Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / The Spectacular Spider-Man

Go To

  • 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?
    • 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?
  • Advertisement:
  • 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 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.
  • Can't Un-Hear It:
    • Josh Keaton is tied with Christopher Daniel Barnes as the voice most commonly associated with Spider-Man.
    • Ditto for Steve Blum as the Green Goblin, who has been cited by many fans as the best voice for Spidey’s Arch-Enemy and has even been favorably compared to Mark Hamill’s performance as the Joker.
    • Daran Norris has been lauded by many for his performance as J. Jonah Jameson, and is often seen as one of the best takes on the character second only to J.K Simmon’s iconic portrayal.
    • Advertisement:
    • There’s also Crispin Freeman and Xander Berkeley as Electro and Mysterio respectively, both of which are often seen as joke villains by fans, but Freeman manages to make Electro sound genuinely menacing and unhinged while still staying true to the character’s more petulant traits, and Berkeley nails Mysterio’s Large Ham tendencies without making him too goofy to be taken seriously.
    • Clancy Brown is seen by many as the definitive take on the Rhino, with his natural Badass Baritone matching Rhino’s brawny stature perfectly while also playing up the character’s iconic Dumb Muscle persona. And like with Freeman and Berkeley, he never makes the character come across as too silly to be threatening when he needs to be.
  • 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 Amazing Spider-Man era (where he was presented as a rational man who compartmentalized the two sides of his life well).
  • Complete Monster:
      Advertisement:
    • Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, is a cold, ruthless businessman in public, and a cackling supervillain in his alter ego. Osborn has created several supervillains that have plagued New York and Spider-Man for months, often using unwitting thugs as test subjects for the potentially lethal superpower experiments before unleashing them on the city to wreak havoc just to turn himself a profit. As the Green Goblin, he tries to bomb Tombstone's charity gala and "paint the ballroom red" with dozens of innocent occupants; transforms meek Otto Octavius into megalomaniac Dr. Octopus; and booby-traps a massive portion of New York with bombs that endanger countless civilians. Framing his abused son Harry as the Goblin by wounding his leg and taking advantage of his drug habit, Osborn later kick-starts a gang war that engulfs a chunk of the city; turns Mark Allan into Molten Man to use him as a slave; and attempts to take control of all criminals in New York as "the new Big Man of crime".
    • The alien symbiote is a lifeform that feeds on emotions, and functions as Spider-Man's most personal enemy. Latching onto Spider-Man as a helpful "black suit", the symbiote slowly taints and infects the hero's personality, turning him into a crooked thug who hurts all his friends. When Spider-Man permanently removes it, the symbiote mind rapes him with memories of his Uncle Ben's death to break Spidey and control his "mind, body and soul". The symbiote later attaches itself to Eddie Brock to corrupt and twist his mental instability into homicidal rage, merging with him to become "Venom". Venom attacks Spider-Man's loved ones; sets an apartment building aflame; and drives John Jameson insane, intending to remove Spidey's powers and expose his identity so everyone he cares about will be targeted by all of his foes. Behaving like a spurned abuser rejected by its victim, the symbiote is an evil stain that ruins everyone it touches while claiming to "love" them, and is always quick to ditch its broken host if it finds a better one.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Most of the super-villains, especially Venom, Otto, and the rest of the Sinister Six are viewed as sympathetic characters by certain sections of the fandom, particularly on Tumblr. While they do have plenty of likable qualities (and you can get behind them targeting Norman Osborn), they're still for the most part unrepentantly vicious and don't care how many people get hurt or killed as long as they get revenge on Spidey and take what they think they're owed.
  • Evil Is Cool: Many 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 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 disabuses 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 Venom symbiote 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. And after bonding with Eddie, Venom wholly falls into Creepy Awesome territory, uncaring about money or power and being solely hellbent on ruining Peter's life while having clever plots (especially in the "Human Development" arc) and complete immunity to Spider-Sense. Eddie having a sadder and much more complex history with Peter helps too.
    • Doctor Octopus starts out as a pawn in Norman's schemes but eventually becomes much more independent and actually runs his own schemes from within prison walls. He's also Affably Evil, as he's good friends with the other Sinister Six members (especially Vulture and Electro) and once kindly allowed two elderly women to run away to safety before fighting Spider-Man. Oh, and he has a coffee mug that says "evil genius".
