
  • Story Arc: There are multiple storylines that overlap one another, each named after an education subject. They consist of three episodes unless stated otherwise:
    • Season 1: Biology (The Lizard), Economics (The Big Man), Chemistry (Green Goblin), and Psychology (The Symbiote).
    • Season 2: Engineering (Master Planner), Human Development (Venom Strikes Back), Criminology (Gang War), and Drama (Return of the Green Goblin).
  • 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"). Later in the series, the Green Goblin comments on the Master Planner's "wonderful personality" and does an identical shudder.
  • Stripperific: Mary Jane's vampire Halloween costume shows off a lot of skin. Which is odd, considering they're in New York, which gets pretty cold around October/November.
  • Stumbling in the New Form:
    • John Jameson has trouble maintaining his balance as he grows in mass and strength due to alien spores in his system, which results in him plowing through a wall.
    • Mark Allan flails around in surprise upon his transformation into the Molten Man, and falls backward into a table, demolishing it.
  • Super Hero Origin: Presented in flashback during "Intervention".
  • Super Hero Paradox: Invoked: some 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 Spider-Man'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. Also, The Green Goblin's secret headquarters
  • Superpowered Evil Side:
    • The Green Goblin appears to be this for Harry. Subverted when it turns out Norman has been the Goblin all along, and he claims to have been in total control of his actions. Goblin's wacky personality was presumably just another part of the disguise.
    • Naturally, with the addition of the alien symbiote, Spider-Man gets 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Peter has a tough time trying to take a photograph of himself as Spider-Man since his low-budget camera cannot capture motion effectively. The few good pictures that he does get are still criticized for their low quality by the Daily Bugle's editor who tells him to invest in a better camera.
    • Captain Stacy easily sees through Eddie Brock's attempts to frame Spidey by dressing up as him. While Stacy may not know who the real Spider-Man is, the difference in body language is enough to tell him that the one in Brock's photos is an imposter. Similarly, when the Chameleon disguised as Spider-Man robs a yacht during a party onboard that Stacy is attending, Stacy quickly realizes that he is an imposter because despite his mastery of impersonation, the Chameleon is noticeably taller than the real Spider-Man.
    • When Venom tries to expose Peter Parker as Spider-Man, almost nobody believes him. Anyone who knows Peter has trouble imagining someone so mild-mannered is a superhero, an image Peter works hard to maintain. What credibility would a crazed supervillain like Venom have anyway?
    • Kraven may be skilled and strong enough to take on wild animals with his bare hands, but he is still only human and thus way out of his league when he tries to "hunt" Spider-Man—at least before he gets his powers.
    • When Sandman successfully pulls off a job for Hammerhead in First Steps, he's disappointed to discover that after the Big Man and Doctor Octopus have taken their cuts, it's hardly the big score he was hoping for. As it turns out, being a hired thug, even one with powers, doesn't mean you're the one who gets most of the money.
    • Peter takes a photo of the Lizard while fighting him as Spider-Man...and his friends are promptly disgusted at him, thinking that he ran away from a serious crisis to make some money at the expense of his boss' transformation.
  • 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).
  • 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".
    • During a fight near a frozen river, Spidey jumps onto the icy surface and beckons the Rhino to follow him. He does, only to realize that he's gonna go under when the Webhead tosses him the oxygen tank he was holding and gives us this gem:
    Rhino: I hate you. So much.
  • This Is Reality: Spider-Man tries 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:
    • Spider-Man 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.
  • 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: After Doc Ock's tentacle harness fuses to him due to the lab accident, he goes from a meek, nervous little man into an Evil Genius and Large Ham thanks to the brain damage that he suffers from.
  • Totally Radical: Averted with the usage of common slang, such as "Don't go emo on me, bro."
