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  • Accidental Aesop: Every time the show hands us a lesson about great power and responsibility and the right thing in conjunction with Peter's keeping his identity secret, it ends up telling us that secret identities are a stupid idea and nothing good can ever come of them. Which is more or less true, if largely inapplicable to our daily lives.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Just like in the comics, how much of Eddie's actions as Venom were his own or of the influence of the symbiote?
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    • Word of God is that it is meant to be intentionally ambiguous whether or not Globulin Green really did drive Norman Osborn insane.
    • Does Walter Hardy know Spider-Man is Peter Parker, nephew of the man he shot? Is that why he knew Spider-Man made it clear he wouldn't forgive him?
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: It’s very hard to think back before The Spectacular Spider-Man began, but there was some skepticism due to the show's art style as well as the fact that all Spider-Man shows since the 1994 cartoon were mixed at best. When it finally premiered, The Spectacular Spider-Man quickly became a very popular with both fans and critics. Regardless of the years since the show's end, it still has the acclaim and approval of fans and critics alike.
  • Character Rerailment: The series features the first version of the Green Goblin to not undergo Adaptational Heroism. He is, as the Earth-616 Peter described him, a "bad man made worse". Likewise, there is more ambiguity over the effects of the Goblin formula on Norman's psyche, which matches how his comic book counterpart was portrayed during the Lee-Ditko Spider-Man era (where he was presented as a rational man who compartmentalized the two sides of his life well).
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  • Complete Monster: Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, is the most personal and wicked foe that Spider-Man ever faced. As his first action, Goblin attacked a charity event hosted by his rival Tombstone by setting a bomb to blow up and kill Tombstone, taking sick joy from the fact it will kill the dozens of charity-goers and his own men in the process. After instigating a gang war that consumes nearly an entire city block so as to eliminate his competition, Goblin proclaims himself the new "Big Man" of crime, brutalizing and possibly killing any who stand against him. Goblin's grandest and cruelest plan came when he set booby traps of bombs across New York City in an insane attempt to kill Spider-Man, uncaring of the countless innocents that could be killed. To help him accomplish his goals, Goblin orchestrates events that would lead to creation of several supervillains, like Doctor Octopus and Rhino. As Osborn, he finances and funds various criminal and supervillain enterprises and verbally and emotionally abuses his teenage son Harry, ultimately framing him as Goblin.
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  • 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.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: For the first time in his life, Doctor Octopus.
    • Some fans have also given this treatment to Eddie Brock/Venom.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The show’s version of J. Jonah Jameson is very well-liked by the fans. Daran Norris nails it, making Peter's ill-tempered boss hilarious.
    • Gwen Stacy’s portrayal in this adaptation is one of the major reasons for her surprising resurgence in popularity. Her design (especially since it becomes closer to her comic book counterpart's own) and voice are very adorable and she's got a Cool Big Sis dynamic with MJ. Lacey Chabert's performance helps out. Though the film version is particularly different, she's the other half of the reasoning. When it's not her, fans tend to think of this version. The Spider-Gwen comics seems to split the difference between the two.
  • Evil Is Cool: Some of the villains qualify:
    • Green Goblin either in costume or as Norman Osborn is a frighteningly competent and a dangerous adversary who is Laughably Evil while Norman is the unflappable The Man Behind the Man.
    • Tombstone, who's essentially this adaptation's version of The Kingpin. Not only is he in-charge of New York's criminal underworld, but he disabuse's Spidey's belief he's a pushover by laying him flat on his back within seconds of meeting him. Throughout his appearances, Tombstone shows intelligence, bravery, style, and enough standards/pragmatism to remain a deadly foe and Magnificent Bastard.
    • Hammerhead is quite interesting as a middle-man for Tombstone and (later Goblin) who shows some Evil Virtues (namely loyalty, perseverance) and the animation where he goes into his famous headbutting move is genuinely cool and compelling. Add in that he dresses like a classic '30s gangster (complete with vintage car), and you have a memorable minor villain. The fact that he and Silver Sable are exes makes him pretty interesting.
    • The Sandman gets this especially in his final appearance where he really shows off his powers by attacking an oil tanker in the ocean and does by converting himself into a moving sandbank (lampshaded by the ship captain noting that the beach is coming to them), and the battle with Spider-Man features an entire forest of fists jutting out of the ground, showing the true potential of his powers in a way that Spider-Man 3 didn't do. The fact that he reveals heroic qualities by saving some of the sailors in that attack only makes it cooler.
    • The Alien Symbiote, especially when it becomes self-aware and fights the entire Sinister Six by itself and wins and then provides Peter a Battle in the Center of the Mind that is genuinely compelling and suspenseful.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Primarily with Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Ultimate Spider-Man. With the former, fandom got into nasty arguments over which is the "definitive" animated Spider-Man adaptation. With the latter, Ultimate was Disney's replacement series for Spectacular.
    • And now a similar rivalry is starting to form with Marvel's Spider-Man, with many Spectacular Fans bashing the show after its first short and complaining that their favourite adaptation still isn't coming back.
  • Foe Yay:
    • 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.