  • 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 favorite adaptation still isn't coming back.
  • Fan Nickname: Many.
    • The Spectacular Spider-Bro.
    • Doc Ock has two. Pre-breakdown is "D'awwwc Ock", post- is "Doctor Octopus, Lord of The Vampires" due to his rather vampire-esque attire in "Gangland".
    • Due to the various girls that Peter/Spider-Man attracts, fans have decided to rename the show "Bitches Love Spider-Man: The Animated Series".
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • The fandom gets along really well with the Gargoyles fandom because they both share Greg Weisman as a creator. This got to the point that Greg Weisman himself wrote a non-canon crossover that was performed at the Gathering of the Gargoyles con.
      • Sadly, the fandom has gotten less friendly since the 'Save Spectacular Spider-Man' movement started on Twitter and Greg Weisman has not thrown in his support (because he does not believe the show can come back due to legal and corporate politics between Sony, Disney, and Marvel) while often supporting the 'Keep Binging Gargoyles' hashtag as he does see a path for that series to return. Some fans of Spectacular seem to believe that Weisman is playing favorites and have since resorted to attacking Gargoyles and its fandom.
    • The TSSM fandom also shares members with that of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, which both experience disappointment with their respective shows getting cancelled before the writers could resolve all the loose ends and Disney XD instead replacing them with lower-quality animated adaptations of those comics. It also helps that at least two of the EMH story guys, Christopher Yost and Josh Fine, love TSSM so much that they hired Josh Keaton to voice Spidey again.note 
    • The fandom also gets along very well with fans of DC Animated Universe fans and DC fans on the whole. It helps that Greg Weisman worked on Young Justice which most consider the best of the Post-DCAU cartoons. Both groups of fandoms consider The Spectacular Spider-Man the best of Marvel's animation series and the only one near the DCAU's high level of quality.
    • Fans of Transformers: Animated also get along with fans of this show. It helps that they aired around the same time and were both Cut Short.
  • 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:
    • This little piece from "Nature vs Nurture" is even funnier now, considering who the current Venom in the Comics is.
      Spidey: At least Flash isn't evil. Or at least he isn't possessed by an evil symbiote. Well, as far as I know...
    • In "Shear Strength", one of Grey DeLisle's ancillary roles is as an AI. Fast forward a couple of years to another series with Josh Keaton as the lead...
    • Any episode with Electro fighting Spider-Man might seem like this, after both of their voice actors can claim to have also played Ant-Man II (Crispin Freeman in a 2012 The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode, Josh Keaton in some 2017 Ant-Man shorts and Avengers: Secret Wars).
    • Here, Electro joined forced with Dr. Octopus to be cured of being an Energy Being. In Spider-Man (PS4) his reasoning for joining the Sinister Six is the exact opposite—he wants to become one there. Additionally, that version of Electro is voiced by Josh Keaton.
    • During his second fight with Mysterio, Spider-Man is almost hit by a steam train, but it turned out to be a hologram. If only the MCU's Spidey had been so lucky...note  Spider-Man also quips at Mysterio that "I'm using that stupid fishbowl of yours as a snow globe" and Mysterio's fishbowl of a helmet does get used as a snow globe in Far From Home to mentally scare Peter by trapping him in one.
    • In "Identity Crisis" after Peter and Gwen ditch a mob of reporters, one asks if Spider-Man can turn invisible. Well now one can.
      • Likewise, there is a scene where Gwen flawlessly dodges a football in season 2, and Peter notices how impressive it was, given that she has no Spider Sense. Not this Gwen, anyway.
  • Ho Yay: 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?
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Electro is a dick, but it’s mainly because he was transformed into a living electrical dynamo, ruining his life and taking away his humanity, causing him to snap. Throughout the series, he continues to mentally decline, and eventually embraces being a supervillain thanks to Doctor Octopus’s influence.
    • Eddie Brock. Having lost his parents in a plane crash, he's left all on his own. Towards the end of Season 1, his life starts to fall apart due to circumstances beyond his control. The jerkass part comes into play when he starts lashing out at Peter and blaming him. This resentment, coupled with the symbiote's corruptive influence, drives him to become a poison in Peter's life by targeting everyone that Peter cares about, including Gwen Stacy whom Eddie likes as well.