  • Toyota Tripwire: In "The Uncertainty Principle," after the Green Goblin overturns Hammerhead's car, Hammerhead opens the door at just the right time to knock the Goblin off his glider. Later, in "Accomplices", Hammerhead's chauffeur hits Silver Sable in the face with the same car door in order to stop her from getting away with the drive containing the Rhino armor specs.
  • Transformation Trauma: Again, Connors' transformation into the Lizard. 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 Spider-Man, 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.
  • The 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.
  • True Meaning of Christmas: Spidey tries appealing to seasonal spirit to stop the new Sinister Six. No such luck.
  • Truer to the Text: The Spectacular Spider-Man is the most faithful adaptation of the Spider-Man comics (along with his mythos, supporting cast, allies, rogues gallery, etc) in comparison to most of the Spider-Man adaptations that have been created before the show:
    • Just like in the comics, Peter is a loner hero who solves his problems on his own without adult mentors or sidekicks and he balances his school and superhero life himself. Of course, the series still provides some setting updates and changes, but it maintained that core of Peter as a non-sidekick teenage hero far more faithfully than any other version of the character (who tended to take an Adaptation Distillation approach).
    • This version of the Green Goblin is much more faithful to his comic book counterpart than most versions (particularly the Fox animated and Spider-Man Trilogy versions) since they argued that Norman was a flawed but decent man turned evil. In this adaptation, Norman is the Green Goblin, "a bad man turned worse" and his psychopathic, manipulative, abusive Mad Bomber aesthetic, as well as his Gaslighting of his own son, is Norman Osborn in all his ugliness. Likewise, the Goblin's personality and plans for the two seasons, i.e. take over New York's underworld and killing Spider-Man, are faithful to how Steve Ditko depicted him in the comics, as are his great athleticism and flexibility.
    • The Venom we see here is more or less based on how the character was originally conceived (albeit with Eddie Brock having the backstory and role of the Ultimate version), complete with the suit having a Stalker with a Crush affection for Spider-Man himself, and likewise fighting with Spider-Man sleepwalking. The series also emphasized that the Symbiote has a real personality and drive on its own. Likewise, the fact that it sees Eddie Brock as a weak substitute for Peter Parker is also true to how the character was conceived.
    • Mary Jane Watson's physical appearance and personality as an aloof and noncommittal, but genuinely warm and loyal friend for both Peter and Gwen are true to how she was originally portrayed in the comics. Likewise, for being the only friend in Peter's circle who doesn't have baggage and is more or less on good terms with everyone. She also doesn't end up very often as a Damsel in Distress and is a hero in her own right when she comes to rescue Gwen from Venom in the finale of Season 1, getting the rest of M-Cube to use the parade float as a giant cushion for her fall.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Peter, Gwen, and Harry have been best friends for at least 4 years. Harry's dark side is to be growing.
  • Two Words: Added Emphasis:
    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 so—?
  • Undercover When Alone: The Green Goblin in the penultimate episode.
  • Underwater Base: Master Planner's HQ.
  • The Unfavorite: Harry Osborn, as in the films and Ultimate comics.
  • Uniqueness Decay: When he's informed that a hard drive with instructions to recreate the process that created him is up for sale, The Rhino moves to destroy it to maintain his status as the only Rhino going so far as to ally with Spider-Man.
  • 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. Their UST finally headed for a resolution in the second finale only for a Love Triangle with Harry to put the hurt on again.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Sandman and the Rhino. They're both stronger than the villains that contend for the show's Big Bad position, but they aren't very smart. Despite this, Spider-Man still always requires some sort of plot device or trick to beat them and Spider-Man once needed to get rescued from the Rhino when he had nothing around he could use to beat him.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Doc Ock should really think about kicking Electro out of the Sinister Six...
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Dr. Octopus suffers a rather calm breakdown in Shear Strength.
    • Eddie Brock suffers one in Season 2.
    • "Don't know anyone named Max! The name's Electro! ELECTRO, I TELL YOU!"
  • Villain Ball: It is grabbed very jarringly by Venom.
