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Marvel’s Spider-Man Episodes 1-2 Review

August 18, 2017 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Marvel's Spider-Man
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Marvel’s Spider-Man Episodes 1-2 Review  

Everyone’s friendly neighborhood web slinger, Spider-Man, returns to TV with his latest animated incarnation, simply dubbed Marvel’s Spider-Man. Ultimate Spider-Man ended its run with four seasons and over 100 episodes, and Marvel Animation has now hit the reset button, starting a new animated series.

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s own version of Spider-Man now up in full swing, it makes sense that Marvel Animation would want to capitalize on that opportunity with an updated animated series for Spidey. The new series brings Spider-Man back to basics and at the very start of his journey of becoming a masked vigilante and superhero.

The story picks up as Peter Parker (Robbie Daymond) seeks to make his debut as Spider-Man, wearing a homemade costume very similar to the one he started with in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was depicted wearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Peter isn’t even learning the ropes because he hasn’t even gotten on any ropes yet.

Peter’s abilities ultimately earn him the attention of Max Modell, the genius scientist and founder of a fancy private school called Horizon, which is a science and technological paradise for young minds. Think the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology from Big Hero 6, but it’s a high school instead and you have the idea. Modell offers Peter the last slot for his new crop of students, giving Peter a ticket to one of the most prestigious private schools he could ever dream of being a part of.

Unfortunately, the meddling of a rival science teacher, Spencer Smythe, causes Peter’s friend Harry Osborn, another Horizon student, to get suspended. Also, Peter’s tuition for Horizon puts a larger financial strain on Aunt May, so that adds quite a bit of guilt to Peter going to his dream school.

While Ultimate Spider-Man dealt with a pre-established Spider-Man becoming a parter of the larger Marvel Universe, the new Marvel’s Spider-Man animated series pares things back down to focus on Peter Parker and his specific circle of characters. This version of Peter Parker is still part of a greater Marvel Universe. Peter even makes reference to people such as Tony Stark and Iron Man, but the focus has been reapplied to focus on the Spider-family of characters. So rather than Spidey getting all his fancy toys from SHIELD scientists, he’s put in a place where he can come up to create everything himself with his own ingenuity and creativity.

The first two episodes of Marvel’s Spider-Man resets Spider-Man’s world and re-establishes Peter Parker and his supporting cast. Among his new classmates are Miles Morales and Anya Corazon, who fans might also know as Spider-Man/Kid Arachnid and Araña. Otto Octavius is reintroduced as a genius teenaged student and advisor who attends Horizon, and also other characters such as Alistair Smythe, the aforementioned Harry Osborn, Aunt May, Max Modell, and classic Spider-Man rogues such as The Vulture and The Scorpion. There’s a subplot involving this show’s version of Spider-Slayer robots

For the purpose of this show, the writers do a great job of focusing on Peter’s intellect and also his close bond with his late Uncle Ben, voiced in the new series by Patton Oswalt. It’s nice to see a show that remembers just how much of a genius science nerd Peter is, so Peter has to troubleshoot and use his brain to think his way out of many scrapes. Additionally, the show does not stray from the drama that has made Peter such an enduring character for so many years, such as his guilt that drove him to become Spider-Man and the first place, and Uncle Ben’s place in his life as a spiritual mentor. Plus, Peter doesn’t have any wealthy benefactors to take care of all of his problems. He has to deal with his problems and circumstances on his own.

Also, it’s clear from the presence of characters such as Miles Morales, Anya Corazon and others that the writers are thinking long-term where the narrative is concerned. In the first two episodes, numerous subplots have been set up to clearly get fleshed out and developed over the course of the first season, including The Vulture’s backstory and his connections to Max Modell and Horizon High School. The writers even take the time to foreshadow set up certain characters who are still operating offscreen that longtime comic fans will clearly notice.

Robbie Daymond does a great job as the new voice of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He captures Peter’s main qualities very well, especially his sense of humor, his youthful optimism and also his sense of responsibility toward his role of becoming a superhero. Daymond was a fantastic pick for this role, and it’s exciting to see how he will grow as the character. Patton Oswalt might be an unconventional choice for Uncle Ben, but he actually plays the character quite well. And it appears the influence and spirit of Uncle Ben will loom large over the course of the series, which was a wise choice for the series. At the end of the day, Uncle Ben should be the more defining spiritual mentor to Peter Parker than someone like Tony Stark.

Marvel's Spider-Man

In terms of the animation and art style, the production team has made things look a lot simpler for this show. The character designs and models are a little more streamlined and angular. To make a comparison, if one were to compare the art styles of Spectacular Spider-Man to Ultimate Spider-Man, the new Spider-Man show falls somewhere in-between. The action and animation look fairly good and consistent. There is some clear use of CG modeling with the Spider-Slayers that leaves a little bit to be desired. The art and character models take a little getting used to, but over time they will likely grow on me.

Overall, Marvel’s Spider-Man is off to a great start to fully explore a new, younger Spider-Man as he begins his journey to becoming one of the greatest heroes ever. Marvel’s Spider-Man premieres on Disney XD on Saturday, August 19.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Marvel's Spider-Man is a great new animated starter point for young audiences who are just getting into Spider-Man. The show brings a strong focus on Peter Parker as he begins his journey as the legendary Wall-Crawler, and an interesting cast of supporting players. This is clearly just the start of the show, as the first two episodes introduce many interesting subplots that will get further developed over the course of the season. The show also features strong voice acting from Robbie Daymond as the new Peter Parker aka Spider-Man.