  • 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.
  • Love to Hate: Green Goblin AKA Norman Osborn is a nasty piece of work, but at the same time you can't help but admire how extremely cunning and over the top evil he is.
  • 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.
    • Montana, the leader of Tombstone's Enforcers, quickly joins the ranks of New York's rising supervillain presence as the Shocker. Hired to kill Spider-Man, Shocker frequently works with other villains to overwhelm the hero in sheer numbers, notably making his debut by ambushing Spider-Man with an attack helicopter during his second fight with the Vulture. Executing brilliant heists to steal gold and even his own suit, Shocker uses a bank robbery to hide the theft of Federal Reserve uniforms, allowing the upgraded Enforcers to effortlessly enter and commence with their true heist under the guise of delivering a gold shipment. Shocker easily adapts the plan accordingly when Spider-Man gets in their way, giving him a brutal thrashing the entire time and ultimately only failing due to the unexpected betrayal of Hammerhead. A pragmatic professional focused on getting the job done, Shocker is defined by his loyalty to the Big Man and his dedication to "squashing the bug".
    • Black Cat, Felicia Hardy, is a charismatic, seductive thief who balances her criminal career with a genuine attraction for the heroic Spider-Man. Black Cat always goes out of her way to help Spider-Man in any way she can while simultaneously using him to further her own thrill-seeking ways, in one instance helping him to clear his name from a frame-up to serve as a cover while she swipes the mayor of New York's priceless tiger necklace under everyone's noses. Capable of infiltrating high security locations with minimal effort, Black Cat even breaks into the secure prison the Vault to free her imprisoned father, taking time during the rescue to concoct a scheme that quells a Prison Riot, and even when she grows to blame Spider-Man for her father being left behind in the prison, she jumps to his rescue and scares off the Green Goblin to save the webhead's life one last time.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Never Live It Down: While the show is otherwise universally praise, one criticism that continues to sticks with it is what a terrible boyfriend Peter was to Liz. Not long after he started to officially date her, he also started to develop feelings for Gwen, something everyone was aware of. Rather than be up front about it, he continued to go through the motions of dating Liz, while also often ditching her for his super heroics. Quite a few fans regard this as their definitive interpretation of the character but this one element has always been a sore point.
  • 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 The Amazing 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 Heel–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.
    • In Accomplices, Frederick Foswell in his Patch disguise begins attending the underworld's auction but is forced out of it when it's mentioned that his backer has withdrawn. His backer can't be Jonah, since Foswell's attending the auction as part of a story that Jonah doesn't think will lead anything, which raises the question: who was his backer?
  • Shipping Bed Death: Liz Allan was pretty blatantly meant to serve as a Romantic False Lead for Peter to delay both he and Gwen actually getting together. The problem however was Pete's sudden change of feelings for Gwen in Season 2 made him come off as an asshole to Liz and the writers' attempts to turn Liz into a Derailing Love Interests fell flat. This resulted in quite a few viewers upon rewatching feeling completely conflicted on this incarnation of Peter and Gwen becoming a couple given all the baggage that would've led up to it.
  • Too Good to Last: Even in its short two seasons, it managed to become one of the most well-regarded adaptations of the character ever, pulling from multiple different prior versions to create something as close to a definitive portrayal of a superhero this side of Batman: The Animated Series... and it was axed because of rights disputes.
  • Tough Act to Follow: To basically ever other animated Spider-Man project since not named Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, especially so with its immediate successor Ultimate Spider-Man.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Woobie Family: The Allen siblings get pulled through the wringer in Season 2.
    • Liz Allen. Already having to deal with her boyfriend who, from her point of view, keeps standing her up, her brother falls back into his old gambling habits and becomes a supervillain. Peter, preoccupied with his super-heroics, is unable to provide her emotional comfort and breaks up with her. The last we see of her is her breaking down in tears, clearly distraught over Peter breaking up with her. Despite everything he put her through, she really liked him.
    • Mark. A guy with a gambling addiction who was at the wrong place at the wrong time when the Green Goblin and Blackie Gaxton rope him into a science experiment just so he could pay off his gambling debts. What he got was an armour that turns him into a walking volcano and forced to become a supervillain just so he can become normal again. When he fails, the Goblin leaves him to rot in prison.

Top