  • Villainous Friendship: Even before they got their powers, Flint Marko and Alex O'Hirn were best friends who often worked together on their crimes. After becoming Sandman and Rhino respectively, they still work well together.
  • Villain Has a Point: Despite his Sanity Slippage, Eddie Brock isn't entirely wrong to blame Peter Parker and Spider-Man for all his troubles. Between selling pictures of the mutated Doctor Conners to the tabloids and causing the lose of the symbiote specimen, Peter and his alter-ego were a huge factor in the lab shutting down and Brock losing his job.
  • Villain Reveals the Secret: Venom reveals Peter's secret to the Daily Bugle. Subverted in a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome when the Bugle decides that a supervillain is not a reliable source, investigates, and concludes there is not enough evidence.
  • Villain Team-Up: The Sinister Six in "Group Therapy" and "Reinforcements".
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • The Corrupt Corporate Executive Norman Osborn 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 does not have any lines.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: As always, Peter has constant struggles to keep his life on track while fighting crime as Spider-Man.
  • Walking Armory: When Kraven first confronts Spider-Man, he attacks with a bow and arrow. When that doesn't work, he pulls out a pair of huge knives. When those doesn't work, he pulls out a boomerange, then bolos, a blow dart, a spear, and finally, resorts to using his bare hands.
  • Wall Crawl: Spider-Man, The Lizard, and Venom. Black Cat to an extent.
  • We Can Rule Together:
    • Tombstone offers to pay Spidey to keep doing what he's doing already, with the caveat that he looks the other way whenever Tombstone says so. The Green Goblin makes a similar offer, declaring that he and Spider-Man could rule New York.
    • 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.
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • Peter and Eddie. It's revealed towards the end of season one that Eddie's been secretly jealous of Peter for years, mostly because Peter had his aunt and uncle after his parents died, while Eddie was left with no family. This hatred is fully embraced when the symbiote reveals to him that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, leading to Eddie becoming Venom, one of Spider-Man's most dangerous enemies.
    • Peter and Flash. When they were little kids, the two were actually friends. As they got older and Flash started to get in with the popular crowd, he left Peter behind and became his biggest bully. By season two, though, it's starting to look like they're becoming friends again.
    • Peter and Harry. After everything that's happened with Norman Osborn/Green Goblin and Peter Parker/Spider-Man, it looks like nothing will ever be the same between Peter and Harry. The fact that Harry is manipulating Gwen into staying with him certainly isn't helping his friendship with Peter.
  • Wham Episode: "The Uncertainty Principle", "Identity Crisis", and "Final Curtain" are these types of episodes.
  • 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 Biology 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?
    • Flash Thompson of all people calls Peter out on how rude he's been to his friend's who've just been trying to help him. This ends up causing Peter to eventually give up the symbiote.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: Sandman gets progressively more creative with the ability to turn into sand. By the time of season 2, he's using his sand-shifting with a finesse that would impress Sir Crocodile.
  • 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".
  • Win Her a Prize: Peter did this for Liz in one episode. Naturally, the carnival was attacked by supervillains soon afterward.
  • Wolf Man: Spidey refers to mutant Kraven as one of these, even though there's no evidence of wolf DNA in his change.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Otto Octavius, during the radiation fuses his mechanical arms with his spinal column.
  • 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!: In "First Steps", Spider-Man asks the Sandman why he chooses to do evil when he could just as easily be a superhero. At the end of the episode, Sandman ends up changing sides and making a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Spider-Man's famous battle patter. Averted in "Group Therapy" since in the second battle, 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.
  • 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, an applause from you...makes me wanna shower.


Video Example(s):


Two words...or seventeen!

Hilariously exaggerated. When Peter tries to confront his boss, J. Jonah Jameson makes one demanding he scram. Then a 17-word one. Peter is dumfounded that he could count the exact number of words he'd use for his next sentence before even speaking them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / TwoWordsAddedEmphasis

Media sources: