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Marvel's Spiderman provides an uneasy contrast to Into The Spiderverse. When I saw the first trailer for Into The Spiderverse, I laughed at the jokes, but secretly dreaded that the movie was going to be worse than what it first presented. I found myself pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the movie and later watched a couple episodes of the latest Spiderman series to see how they compared. After watching two seasons of the show I've quickly remembered why I was so hesitant to watch it, as the series makes every mistake the movie didn't make.
Marvel seems to like the idea of multiple Spidermen/Spiderwomen, thinking the simplistic idea that more of something good instantly means something better. The show simply shows Miles Morales next to Peter Parker, as if the mere spectacle of his existence will boost the ratings of the show. In contrast to Into The Spiderverse's Miles being a right brain artist to Peter's left brained scientist, 2017 Miles simply follows Peter around like an uneasy shadow. They both share the same interests, ideas, personality traits with the exception of Miles being more submissive. Much of the dialogue between the two characters is interchangeable, the only times Miles stands out is when he uses the two powers Peter doesn't have, creating this uncomfortable Aquaman-like role.
Yet somehow this is still better than Peter's interactions with other Spider-people. Anya and Gwen both come off as simply imitations of Spiderman, neither really standing out in any significant contrast to him. Into The Spiderverse had a bunch of Spider-powered heroes, but they all had wildly different personalities and designs, an anime preteen, a hard-boiled noir detective, and a cartoon pig were among Miles's allies. Even the film's own Spider-Gwen had a subtle shade of sadness to her that differentiated her from the rest of the cast. However, in this show, the uniqueness decay is front and center. The premise of second season depicted Spiderman as some kind of Fisher King for all that is morally righteous, which comes off as absurd, when he could take a few nights off to do his project and sleep, with his spider-legion, and other teen powered superheroes being more than enough to protect the city in his absence.
Spiderman 2017's plots live in a bland form of passable quality. Spiderman 2017 repeats the same strokes of previous series, using both the Venom arc and the Goblin arc, but not including interesting twists to improve the dramatic tension that previous entries had in their writing. Strangely enough, its Peter's scenes at Horizon High that really make him stand out. However, he never seems to tie himself down to any one ambitious project, and as a result this character trait feels undeveloped.
A back to the basics approach for a character that has been adapted to so many series isn't a bad idea, but there should be planning to how these ideas take shape. Simply sticking an interesting character into a plot is not enough to make an episode memorable, let alone a series. The show lacks dynamic interactions between its characters and is too afraid to be boldly push forward new ideas. Whereas Ultimate Spiderman rapidly shifted between good and bad episodes, Marvel's Spiderman remains firmly in the middle in terms of quality, which does not make it better.
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