    • Norman Osborn's obsession with Peter Parker already borders into Ho Yay territory (not that Peter helps matters, Normie-kins indeed...), but Spider-man and the Green Goblin?
  • Friendly Fandoms:
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The first five episodes are great and entertaining; however, the sixth episode abandoned the usual "two fight" format, going for one big fight with The Rhino instead, and then introduced Tombstone.
    • Season two also introduced much more complicated, long-running plot threads and twists, and generally amped up the quality of the fight scenes, which were already arguably amongst the best of Western Animation as is.
  • Ham and Cheese: Mysterio, who milks his sorcerer shtick for all it's worth. As Tinkerer mutters, "Actors".
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Remember the Lizard's failed attempt to eat his own son in his one appearance? Becomes a lot more disturbing when you remember that the comics would have him succeed in doing that a few years later.
    • The title of the 2nd Season finale: Final Curtain.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    Spidey: At least Flash isn't evil. Or at least he isn't possessed by an evil symbiote. Well, as far as I know...
  • HSQ: The final episode.
  • Hype Aversion: Unfortunately, the fandom has caused this, due to their boasting that this is absolutely the best Spider-Man adaptation ever and not accepting any other opinion, as well as their consistent (and often times unnecessary) bashing of both Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man (along with their respective fans) have scared off a lot of people who missed this show, and caused them to not want to watch it, either due to disliking said fandom's attitude or feeling it won't stand up to the sheer amount of hype and praise surrounding it.
  • Les Yay: Mary Jane and Liz in "Subtext", particularly in the last scene when they are performing their lines for the play to one another - even the episode's title adds to this feeling. For all anyone knows, MJ and Liz were each other's rebounds after the show ended! It certainly adds another dimension to MJ's "Finally!" line in the last episode.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Spider-Man has had to take on quite a few intelligent masterminds with these standing above the crowd.
    • Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, is the ultimate villain that Spider-Man faces throughout the series. The mastermind behind many of the series' villains, Goblin consistently stays one step ahead of Spidey throughout the series, faking injuries and even death, unleashing various villains and criminals onto him as distractions, and framing his own son as the Goblin all to throw the hero off his scent. Outsmarting all the biggest crime bosses in New York in a fell swoop of manipulation to kickstart a gang war, Goblin moves in and takes control of the city's criminal element before using all his resources in a grand, final attempt at wiping Spider-Man off the map to leave the city for his rule. In his public guise, Osborn builds Oscorp Industries from the ground up, making it into a world-renowned organization, hires Chameleon to masquerade as him to avoid suspicion, and slowly tries to mold his son Harry into becoming a cruel monster like himself. At times a psychopathic, Laughing Mad supervillain, and at others a cold, ruthless businessman, Green Goblin was the most personal and most diabolical villain Spider-Man ever faced, standing in stark contrast to Tombstone's professional brilliance with his own brand of psychotic ingenuity and charm.
    • Dr. Otto Octavius was once the meek, milquetoast assistant to Norman Osborn, and created several supervillains with his scientific genius, but upon nearly dying in a lab accident and having his arms welded to him, becomes the genius, diabolical "Dr. Octopus." After his initial defeat by Spider-Man, Octopus grows smarter and more resourceful, creating the villainous team-up of "the Sinister Six", using them to beat Spider-Man to such a point that the hero flees for his life. A gentleman who is genuinely friendly with his fellow villains and willing to allow safe passage to innocent bystanders, Octopus takes over a chunk of New York's criminal underworld as the "Master Planner" from the luxury of a mental hospital he has manipulated himself into by pretending to be redeemed. Octopus's master plan is to take over the computer systems of every piece of technology in the world, and succeeds in doing so to Manhattan before being stopped by Spider-Man. A mastermind so brilliant that he ran rings around every other villain in the series at least once, Dr. Octopus is one of Spider-Man's greatest, most intelligent foes.
    • L. Thompson Lincoln, better known as "Tombstone," is the "Big Man" of crime in New York City, running all criminal activities with a flawless, business-like approach. Introduced after sending numerous supercriminals against Spider-Man, Tombstone calmly and charismatically offers to pay Spider-Man to look the other way for some of Tombstone"s activities, and frames the hero as a criminal when he refuses the offer. Displaying numerous moments of honorable qualities, be it helping to locate a bomb at one of his parties at the cost of his own life or even saving the lives of one of his closest henchmen, Tombstone is also an excellent Villain with Good Publicity, convincing the entire city that he is an upstanding, charitable man, despite his monstrous appearance. No situation catches Tombstone off guard for long, as he attempts to be the voice of reason when the Green Goblin starts a gang war, and even publicly assists Spider-Man in dueling numerous villains to keep up his appearance, only to then betray and attempt to murder the man once out of public eye. Unlike most every villain in the series, Tombstone gets off scot-free, easily paying his way out of prison and returning to his former seat of glory, with only surface-level damages to organization.
  • Memetic Mutation: The interaction between Chameleon!Spider-Man and the real Spider-Man in "Persona" is viewed as a metaphor of the the rivalries between this show and Ultimate Spider-Man's.
