The premier for ‘The Avengers’ movie is less than a month away, and Marvel Studios has wasted no time solidifying their name inside the minds of potential movie goers through a variety of means. One such outlet was the premier of ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ on Disney XD last Sunday morning. In the realm of comics, Marvel has multiple Spider-Man stories to tell, but there are two story-lines that stand out above the rest. In Marvel’s “Ultimate Universe” Peter Parker is still in high school, while in “The Amazing Spider-Man” series, he’s an adult. ”Ultimate Spider-Man” is influenced by the former, as young Mr. Parker has yet to join The Avengers, and is still learning what it means to be a superhero. All of these elements possess the possibility for an enjoyable series, and with lead writer Paul Dini (Batman: Arkham City, Justice League) leading the charge, how could it fail? Sadly, it does falter, and it’s surprising that a show with such a talented development team could stumble so badly in its execution.
The problem I have with Ultimate Spidey lies in the decision of the developers to make the show overly comedic, and lacking in any real substance in terms of story. Unlike Batman, Spider-Man is not a character who should brood and sulk over the state of his existence, yet there still needs to be a story for the viewer to enjoy. What Marvel has given us is a Family Guy-esque style of comedy that’s over the top and completely unwarranted. I do realize that Disney XD is a children’s network, and that the show airs during the afternoon, but think about Cartoon Network’s Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, which air at similar times on Saturday. Bruce Timm and his writing staff have made two wonderful shows that can appeal to both adults, and children. Another example of this can be found in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which can be dark at times, but also keeps in mind that the audience is PG. I know there are many people that find ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ immensely entertaining, which I can understand, because the show is fast paced, and doesn’t slow down for a second. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then I suggest you give the show a try.
Being that this is a subjective matter, I’m curious to see what you all think. As you can probably tell, it’s difficult for me to remain objective due to my fondness of Bruce Timm’s (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) approach to storytelling over at Warner Brothers Animation. For those of you who watch our “Ink Hero” segments, you’ll know that I tend to read more DC than Marvel, so please let me know what you thought of ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ in the comments section below.
-David Griffin (Follow @griffinde on Twitter)