  • Moe: Peter and Gwen are so very, very moe.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Norman framing Harry solidifies him as an amoral bastard, but injuring Harry's leg to do it demonstrates a casual cruelty and cowardice that erases any hint of redemption. Though manipulating Mark Allan was also up there.
    • Venom crosses it by revealing Spider-Man's identity in the first place knowing that he and his loved ones will be threatened.
  • Narm: Eddie Brock, post-Venom, in his moments without the symbiote.
    Eddie: It only loves me for the hate!
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Many who are aware of the symbiote since the 90's animated series probably didn't know that in its original comic book appearance, it was able to take over Peter's body in his sleep.
    • This is not the first time that Tombstone has been portrayed as a crime lord. He was first portrayed as a crime lord in the The Spectacular Spider-Man comic book series.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Eddie Brock uses this to make Peter reveal the location of the symbiote, allowing him to become Venom once more.
  • Periphery Demographic: Many of the show's fans appear to be adults. This is most likely because Greg Weisman was working on it, who has many fans that were children when Gargoyles came out and by the time Spectacular was created they have grown up. The top-notch writing and fight scenes don't hurt either. It's generally popular among comics fans who like Lee-Ditko Spider-Man.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Be honest, once it becomes clear what a horrible man Norman is, it's hard not to get behind the Vulture and Doc Ock gunning for his head.
  • Rewatch Bonus: After Peter gets the symbiote, it starts speaking to him (in his head). You won't realize this until Pete does.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • For some, Mary Jane Watson. She was built up a good deal before her introduction in episode 6, and then showed the makings of a great supporting character and potential Love Interest for the rest of Season 1. But in Season 2, MJ is regulated to being Gwen's Cool Big Sis figure who's a Shipper on Deck for Gwen and Peter, and is only a focal point of a subplot centered on Mark Allan. The series was cancelled before her role could ever expand, so she comes off as an underwhelming waste of potential for a character who's been established across other media as the love of Peter Parker's life. Greg Weisman and his writing staff might have wanted to replicate the slower build towards the Peter/MJ romance from the original comics, but many feel that sort of slow build didn't pan out well in this medium. Others, who are fans of Mary Jane Watson appreciate the series however for portraying her just like how she was originally portrayed in the comics (along with getting her personality right, and for her being a genuinely good person, and for averting the Damsel in Distress that the Raimi movies affixed on her).
    • On one hand, many felt that the Alien Symbiote was a more interesting villain than Venom and Eddie Brock. Many lamented the fact that given how the show is trying to be Truer to the Text, that the showrunners didn't go with the original scrapped ideas for Venom (where the Symbiote was the main bad guy who would periodically latch on to other hosts, drain it and move on vampirically and Eddie Brock was never intended as the final or only host) and instead went with Eddie Brock as a host, for legacy reasons. On the other hand, Venom fans were disappointed to find out that Eddie's seemingly heroic actions before bonding to the symbiote were motivated more by suicidal tendencies, as it seemed to be setting up Venom's Face Turn into the Lethal Protector.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: When John Jameson has difficulty in space and all of Earth is transfixed by it, Randy Robertson is particularly worried and says that John is "like an older brother to him". Given that their fathers (J. Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson) work closely together, this relationship makes perfect sense. However, nothing more of it is ever seen or spoken of, even after John is driven insane. It seems like in juggling the Loads and Loads of Characters in this show, the ball was dropped on Randy.
  • Tough Act to Follow: This series rivals the 90's animated series as the best animated portrayal of Spider-Man. As a result, no series since then has come close to being as welcomed by fans of the character.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Gwen Stacy. It's true that she looks closer to her comic book portrayal like that, but many of her fans prefer her ridiculously adorable look with the glasses any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Of course, Gwen Stacy in the comics has always had a malleable look and personality.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Peter is kind of this during his relationship with Liz Allan. He doesn't even attempt to hide that he has feelings for Gwen (or doesn't even realize he shouldn't be making it that obvious) even when right in front of Liz. Not to mention he and Gwen deciding to break up with Liz and Harry at the end of Season 2. This is coming right after Peter spent all season not showing up to his and Liz's dates (admittedly for crime-fighting), showed favoritism to Gwen over her on Valentine's Day, and Mark Allan's arrest for supervillain activities. Not to mention the fact that Harry was kidnapped by the Green Goblin and a struggling addict who had his secret outed by Flash a number of days prior.
      • In fact, they decide to get together just minutes after Harry tells them that he's spent the last several days kidnapped!
    • Also, his attitude towards Dr. Connors; when Connors became the Lizard, he took a picture of himself fighting Lizard, making it look like he (as Peter) had been hiding and choosing to do his photograph job over helping Connors. Now, this could be forgivable as a one-time mistake, but he does it again in Persona, when he takes pictures of his fight with Black Cat over the symbiote, making it look again like he couldn't even bother to call the police. Even worse, Brock actually told him he couldn't take pictures right before precisely because of the trust issue.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Tinkerer's voice makes him sound like a child, when he's supposed to be an old man. It's obvious that the voice was misused, since years later, Adcox would indeed use the same voice when cast as a child. However, that's Adcox's actual voice, and he's about as old as Tinkerer.

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